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Keep Your POSTENs…Poor Old Sick and Tired Elderly Nurses!

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, November 8th, 2008

Many of you have heard my keynote, opening with the story of my first job when I was 20, working with an “old” nurse – she must have been 50! She lovingly called me Brat. I lovingly called her POSTEN – Poor Old Sick and Tired Elderly Nurse! The average age of the nurse today is 47, so we are getting a lot of POSTENS in our workforce. Most of these nurses don’t want to quit, but their feet and hearts are beginning to ache. Flexibility in scheduling is key to keeping these wise experienced nurses on. One hospital offers them 6 hour shifts, from 8:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. or 2:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. These shorter shifts keep the talented nurses at the bedside. One CNO raved that most of the H.S care was completed by 8:00 P.M., resulting in higher patient – and employee – satisfaction. I met a 70-year-old nurse there who worked from 4:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. During this shift she did 2 sets of vitals, treatments, and compassionate H.S. care. Now that is flexibility in scheduling! Everybody wins.

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