Strongly agree that nurses are under-paid and over-worked to the point of insanity and burnout and unsafe working conditions! I work in a small, 32-bed ,rural hospital that is trying to keep its financial head above water. But while trying to keep us all working, we are putting the patients at risk, as well as risking our liscenses. Or ER is not "staffed" 24/7, but one of the two RN's that work the "floor" is given the distinction of being the "ER" nurse per shift.(We are listed on the schedule as ER nurses, but do not have any pay differential.)If the ER isnt busy, then that nurse works the floor along with the charge RN, and everything is hunky-dory. But, let one bad patient, or, heaven forbid, a CODE come in and then all hell breaks loose and the poor floor patients are left in the hands of the ward clerk, or whomever we can spare from the ones needed to respond to the emergency. We don't have a doctor in-house; he or she must be called and awakened if it is in the middle of the night(and aren't all the bad cases then?), and we are on our own to stabilize that patient, or simply keep them breathing, while we wait for the doc to get dressed and drive in to the hospital. On a typical 12-hr night shift, we are lucky to have 2 CNA's, 2 RN's and an LPN working, along with one janitor and a ward clerk. That is the total hospital staff at night. I am one of the lucky few that are designated as the "ER nurse". Let me tell ya, I have been up to my elbows in some pretty tough situations that God only knows how we came through them with a viable patient. Especially the night that we had a cardiac arrest come in and all 4 of us there were doing CPR to beat hell, and the ward clerk called the doctor on call to tell him we had a code blue. This a##%&&e wouldn't come out until a "NURSE" could call him and give him "REPORT" on the patient's condition. TO make a long, ridiculous, story short, he did finally appear, and his apology was that he had "had so many false codes reported" that he didnt want to get "too excited" until the nurse could report to him(!!!!!!!!!!!). Patient safety????, it is a myth today. And, if anyone had wanted to investigate the situation, then this stupid ER nurse is the one who would have had to take the brunt of it. The patient had been down 20 min. before CPR was begun, but the MD didnt know that, and he still chose to handle the situation the way he did. Episodes similar to this happen more that anyone knows, we usually just dont talk about them, and the patients come in to us as trusting that we are there to help them and that all will be well. I would like to tell some of the arrogant doctors out there that WE ER nurses that have to handle most of their work before they even lay eyes on the patient deserve a lot more that 13.25 an hour.They drive a Lexus while I drive a 10 year old Ford. They vacation in Hawaii, or ski in Colorado, while we work the holidays. Hey, DOCS, if it weren't for your nurses, you would be up the proverbial creek. Just once, I would like to see the nurses given credit for what they have to do. CNA's too..good ones can make or break you..i've been both, and we shovel the poop and take the poop from the MDs and administration and grovel when we get our pitiful paychecks.
Sounds like I am burnt-out, doesnt it? Maybe I am, or maybe I just needed a place to get this off my chest. Glad there is a site like this to let off some steam. I really like my job, it is the situations that we are all (as nurses) put in that gets my dander up.
[This message has been edited by debrn (edited January 09, 2000).]