I wrote this response to another topic (I have added a little to it), and I feel that it is important that people should read this! Ok, now a topic that has struck a nerve. As the person stated before, I am also going to go to medical school. I have been a nurse for 4 years in hospitals here in Little Rock Arkansas. However, I have become sooooo frustrated with the nursing profession. We are sooo overworked and underpaid for the responsibilities that we take on every time we go to work. I was a charge nurse in a critical care unit. The thing of it is, is that I was working so hard under mental and physical stress becuase we were so short staffed at work (and the problem was not because of some so called nursing shortage, it was because 3 of our hospitals had hiring freezes within 6 mo. of each other becuase they were all going bankrupt trying to outdo one another), and I was also under stress at home becuase I could not pay my bills with what I was getting paid at the hospital. Here I am with a B.S.N and a B.S. in physiology, and I could make just as much money waiting tables as I could working as a nurse. I was in charge of the unit and took patients of my own most of the time, and after 3 years of working here I was making 13.50 an hour. THAT IS REDICULOUS. And what really makes me mad is that all of the hospitals around here pay anywhere from 11.80-15.00 hr. depending upon experience. I am sorry but that is slave wages for the work we do. The ANA should do something about this, but they are to busy making sure that nursing is considered a "Profession" than taking the time to actually do something useful for us nurses out there in the field. I wrote several letters to the ANA and our state nursing association about my concern. However, I never received any response. I even went to the hospitals nursing administrationa and had a meeting with them discussing my concerns for the patients and staff, but all I received were empty promises to make me happy so that I might leave the office. I also considered going into a NP program, but I feel that this is also a JOKE. My fiance just finished a masters porgram here at UAMS, and it was useless. They are more concerned about teaching you the history of nursing, theory, and research so that they can be considered a profession, than they are about teaching you how to care for a patient. I do not feel that an NP needs to know about this CRAP unless they are going into teaching. However, I love medicine and I love the idea of what nursing once was. Nursing was built on the idea of taking care of people but, I feel that this idea has long been forgotten. I could not take the way that nurses are treated any longer, and the way that my hands were tied in trying to care for patients so I opted for Medical school. I will be starting in the fall, and I am really looking forward to it. All I have to say is "All of you people thinking about becoming nurses be forwarned." "It is not the glorious save the world scenario that they discuss in class. You can make a difference in some peoples lives and that is the only reason I have stayed in it this long. However you go to work, you are over worked, underpaid, unapreciated by administration, and in most places stressed to the hilt." I feel that if something is not done soon to adjust this problem there are going to be major deficiencies in the nursing population as far as experienced staff goes. However I don't feel that there will be a shortage of nurses because of the nursing industries marketing of the shortage, job availability, the great pay, and excellent benefits. I feel that there will always be new nurses coming on (inexperienced)and the hospitals will keep using them and spitting them out. This is why the propblem will never be solved, becuase there will always be new nurses coming on. This is why I am writing this so that all of you thinking about becoming nurses will think about it hard and heavy. It is sad that the paitients are going to be the ones who suffer the greatest becuase of it. This thought has kept me going in nursing but I have done all that I can do, and I am moving on. There was a 2 page spread written a couple of weeks ago in the Arkanas Times by a nurse with 20 or so years of experience who had left nursing becuase of the working conditions. I thoght that this was wonderful. We need to let the public know how the people who are taking care of their loved ones are being treated. The general population has no idea. When I tell people how much money I make, and the hours that I work they can not believe it. Also, when I tell them that an R.N. with a diploma who has only had 1 1/2 yrs of training could be taking care of their critically ill loved they are amazed. I am going to make it a point when I become a doctor to bring this to peoples attention. I have vowed to do something about this one day when I do have some power to do so. All of you that feel this way should also begin to start ways to bring this to peoples attention (call your paper, news, etc.. anonamously if you are worried about your job, these media people eat this up), becuase until the public starts putting pressure on hospitals and the ANA, nothing will be done about it. Good luck to all of you. J.K.