New CCU RN,
I don't know anything about bedside nursing in the units yet, but I can tell you how I feel about bedside nursing on the floor. I've only been an RN for 1 1/2 years and I already hate it! I have 8-10 patients each night on the average. I found out early on that the floor is not where I want to be, but for financial reasons I have to stay on the floor a bit longer before I can transfer to the ICU. I love the people I work with on my floor, which makes it much easier to get through every day.
The things I like about bedside nursing on the floor: the occassional "thank you" I get when I do somethig good for a patient; also I enjoy the nice families and family members. That's about all that I enjoy.
Now, for the other side of the coin....the things I do NOT like about bedside nursing on the floor: All the whiney patients and CONSTANT complaints. Everything is my fault, even if it's a nurse before me that caused the discrepancy, dietary that sent the wrong food, or lab that had to stick them twice because they "lost" the blood somewhere. It's my fault. Family members get on my nerves, too. They wait till their family member is in the hospital to try to be a hero. They want to "take charge" and "get things done around here, dammit." Family members are always standing at the desk just waiting to spring on you and gripe about something all the time!!! Each patient thinks they are the only patient you have, and do not understand that you also have 7 others who equally want your attention. "Thank yous" are few and far between and usually come insincerely from some drug addict that you've just medicated with yet more Morphine. Nursing does not seem to be a respectful profession anymore. Patients gripe and moan about everything. I get cursed at daily by someone, and patients/families do not think twice about treating you badly. Patients do not trust nurses like they used to, either. They've become more knowledgeable about the medical field, disease processes, etc. and question just about everything that is done to them. I guess that is supposed to be a good thing, but because I have 8-10 patients, I do not have a lot of time to sit and explain every little thing to them. There's also not enough time to get everything done. I also spend a lot of time cleaning up a prior nurse's mess, where he/she has not finished/done certain tasks, orders were put in wrong and not caught by the nurse, or when I see the patients, things do not match from what the nurse has told me (Ex. nurse told me the patient had a NG tube or foley and they were not, in fact, in place). Doctors on the medical floor do not greatly respect nurses either. They think we are all pretty stupid. But, like G8rlimey and London 88 said, after making a suggestion to the MD about what I think should be done, they usually write it. That makes me feel a little better. I've heard doctors treat the ICU nurses better, though, because they're not "stupid" like us medical nurses are. That irritates me to no end. I work my butt off for my patients, am a strong patient advocate, too, and I am definitely NOT STUPID. I'll be in the ICU, soon. Does that make me instantly "smarter?" Just a thought. Anytime we get an ICU nurse to the floor, we end up helping them a lot because they don't know what to do with all those patients!! I don't blame them. 2 patients would be nice to have, I don't care how many tubes they have coming out of them. I can do anything with 2 patients.
Basically, that's my take on bedside floor nursing. It's pretty awful. The only thing that's helped me make it through is the people I work with. They are great. Everyone on my floor is burned out, and morale is low. That's when I decided not too long ago that I had to do something else, and I looked into becoming a CRNA which sounds fantastic to me! I would love the respect, the fact that you deal with one patient at a time, and the autonomy. I'm excited! I will make it! I'm only 25, and I've come to realize that 40 more years of this will not work for me. I'll be a nutcase by then! I hope I haven't offended anyone by the things I've mentioned here. A lot of it was venting, and I'm glad that New CCU RN asked the question. It allowed me to get a lot of stuff out of my system. Some people could probably do a lifetime of bedside nursing with no problem, but not me! I'm sure it's not quite as bad in the ICU as you're only dealing with 1-3 patients, families, etc. I don't mind cleaning poop, etc. I do that now. I'm just sick of all the griping and moaning all the time. In case that wasn't bad enough, I guess our manager didn't think we knew how patients felt, because she made us watch a video called "Through the Patient's Eyes" which was none other than a gripe session from more patients! Enough already! I've had it!