In response to the column ("Demands of the County Nurses Would Further Weaken the Whole Health System," by Stephen Gamble, Op-Ed Page, Feb. 9), the author has some valid gripes concerning the health-care system for the poor. However, the reference made to the amount of pay nurses receive, stating that a nurse with two years of training and one year of experience is already paid more than almost any other occupation with similar training and experience, is unfounded.
First of all, not all nurses are graduates of two-year programs. Many nurses are graduates of four-year universities with some having master's degrees and even doctorates.
As for the comparison of work to other occupations, there is none. How many other occupations work shifts around the clock with mandatory overtime or double shifts when the staffing is short? The nurse is expected to care for six to 12 patients (depending on the shift), handle emergency situations and comfort families. This workload doesn't include the continuing education courses a nurse must have to renew the registered nurse license.
As stated in the column, some hospitals are no longer taking "charity care" so why should nurses be expected to work for less than their worth, or is it accepted by our society that the nurses do the charity work?
LORRAINE D. MAUTNER, RN