Career advice from UVM Medical Center for nurses

As the husband of a nurse at UVM Medical Center I would like to commend the UVM Medical Center’s leadership team and the entire board of trustees on the career guidance that is implicit the hospital's policy towards pay, the nurse’s union and overall working conditions for nurses.

The truth of the matter is that nursing in Vermont is the modern day equivalent of a job in a Vermont asbestos mine. Nurses work twelve hour shifts with no natural light surrounded by toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. During their work week they will be shit on, bled on, spit on, sneezed on, cried on, pissed on, shouted at and abused by family members.

They will hold the hands of children who die too soon and seniors who don’t die soon enough. As their career matures they will suffer varicose veins, blown out knees, wrecked backs and the emotional scars from years of tragedy. They will miss first steps, birthdays, school plays, lost teeth and skinned knees. Their work schedule consigns their spouse or partner to function as a single parent at least three days a week. When they complain about any aspect of the job, they will be told to show compassion and then ignored.

Given the choice between pursuing a position in administration and enjoying an office that smells of Chanel #5 and manila envelopes and a salary that can head upwards of a million dollars or nursing and enjoying an office that smells of equal parts urine, feces and hospital disinfectant and a salary that is sub-par and has not kept up with cost-of-living increases for years what would you do?

It should be clear to any young person that UVM Medical Center and Vermont as a whole needs more (and values more) administrators, insurance salespeople,  pharmaceutical reps and senior managers and far fewer nurses. You would be a fool to ignore this advice.

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