Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

January 25, 2004

Nurse distressed over HCC article

I was very distressed in reading the article about our local college and over the mention of the nursing students' plight. I did not graduate from there, but I know their program well and was an undergrad at another local community college. I can, however, sense the frustration of Michael Wagner's statements, and he is right on target.

To abolish the Pinning Service and its traditions is to attack the very essence and meaning to it. It symbolizes accomplishment, pride, dedication and completion. It also symbolizes the movement from student to graduate nurse. It serves as a thank you to parents, instructors and siblings who made the sacrifices just to be able to say "you made it."

Most always the students plan it, finance it, and look to themselves with a sense of pride in themselves, their school and their instructors. To circumvent this is to say: We took your tuition, your time, we educated you to this point, and now we are done. It was also noted that the student pass rate was 78.2 percent, below Maryland standard.

This I can tell you was in fact subject to what was taught, how it was taught, and was it relevant to today's nurses and did the students receive the message. It also is indicative of whether the instructors were doing their job, all on the same page and were they dedicated to the student nurses' concerns and needs. Or were the professors so busy with the current president's mandates and, yes, autocratic leadership.

A successful leader requires "spiritual soundness, dedication, courage and love." A moral problem can be quickly passed down to the student. Statistically as a former nurse recruiter during the 1980s crisis or shortage, I can tell you the current one and the one coming is of greater magnitude. By 2020 we will need 500,000 nurses. A 6 percent vacancy rate today will be 29 percent greater when it hits 2020. In Maryland there is a current 14.7 percent RN vacancy rate and a 17 percent LPN rate.

To see this program falter, to see traditions which make up the core of the morale go by the wayside does indeed place the level of responsibility to President Chiesi. At a time when tuitions are rising and students are looking elsewhere for careers, the shortages are increasing.

Participatory management with input from all professors, students, parents and the community must be mandated. Enrollment in these nursing programs is starting to decline while learned professors are going elsewhere, where they can be appreciated and compensated not only for their degrees but their input.

To quote President Chiesi, "I believe if the people operate in good faith, put the college first, our problems are resoluble."

To this I say to her, the professors, the teachers, the students, the board of trustees are your college as well as a program that has always been considered among the best. Is it not time for the community, the college and its staff and students to say "Enough is enough, and we are not going to sacrifice what this college and such fine programs such as the Nursing Program has done for the community"?

In fairness to all perhaps President Chiesi should step down and allow someone who is attuned to the needs and willing to share the responsibilities for this fine school. My real concern is that should she become ill she might not have trained nurses to help her.

John E. Parks,

Bel Air

The writer, a registered nurse, is an administrator/psychiatric nurse with 27 years' experience and a past president of the Baltimore Association of Nurse Recruiters.

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