How can we make nursing a more positive profession ??

  1. Hello all,

    Some of you may recall that I had posted about my anxiety as a nursing student and as a new member of the OR team. Well I have been feeling much better thanks to everyone's support and help. One person in particular came forward and took time out to help me. I came to realize it could be more of a confidence and anxiety issue rather than anything else, which stemmed from a very early incidence with a nursing teacher.

    Anyhow, I know for myself exactly how I feel about my job in OR nursing. I truely do love the job itself. There's so much to learn, and the surgeons can be difficult, and residents sometimes have so much attitude. Overall however, I enjoy the job, always learning something new, never bored, etc etc. I went into nursing because I wanted to help people. If I wanted more money I could have gone for something like accounting (which now I sometimes wonder why I didn't loll !!). But I truely wanted to make a difference. I realized soon after that direct patient care was not for me however, and soon decided that I wanted to be in the OR. I got through nursing school, hoping that after a year of experince in med/surg I'd be able to switch to the OR. Well I wasn't able to find a job after I graduated in med/surg in my area so I took a course in the OR and was working within six months of taking the course. It was a long hard road and I still have so many issues with going back to work (I've been off for a medical reason, will be back soon hopefully, like in a few weeks.).

    What I have learned in the past 6 years since I started nursing school is this. The job itself is very rewarding, and there is a place for most people. For instance I wasn't into direct patient care and I wanted something challenging so I went into the OR. Its completely different from floor nursing. I still had the same issues popping up though, with preceptors and other coworkers, gossipping, giving me a really hard time. I almost quit, I dreamt up ways to get out of nursing all togethyer or get a desk job constantly. I was OBSESSED with getting out !! I have now taken a new look at it. What is really bothering me ? I would take a pay cut, I would continue to work in the OR, if only I WAS TREATED BETTER !!

    What it boils down to is how am I being treated. I don't expect star treatment, but as a human being I would like to be treated with dignity and some sort of respect for completing nursing school and an OR course which in itself is such a challenge. If the working conditions were improved I would definately be happier in my job and perhaps even stick around for longer. At this point I am planning on getting my degree as soon as possible and still looking at options. I don't deserve to be treated like crap, nor do I want it. I want to be treated as the professional that I am. Just because I don't wear a business suit and work behind a desk doesn't mean I don't deserve respect. I spent many years in school and training. I think the nurses and nursing management need to be more supportive of their nurses.

    What I'm proposing here is how can we do that ? Is there a field of nursing I can get into where I can help to improve the working condition of nurses ? So far I can only think of teaching. There need to be clear guidelines around harassment at work, against treating employees badly.

    I look forward to hearing back from you all. I've been reading so many negative posts about nursing, I thought why not do something about it, because nursing is a helping profession, and a beautiful profession. If we can make nurses happier maybe there would be less shortage and less negativity among nurse coworkers.
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   miko014
    I can't think of a specific field in which you would be able to improve anything...but my theory is that pts/families have no idea what nurses do, and sometimes have very unreasonable expectations. Having a census with a lot of pts like that can really wear on you, to the point where you hate everything that has anything to do with your job. Because of that, you don't treat your coworkers very well, and a bad mood is contagious. It just sort of gets to the point where there is a black cloud hanging over the entire unit. Of course, sometimes it is the employees themselves who cause the problem. Some people like to be unhappy, some people like to stir things up. I know that when I get down or feeling like you described, I can usually trace it back to the fact that we just have a really heavy census. Higher acuity pts than we should be taking care of, demanding families, etc. I just wish that there was some way to make the public realize just what nurses do and what should be expected of them. Just my .
  4. by   CaLLaCoDe
    Quote from miko014
    I can't think of a specific field in which you would be able to improve anything...but my theory is that pts/families have no idea what nurses do, and sometimes have very unreasonable expectations. Having a census with a lot of pts like that can really wear on you, to the point where you hate everything that has anything to do with your job. Because of that, you don't treat your coworkers very well, and a bad mood is contagious. It just sort of gets to the point where there is a black cloud hanging over the entire unit. Of course, sometimes it is the employees themselves who cause the problem. Some people like to be unhappy, some people like to stir things up. I know that when I get down or feeling like you described, I can usually trace it back to the fact that we just have a really heavy census. Higher acuity pts than we should be taking care of, demanding families, etc. I just wish that there was some way to make the public realize just what nurses do and what should be expected of them. Just my .
    I echo these same sentiments
    Things that I find hurtful I do not practice, my philosophy is, would I like coming to work and seeing myself as my coworker?
    The no no list:
    1. Being mean to others; even if they don't hear your wispering in your coworker's ear, they surely can feel the vibe.
    2. Working with a chip on your shoulder. Everyone has their bad days, sometimes acting happy or cheerful, even if it is all phony as all get out can change one's mood.
    3. Treating those not from your department rudely or with malicious intent; just don't practice this, it will bite your butt in the end.
    4. Showing up for work and then feeling sick midway, putting more of a burden on your coworkers. Why not just call in sick in the first place?!
    Last edit by CaLLaCoDe on Mar 3, '07
  5. by   TGIMN
    coworkers can make a job seem impossible to tolerate day after day. Just this week I had another confrontation with a co-worker. I came home crying. I get sick of all the gossip in the unit. I have tried to stay out of it, but you just seemed to get pulled in whether you want to or not. I have deceided to start saying, " I don't know" or " I don't remember" when ask what somebody else said or did in RE: to this or that. I figure if I can break the gossip chain then maybe it will cut down on the drama in the unit. These two ladies in the unit do not like each other. I try to like both of them. (this story is really childish considering this is grown and well educated women) They are always contradicting what the other one has to say or do. One of the women is more confident, The other woman is afraid to really face the other one and straighten out the problem. Therefore, since I am friends with the more confident lady, the other lady picks on me to get at the other. Well, this week I told her that i was tried of all the nonsense, and I wanted to talk it out. can you believe she refused to talk it out and try to resolve the problem. I deceided I coiuld not work like this another day. I went to my supervisor and told her what was going on and she is going to talk with her next week. Now I am worried that this is going to make things worse. Any suggestions would be helpful.

