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420 JOURNAL OF EMERGENCY NURSING 27:5 October 2001
record. They encouraged us to note the exact location andamount of hair that was cut and to seek out applicable lawsbefore incorporating this action into our practice, toensure that no standards are violated.
At a time when our health care system is in a crisis andnursing seems so task-oriented, I, too, hope to incorporatethis simple humanizing act into my nursing practice in aneffort to revive patient-oriented nursing.—Maureen “Mo”McGrath, RN, Corydon, Ind
REFERENCE1. O’Connor S, Gervasini A. Trauma death of a 28-year-old: two
clinicians help a family to view the body and keep a lock of hair.J Emerg Nurs 2001;27:159-61.
Increase salaries to attract more nurses
Dear Editor:I just reread the June 2001 President’s Message1 and
Guest Editorial,2 which address our current “nursingshortage era.” I have seen an ever-increasing number ofsuch articles in magazines and newspapers, and they allhave one common factor—none, and I mean none,address nursing salaries.
Ooops, I hope I did not say a bad word—SALARIES.I know we did not enter our profession to get rich, but
this is America. What boggles my mind is that one of theoriginal driving forces of our country, the “law of supplyand demand,” does not seem to apply to nursing. An arti-cle in my local newspaper today has finally made me sitdown to write this very unscientific, unresearched opinion.The article describes “dire predictions” of very high gaso-line prices not materializing this summer because of “anunexpected abundance of supply” from the oil industry.
I know that registered nurses are not gasoline, but weare the fuel of any hospital; without us the hospital doesnot function (can you say DIVERT?). Supply and demandsets the price of gasoline, automobiles, housing, and gro-ceries. It also sets the price of salaries in other professions.A perfect example: before I entered nursing, I worked in anindustry that needed pharmacists. Pharmacists were inshort supply, and the bidding war began. Pharmacistsalaries increased dramatically to satisfy the shortage.
The interesting fact is, our salaries remain stagnant, nomatter how serious this shortage of nursing staff. Hospitalsin my area seem to prefer to pay temporary and travelingservices high rates rather than deal with their own staffissues. Maybe this tactic is more cost-effective for them thanraising our salaries and attracting more people into nursing.
I believe that the “law of supply and demand” shouldbe given a chance in nursing. Higher rates would quicklyattract new people to nursing, perhaps bring back the peo-ple who have left, and make life much more tolerable forthose of us who choose to continue in our professionthrough all conditions.—Mike Howie, RN, BSN, CEN,Rockport, Tex; E-mail: [email protected]
REFERENCES1. Jagim M. Nursing’s current state of affairs. J Emerg Nurs 2001;
27:223-4.2. Wilson ME. Overcrowding and other crises: How can we survive?
J Emerg Nurs 2001;27:225-7.
Authors’ reply:Amen!—Mary Jagim, RN, BSN, CEN, and Mary Ellen
Wilson, RN, MS, CEN, FNP
Howie’s PS:Several weeks have passed since my letter to you con-
cerning nursing salaries. In that time—and it is with greatpleasure that I write this—the hospital corporation I workfor announced an across-the-board wage increase for RNswho do direct patient care.—Mike Howie, RN, BSN, CEN
Emergency nursing publications challenged to include end-of-life care content
Dear Editor:We are writing to challenge nurses in the field of
emergency nursing to address the urgent need forimproved end-of-life care. The care that nurses provide topatients at the end of life has received much attentionrecently. While deficiencies in such care have many causes,insufficient education of nurses in this area is a major rea-son. Our research has identified major deficiencies in theend-of-life content of more than 50 nursing textbooksused in undergraduate nursing curricula. Overall, only 2%