This isn't the first time I've seen a thread like this but I would love to hear opinions from other people to get a better grasp on reality.
Coming up on February of this year I will have been an ICU nurse for 2 years in an inner city trauma center. I started in the ICU as a new grad and prior to that had experience on the floor for an additional 1.5 years as a student/ student resident. When it comes to the patients I love what I do. There are days it's exhausting and draining and you can't wait for that next shift to come in and give report but I haven't had a day yet where I've gone "I wish I'd taken a job somewhere else." I also genuinely love being a nurse.
Now, that is in reference to the patients themselves.
My coworkers on the other hand are driving me up the wall. Last night I had a breakdown with a little cry in the report room so I didn't go out and blow up/scream at other people. I've been trying to make a concerted effort to take sicker patients as of late to challenge myself. And having spoken with several of the senior partners on my floor, nurses who have 20+ years of experience they agree that I'm ready and encourage me to use them as resources on the floor- which I already do.
Unfortunately the days that those senior nurses aren't in the numbers or on the floor I feel like I'm at my wits end. I'll be the first to admit I'm not part of any clique on my floor and I'm not there to become best buddies with anyone, my job is to take care of the patient. That doesn't mean that I'm going around kicking someone who invites me to lunch but I honestly think it's more important to turn off the beeping IV channel first before sitting down to watch a movie on the computer.
Having a string of three shifts in a row I'll just give a quick sample of the things I've run into where I swear I've backslided into high school.
- Report was given to me on a pedstruck admitted from the OR (who I was encouraged to take) where the nurse had absolutely no idea what was going on, no charting was documented, and all I had to do was check the patient with a head injury's pupils to see what she was telling me was a crock of s**t (cause are they supposed to be two different sizes?...hmmm). She then refused to take the patient back the next day because she told the rest of the shift she was there until 8PM doing work (while she was chatting with three other nurses as I stood at the door and asked for a glucometer and a clean draw sheet).
- I managed to keep said patient from going on dialysis with myoglobins in the 11,000s, monitored ICPs, drain output from a broken pelvis, Grade II liver, and IVC, drew labs, started him on insulin, kept his temperature normothermic, took him for a repeat CT scan, supported the mother, father, and wife, along with the 10,000 other family members that came in to see him and then some and when people asked if I needed help and I mentioned simple things like "could you help me turn" and "could you go get this" I was refused. The next day after spending an hour scrubbing him down during his bath (he was covered in blood) the family complained because there were still dried flecks on his hands. Granted, when I asked for help, the people who were supposed to serve as "resources" were nowhere to be found. I did the best that I could in the time I had.
- The third day with said patient after coaxing pharmacy to send me a medication that was several hours late I notice another patient on the floor has a kangaroo pump that's beeping empty because the tube feedings are done. His nurse is nowhere to be found and the patient's brother keeps coming to me because I'm the only nurse on that side not eating pizza and Chinese food. Instead of changing the patient's bag I turned the pump off and made sure that he wasn't on insulin before tossing a word down to the nurse and going back to my own work. I get reamed out for not doing additional work to help him when I'm busy as it is with my own combo.
Another nurse who had the same combo (and is in a similar situation- we'll call her Lucy) was going to be reprimanded by her charge nurse that day because she resourced another nurse to help her second patient while dealing with this sick guy. The other nurses? They were watching a football game. But that was "over-delegating". Now I'm being told by Lucy that I should report the things Ive been seeing to my nurse manager since they're apparently reporting crap about me (I wouldn't be surprised if I heard that when this patient was admitted the nurse I received report from was there for hours helping me because I couldn't handle things- which is a flat out lie.)
But throughout all of this Im thinking "really?" Has it come down to me tattling on one nurse because she'll do the same to me and more? I've had my ups and downs with my coworkers- the first year I took it really hard when I clashed with different personalities, the second year I've decided to start standing up for myself. However now with standing up for myself and a desire to take things further and learn I feel like this lack of support is going to hold me back. Because Im not a part of the "in-crowd" whenever I ask for a challenge Im going to be treading water on my own and it makes me worried my patient care is going to suffer.
This begs the question should I find another place to continue learning? I don't want to leave the ICU/critical care setting and my heart has always belonged in the ED, but Im wondering if this culture is just specific to that area or if there exists a place where people can work together for a common goal and get their heads out of their rectal cavities? I also know jobs are still hard to come by, if this is what Im stuck with how long do I have to stick this out? Replies are welcome. Thanks!