    Thanks.
  6. by   Atl_John
    Gossipy co-workers are one thing, working with a chip on ones shoulder, but I actually had a problem with a nurse who was extreamly rude to me one day. I went to management about it, I was told and I quote "John, they are a bunch of women, its what they do, this is not a battle you can win" This coming from a women. I was shocked, alot of it I think has to do with what managment is willing to put up with not only from other nurses but also from other staff (doctors, house keepers, etc). The people I would go after in trying toeducate are the Adminstrators of the hospital. The patients figure out prettty quickly it seems what the nurses do, but it would be nice to have a little more education for them sort of a this is what the nurse will do for you pamphlet. This is what their job is, and it should be written by a nurse, not by a doctor or the hospital.
  7. by   nurse4theplanet
    Get involved.

    Our unit has a peer counsel of select nurses, anyone can join and it usually rotates around the unit so everyone gets a chance to voice their opinions. The goal of the counsel is to address issues that occur on the unit...either with available supplies and equipment, nurse-physician relationships, co-worker relationships, patient care issues, documentation issues, or administrative problems. They make it a point to focus on progress so that it doesn't turn into a moan and groan session.

    Also, you can get involved in state organizations such as your state nursing association or national organizations.

    Visit the nursing activism boards as well. You may find some great information about how to get involved in specific projects to promote and rally for nursing.

    You made a great statement about teaching...you can really help inspire and shape the minds of young nurses as an instructor. My ultimate goal is to teach at a school of nursing. I greatly encourage you to pursue that avenue of nursing if you are interested...especially with the shortage of available instructors.

    As far as putting a positive spin on the nursing profession for those not in the healthcare feild...all you can really do is tell others why you love your job and what qualifies you as a nurse, your role, etc.

    Don't be discouraged about occassional runs of negative posts on this board...it's the only place some of us can complain and #1 be understood (unlike when complaining about your job to your non nursing spouse or family member/friend) and #2 not experience any repercussions (from administrators or coworkers). Usually when one person experiences a problem, it triggers others to remember similar experiences and post about them as well. I've noticed it comes and goes.
  8. by   scrubsnhugsRN
    I have been finding that it is always best to not partake in the gossip. Yes, it is often that I am called into a discussion regarding another employee..but I tend to let the person who's talking vent, but I never say anything bad about anyone even if I dont like the person they are talking about. It is a concious decision.
    As far as having a good attitude at work, I make it a point to be cheerful. I am cheerful and respectful when I enter a patients room, and when I am extra busy, I always try to run in and let my other patients know that I have been running with my head cut off and to make sure they are okay for the time being.
    I make the enviroment at work. I think most of you understand what I mean, as far as attitude is concerned, if you go into work frustrated, or mad, that is how your day will go. There is always someone who sets the tone for the shift.
    I can always be responsible for my attitude, mabye not for others, but definitly my own!
  9. by   llg
    Quote from sandlewood_nurse
    Hello all,

    What it boils down to is how am I being treated. I don't expect star treatment, but as a human being I would like to be treated with dignity and some sort of respect for completing nursing school and an OR course which in itself is such a challenge. If the working conditions were improved I would definately be happier in my job and perhaps even stick around for longer. At this point I am planning on getting my degree as soon as possible and still looking at options. I don't deserve to be treated like crap, nor do I want it. I want to be treated as the professional that I am. Just because I don't wear a business suit and work behind a desk doesn't mean I don't deserve respect. I spent many years in school and training. I think the nurses and nursing management need to be more supportive of their nurses.

