1. Weil, John RN

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I am tired of hearing about the nursing shortage ("AHRQ: Numbers Count for High-Quality Care," In the News, October 2007). I am 52 years old and have been a nurse for 20 years. Before that, I worked in a saw mill. When the mill closed, I became an aide in a nursing home. I became an RN and have been a nurse ever since. I've been interviewing for positions in my tri-state area and can find nothing that doesn't require me to work 12-hour shifts. I represent the average age group of RNs in this country. I cannot work 12 hours in a row, given my osteoarthritis and the challenge of being alert for that length of time. I have spoken to many colleagues who say that they are wiped out well before a 12-hour shift is up. My brother-in-law is a trucker and is required to pull off the road after 10 hours. Why are nurses expected to remain alert enough to make life-and-death decisions? I routinely ask about eight-hour shifts and am told it's not an option.


Our local facilities are solving staffing problems by hiring foreign nurses and paying them less than domestic nurses. I would love to maintain my career in nursing, but with these hours I need to seek out other avenues. I recently completed a degree in agriculture and might enroll in a master's degree program. So there you have it: another casualty of a system with little interest in retaining experienced nurses.


John Weil, RN


Hebron, MD