In the mix: Thoughts from a disgruntled, retired RN

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, May 5, 2010

About a month ago, I wrote about the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) AACN Nurse Residency Program,TM which dramatically decreased turnover rates for nurses in their first year on the job. The blog post prompted Daniel McCarthy, a retired airline pilot and flight instructor, as well as an aircraft mechanic, to write a comment. At 53, McCarthy went to nursing school and later became a nurse. Despite his experience in the tough field of aviation, which is often compared to healthcare as being a complex, safety-oriented field, McCarthy said that "nothing prepared me for the intensity and stress of nursing during my first job." Granted, McCarthy picked a tough job: he spent two years in the dialysis unit and six in a psych/detox as a non-union nurse in a locked unit. Still, he equates being thrown into the first job to the following hypothetical scenario:


"The best way to put it would be to take a brand new commercial pilot and say, ‘Here is your Boeing 747, full of passengers. You have enough fuel to get to Bejing nonstop. Good luck.’

'But,' you say, 'I’ve never been a captain on a 747, and I have never landed in Bejing.'

'Don't worry,' responds your boss. 'You have a GPS to find the place and you have all the licenses that cover the laws. Oh, stay away from unfriendly countries, they’ll shoot you down. Good luck.'”

Not very encouraging. Curious, I had to know more. To read my interview with McCarthy, click here.

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