How to stay positive in nursing.

  1. I am curious how other nurses stay positive in the profession. I honestly in 15 years have not met one nurse who was not looking to get out, or who was stuck because of the money in the profession. I have met those who were going to school to do something advanced, I have met those always hunting for "some" other type of job in companies that standardly treat their employees better, but I have never met one nurse who wants to stay on their own accord. 90% of the nurses I have worked with want out but for one reason or another can't get out at this time. I recently asked around for my own information. Most nurses I have encountered do not find any rewards in what they do. The families are mean, the patients are even more mean, and administration is always trying to stick it to them. I have worked at both large city and small community hospitals and the opinions did not change from one to the other. I questioned why nurses are would rather leave than make the profession better and most nurses who I asked were in the profession for awhile stated that there is no why to make nursing better. The general feel seems to be that nurses will never gain any power so why bother? I personally have alway thought that if nurses would band together we could easliy overcome health care as top dog. So my questions are these:How do nurses stay positive in a profession that in general offers little reward? As middle management I would like to encourage my staff to do more for nursing but how should I do this when most hate the profession so much? For those who are looking to get out of the profession or have gotten out of hospital care where are looking or where did you go? And finally for those who have gone on and advanced their degree other than CRNA's did it pay off?
    Thanks
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    If you were to meet me you would find a very content nurse. I love my job, and while there are down moments, the "up" moments far outweigh them. Let me give you an example: about a year ago a PMD sent in a 3-yr-old girl asking that we get a stat head CT, because she had had dizziness, headaches, and difficulty maintaining her balance. I was there when the ER doc had to tell the mom that the CT showed a tumor. We transferred the child to Stanford and lost track of her. A few months ago the mom brought her husband in to be seen and the little girl was with them. She'd had successful surgery to remove the tumor from her brain and looked absolutely wonderful. It happened that the same staff was on when she brought her husband in, and the hugs we got from the mom and her daughter meant so much to us.

    That is just one example, I could come up with many many others.
  4. by   weetziebat
    Quote from littlecheese
    The families are mean, the patients are even more mean, and administration is always trying to stick it to them.....I questioned why nurses are would rather leave than make the profession better and most nurses who I asked were in the profession for awhile stated that there is no why to make nursing better. The general feel seems to be that nurses will never gain any power so why bother? I personally have alway thought that if nurses would band together we could easliy overcome health care as top dog.
    I've been in nursing a long time, and agree that I rarely encounter a nurse who is happy with their jobs. Almost all I speak with like the profession but not the way it is being run nowadays. And almost all stay only because they can't go back to school to learn a new profession, and make too much money as a nurse to actually do what we all threaten to do occasionally - be a Wal*Mart greeter.

    At the moment I have found a job I love and am really content. But that doesn't mean I don't know exactly what you are talking about. And, in your post, I believe you hit the nail on the head. Nurses do not stick together - and without that, we'll never get anywhere. I think, if we can get more men into the profession perhaps that will change. Men won't put up with the crap all us 'sweet little angels of mercy' put up with, and seem to be much more willing to stick together and fight for the working conditions all nurses deserve. JMHO
  5. by   aileenve
    I too have been in the profession for 15 years, and on the days I feel depressed about my job it has generally been from the management or other nurses. We as a profession need to support and encourage one another. Are you taking care of yourself and your family? That is a big part of the picture...after a physical I got a new perspective about my future and where I want to go...maybe need a change of scene
  6. by   tryingtomakeit
    I certainly have my gripes, but the gripes don't come from my job in itself, they come from management. I love what I do. If I could just be left alone to DO my job. I work in L&D and the powers that be are so intent on us "floating" that we rarely get the time to stock our rooms, make up charts, etc. (we don't have a ward clerk), yet we are berated when we don't get these things done. The other night I came in to three laboring patients and two triages. There was one other nurse working with me. We were both told to empty out as soon as we could so we could help med-surg.

    I was in a fast food place the other day. There were four customers and five workers. I smiled at the manager, who was helping even in that slow hour, and stated that it looked like he had plenty of help. He said, "well, we have to be ready - in an hour this place could be packed!" Aren't we at least as important as the fast food industry?

