Nurses do a lot of different jobs — photo by Jodie Covington at

Doctors are important. Yes, they are quite knowledgeable about disease and they decide in the hospital whether you should be discharged or not (where is my stethoscope — you’re not leaving till I hear that heartbeat). But nurses are special. Nurses are the ones who check in on you and make sure you’re alive and getting better on a regular basis. They make sure you have something to eat (right?).  They take your temperature and encourage you.

That was especially true for me when I was going through chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. It was a nurse — NOT an oncologist — who suggested I go into the hospital because I was so dehydrated and feeling weak and lousy by my third round of chemo. And in the hospital a nurse encouraged me after a few days to sit up, proclaiming, “The bed is your enemy.” She helped me to get (close) to normal.

So, then, why is there a shortage? Shouldn’t more people, male and female, want to be nurses today? According to  a CNN article, they have quit because of a lack of support and resources, and of course there was the fear during the pandemic (especially before there were vaccines) that they could get as sick as their patients.

Of course, some burned out even before the pandemic, (like 418,000 in 2017).

But the majority of the U. S. population is “boomers” over age 50, so we will need more, no less nurses in the future. Some suggest nurses should get a “sign on” bonus of $40,000! Is that realistic?

As with education (with fewer people entering teaching for various reasons), some want to speed up the nursing program certification process. Nurse burnout due to the world pandemic has cost us millions of nurses worldwide. So why be a nurse?

From the Carson Newman University program, this is what  Nancy Brook, RN, had to say: “One of the most rewarding aspects of a career in nursing is the ability to connect with our patients on such an intimate level. While we often meet under very difficult circumstances—being present as people face serious health challenges or injuries, witnessing the moment of birth or the end of life—we get to know our patients very quickly and have the opportunity to play an important role in their lives.

I became a nurse so that I could have an impact on the lives of others and have a career that felt very meaningful. After 25 years of helping patients and their families navigate cancer and mentoring new nurses, I believe that at the end of the day, no matter how challenging, I have impacted someone’s life for the better.”

My own daughter-in-law considered quitting nursing for a short time (the pandemic being hard on nurses).  And how much do they earn? It depends on what state you are in. One the low end of the scale is Alabama at $29.77 an hour. At the high end is New York at $46.46 an hour, so there is a great variation. Salaries are improving and the pandemic seems to be over.

(Great American Idea — Call to Action)  Barnes and Noble has some cute, interesting books on nursing, like “Thank You Helpers” by Patricia Hegarty and “My Heart Belongs to an Awesome Nurse Manager,” the latter found at this link:

And in “my” book (Great American Women in Science and Environment”) Elizabeth Blackwell gives it her all as our first woman doctor,and  gets advice from nurse Florence Nightingale. So, yes, nurses rate!




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