    What I'm proposing here is how can we do that ? Is there a field of nursing I can get into where I can help to improve the working condition of nurses ? So far I can only think of teaching. There need to be clear guidelines around harassment at work, against treating employees badly.

    I look forward to hearing back from you all. I've been reading so many negative posts about nursing, I thought why not do something about it, because nursing is a helping profession, and a beautiful profession. If we can make nurses happier maybe there would be less shortage and less negativity among nurse coworkers.
    Why not get involved in the leadership of your department -- perhaps even in a management position someday? It's easy to stand on the sidelines and criticize the nursing managers ... much harder to actually try to improve things yourself by getting involved. You could start by getting involved in whatever unit-based committees exist. If none exist, talk with your current unit leaders (manager, educator, etc.) and tell them that you would like to help. See what they have to say. They may really appreciate some help from the staff. You would be improving the working conditions for yourself and the collegues in your immediate environment -- and also learning the challenges of running an actual department with real people. That's valuable experience that will strengthen your career preparation for whatever you decide to do later.

    Too many people dream of improving things "someday," but fail to gain the experience needed by working on the problems in their current environment today.
  10. by   purplemania
    Are you a member of a professional organization? The American Nurses Asso. represents all nurses but there are other organizations for perioperative nursing. These organizations have one thing in common: to promote professional nursing.
  11. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    To put a stop to this downgrading and demeaning arguements/comments to those who do not posess a BSN. (one person in particular is coming to mind on that...)

    To put a stop to those who refer to a BSN as "just a few more classes, big deal".

    To belong to general nursing organizations (not counting the specialty organizations, that's different) that include all nurses, and not only bachelor's degree or higher. Not matter the degree, we are all sharing the same problems.

    If an organization is using the general term of nursing, without specifying registered or practical, then it should include ALL nurses.

    Examples for this:

    You have the ANA, or American Nurses Association, not titled the American Registered Nurses, yet under FAQ's at www.ana.org :

    the American Nurses Association represents the interests of the nation' s 2.9 million registered nurses and only RNs are eligible to join.
    And it's made quite clear their stance on anything less than an RN, which is contradictory to their we-need-to-stand-together talk out of the other corner of the mouth.

    Because i know someone's either thinking it or going to say it: what about the NFLPN? Their name clearly states what their organization is for, the ANA does not.

    In addition, while AORN is a good resource for OR nurses, the fact that they had changed their name from Association of Operating Room Nurse to the Association of periOoperative Registered Nurses screams elitist, and even when i'm an RN, i'll never join it because of that.
  12. by   CaLLaCoDe
    Quote from Atl_John
    Gossipy co-workers are one thing, working with a chip on ones shoulder, but I actually had a problem with a nurse who was extreamly rude to me one day. I went to management about it, I was told and I quote "John, they are a bunch of women, its what they do, this is not a battle you can win" This coming from a women. I was shocked, alot of it I think has to do with what managment is willing to put up with not only from other nurses but also from other staff (doctors, house keepers, etc). The people I would go after in trying toeducate are the Adminstrators of the hospital. The patients figure out prettty quickly it seems what the nurses do, but it would be nice to have a little more education for them sort of a this is what the nurse will do for you pamphlet. This is what their job is, and it should be written by a nurse, not by a doctor or the hospital.
    Wow, talk about insulting, that's just how female nurses are, deal with it! What a put down to those nurses either female or male who hold their tongue and don't lash out, what? Are they considered the exception, I should hope not!
    I like the pamphle idea, I second the motion! Kind of nips Press Ganey, "Is there anything else I can help you with before I go?" in the bud. And please look at the laundry list of tasks I must do before asking me to do more! Kind of a revese Press agony!
    Last edit by CaLLaCoDe on Mar 4, '07
  13. by   RN BSN 2009
    break the chain of gossip!
  14. by   Atl_John
    Quote from TeleRNer
    Wow, talk about insulting, that's just how female nurses are, deal with it! What a put down to those nurses either female or male who hold their tongue and don't lash out, what? Are they considered the exception, I should hope not!
    I like the pamphle idea, I second the motion! Kind of nips Press Ganey, "Is there anything else I can help you with before I go?" in the bud. And please look at the laundry list of tasks I must do before asking me to do more! Kind of a revese Press agony!
    You know as I recall it used to be said that men were superior to women, thats just how it is and you should deal with it. Obviously things changed because you (women) didn't just "deal" with it. Being rude is never right, regardless of if you are a man or a woman, and no I do not have to deal with it or put up with it. THIS attitude is precisely what makes nursing a less positive profession. Grow up, your supposed to be a professional start acting like one.

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