Saturday, April 10, 2010

Financial threats

The podiatrist comes in early in the day, when people are still in bed, because that's the set up conducive to toenail trimming. If the night was busy, I'm usually still there when he arrives.

He told me that the field is no longer lucrative and he suffers a salary reduction every year. He is seriously considering adding another career, teaching, for extra money and as a segue to leaving medicine. He said that several of his colleagues have also done the "alternate route" to teaching and are now teaching science or math, subjects more secure than arts and music. He said he would do his nursing home visits evenings and weekends to earn money while attending school during the day; then teach during the day and still work weekends for supplement until the teaching pays more.

Can you imagine? He's not the first doctor to tell me that the practice of medicine is not worth it financially. I feel pretty confident in my position and salary as a nurse- it's why I went into nursing. But maybe there is a chance of salary or hour reductions. At least for now, my state requires that medications in a nursing home be administered by nurses only and not medication aides, so I feel safe. In spite of cautions against polypharmacy, every resident's medication list grows each month. I used to have to give meds to about 20 residents for 6:00 a.m.; now it's about 50.

One of the aides told me that she is considering a program to become a "dialysis technician," designed to replace expensive registered nurses with lower-paid techs. For the price of tuition ($16,000), she could become a nurse through a county college, and I told her so. That does seem to be the trend, though, as medicine becomes more sophisticated- having less educated workers perform the work formerly done by registered nurses.

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