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It seems that employers are trying to get rid of higher paid RNs. Do those of us who have been let go have any recourse?

Friday May 3, 2013
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Dear Nancy,

It must be obvious to any RN in my state that employers are trying to get rid of the higher paid RNs and replace them with LPNs, new BSN graduates and medical assistants. Those of us who were let go for ridiculous reasons have no recourse and no job offers. I was an RN in a large hospital for 30 years, but now I am on welfare. What can I do?


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Claire,

What you are experiencing in your state is unfortunate, but it is happening with increasing frequency in many states by employers in an attempt to save money. Although all of the individuals hired have differing contributions to make to patient care, there is nothing as valuable as an experienced RN in order to provide good and safe patient care. Unless there is some legal basis for retaining your job, such as a contract of employment, a union contract, or a discriminatory basis for the employer's actions, there is little recourse.

You might try to think outside the box. Is there some way you can use your years of experience in a new way? Case management is a possibility or school nursing, if your credentials meet those requirements.

You also might want to consider getting your BSN. There are many sources of scholarships, grants and other types of financial aid to help those without a degree in nursing. Check out what is available in your state. Contact specific nursing education programs to see what they would require and how long the process would take. As you know, there is an increasing emphasis on nurses being educated at the baccalaureate level due to many factors, not the least of which is the increasing complexity of ill patients who are admitted to healthcare facilities.

It may take some time and some sacrifice for you to get your degree, but in the end you will have control over your job search. You can secure a position easier in the future, and you can establish yourself as one of the new nurse leaders.


Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.