Saint Peter’s University Hospital nurse Linda Stolfi calls it the letter that shook up her life and the future of many of her co-workers. Last year, the New Brunswick hospital sent the staff a brief letter stating a new policy for the institution: All registered nurses — even those who have been treating patients for decades — need to earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing within the next decade. That meant about half of the hospital’s registered nurses, most of whom have two-year associate’s degrees, would have to go back to college to earn the four-year degree if they want to keep their jobs.
An Ohio man whose wife died in a car accident earlier this year is suing the hospital where she was a nurse, claiming she was "worked to death," and that the hospital knew about it. Jim Jasper's wife, Beth, was killed on March 16 while driving home after a 12-hour shift.
The room looked like a bomb hit. Chairs were upturned, ceiling tiles were knocked out, and the roof looked like it had caved in. And amid the wreckage, seriously injured people screamed for help.
For years, the demands of a nursing education also brought a reward. It was a recession-proof career, a lure for generations of students. “I knew going into school I was choosing a safe major, because all you heard is how badly hospitals needed nurses,” said Bush, a junior at Indiana University School of Nursing.
In This Issue
Liz Di Bernardo