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The Tea Room

Young Nurses' Opinion: Pay Differentials And My Future In Nursing

Posted by on March 22, 2015 at 2:45 PM

Young Nurses’ Opinion: Pay Differentials And My Future In Nursing.

by Jed Montayre


The issues surrounding pay differential between nurses and management brings heated discussion among individual nurses who feel that fairness does not always exist. The generous pay rises received by top management personnel in comparison to what nurses are getting, receive criticisms in the context of pay equality and reflect on the value of what nurses do as part of an organisation.


As a young nurse, knowing about these issues made me think about my future. I always see myself to be a nurse with specialist skills in the future or perhaps to continue nursing and be an expert in this field or to become a good resource for new nurses. But these thoughts somehow change when I come to think of how nurses’ compensation gets “disregarded”, despite experience, long–term service or expertise. The term “disregarded” may mean to most nurses as not being paid reasonably and I do agree with that, but in this case, I want to refer to this as an implicit reflection of how management views nurses and our representation in the business side of things ---“nursing is a cost”, and therefore preventing further cost is necessary. No wonder we don’t get generous pay rises and pay differences between nurses and managers are worlds apart, because putting more pay and money into nurses means expanding costs.


I remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and I relate this to what motivates every individual to live and continue living, which is also the same for nurses to continue nursing. The hierarchy starts from the very basic needs to be fulfilled such as food, water etc. and progresses into more complex and abstract needs. The last step of the hierarchy is the concept of “transcendence”, which simply means one person’s ability to help and nurture others. This is achieved when one person has fulfilled the previous physiological, psychosocial needs in the hierarchy. In reflection, this is what nurses do everyday, nurturing people, extending wisdom, providing health teaching and with selfless thoughts. These could be considered as an extreme form of transcendence, despite the tight conditions with regards to pay, missing out on family activities due to shift work, altered sleeping cycle due to shift changes and many more, which would normally affect an individual’s fulfilment of physiological and psychosocial needs if we think the same way as Maslow.


Maybe because nurses cope well in many different difficult situations, this means we can handle and still do the job without even looking at some of the gaps that should have been filled up and allows us to maintain our motivation to continue nursing, because firstly it provides us enough financial resources to seek further self advancement to achieve that feeling of self-worth and be able to share and nurture other people. But because nurses feel disregarded, the next question might be, for how long will nurses continue nursing?


If other career pathways offer better options in fulfilling our hierarchy of needs and nursing does not guarantee this, I think sooner or later we will appreciate the very nature and the humanness of our existence - and that is to seek brighter options that could benefit both our personal and professional lives. This results in nurses leaving the profession especially for young nurses like me.


My point in here lies on how these issues impact on young nurses as they plan their careers in the future. Maybe when one is asked where he or she views oneself ten years from now, we are likely to receive an answer like this:


“I always wanted to become a nurse specialist… But actually…maybe I really want to be a CEO”


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