Long Term Health Care facilities have changed over the years. I have worked in this industry for over 25 years and I tell you times have changed. Back in the day, employees applied for jobs in this setting because they really wanted to make a difference in the lives of the residents entrusted in their care. Today, it seems the first question asked is “how much does it pay?”. Now don’t get me wrong, the rate of pay matters in every profession, but the nursing shortage in early 2000 has brought the wrong people to the wrong profession. Not too long ago I hired a nurse for what I believed to be a good rate of pay; higher than most offered in the area. The nurse worked for a week, then came into my office and demanded a raise. I explained to her that she was still in the probationary period and would not get a raise until she had proven her skills a bit more. She boldly informed me that she made money working as a welder than in nursing . She went on to explain how she left welding because she heard nurses made a lot of money. She walked out of my office leaving not only me stranded but the patients under care as well without a nurse for the remaining three hours of her shift.
Another time I hired a man who left his job as a taxi cab driver in Washington DC to become a nurse. He had worked in a few other facilities before he came to me seeking employment. Within two weeks, he too, was demanding more money, explaining he made more on airport runs with tips than he did in an eight hour shift as a nurse.
We are a money driven society. We all are. But there is something about coming into a health care profession for the money and not for the love of the profession.
What if Florence Nightingale were alive today? What would she think of how the profession she so loved had become one driven by the mighty dollar?
What if Mother Teresa were still alive? She dedicated her whole life to helping those in need, because of the love in her heart. I am reminded of her words:
“It’s not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It’s not how much we give, but the love we put in the giving.” ( Mother Teresa).
What if we all lived by those words? What if we were all driven to love in such a way, and love what we do in such a way, that we changed the world one day at a time?
What if, oh what if.