    If we could just be treated with a little respect and compassion from management, I would ADORE nursing!
  7. by   jahra
    Here is a good thread on why nurses leave nursing.............


    http://allnurses.com/forums/f8/leavi...on-160318.html
  8. by   VivaLasViejas
    One of the blessings that came out of the train wreck that was my last job is a new and healthy self-respect: I simply refuse to be treated badly. I no longer allow people to shout at me, push me around (figuratively OR literally), trivialize my concerns, or treat me like the proverbial mushroom (keep me in the dark and feed me BS). When a resident or family member starts to get loud or verbally abusive, I'll say something like, "Excuse me? I don't hear so well when I'm being screamed at" or "I usually respond better when I'm not being threatened" and start to walk away; that usually forces them to stop and reconsider what they're saying. I also will stand up to anyone who gets nasty with my staff---this way, I demonstrate to them that they don't have to put up with abuse either, and that I care enough about them to back them up.
  9. by   ern91
    ]I too have been a nurse 15 years and find the same attitude you have found littlecheese.
    ]as a matter of fact, I have that attitude. There are sooooo many reasons. Hospitals are
    ]corporations, society is more litigious than ever, our government believes people don't need to be responsible for their own lives, accreditation agencies are constantly adding
    ]paperwork and policies to our practice, management that is inexperienced. I could go on.
    ]Some things I have found that make a difference;
    ]1. Buy the best equipment you can and always have it available.
    ]2. Self scheduling.
    ]3. Offer bonuses and monetary incentives for nurses who go the extra mile
    ]4. Do not tolerate (or foster) animosity between shifts.
    ]5. Have a monthly staff meeting in which all you do is praise; do not talk about anything
    ] negative.
    ]6. Communicate with other members of the management staff so you are all on the
    ] same page.
    ]7. Have individual meetings with staff where] they can talk about anything without
    ] repurcussions. Anything.
    ]8. Do not tolerate abuse from patients even if it means your satisfaction scores] go down.
    ]9. Do not tolerate abuse from physicians.
    ]10. Find ways to make your staff's jobs easier.
    ]11. Do not understaff
    ]
    ]Above all, be the kind of person your staff can trust. Unfortunately, if you succeed in doing all these things, you will probably be out of a job. Administrators don't seem to want middle management to care this much about staff.
  10. by   banditrn
    Quote from tryingtomakeit
    I certainly have my gripes, but the gripes don't come from my job in itself, they come from management. I love what I do. If I could just be left alone to DO my job. I work in L&D and the powers that be are so intent on us "floating" that we rarely get the time to stock our rooms, make up charts, etc. (we don't have a ward clerk), yet we are berated when we don't get these things done. The other night I came in to three laboring patients and two triages. There was one other nurse working with me. We were both told to empty out as soon as we could so we could help med-surg.

    I was in a fast food place the other day. There were four customers and five workers. I smiled at the manager, who was helping even in that slow hour, and stated that it looked like he had plenty of help. He said, "well, we have to be ready - in an hour this place could be packed!" Aren't we at least as important as the fast food industry?

    If we could just be treated with a little respect and compassion from management, I would ADORE nursing!
    That's how I felt about my last job - I loved what I did, I was good at it - if the management had stayed away from me, I'd still be there.
  11. by   mydesygn
    "I love my work but I hate my job" Once I read the quote, I understood the sentiment immediately. I enjoy patient care and I feel rewarded by the gratitude of the families and patients I care for. There are bad days but overall most are good. What drove me out of nursing (I have left the bedside and plan to not return) was "the job". It was the complaining, the backstabbing, the gossiping, the lack of support from my colleagues. Nurses drove me out of nursing. I don't beleive that anything will change until we treat one another as professionals. My brother is a truckdriver and he once said if a guy is going to your boss about your performance, you know about it beforehand. I wish nurses would treat one another with the same level of courtesy.
  12. by   lindarn
    Quote from weetziebat
    I've been in nursing a long time, and agree that I rarely encounter a nurse who is happy with their jobs. Almost all I speak with like the profession but not the way it is being run nowadays. And almost all stay only because they can't go back to school to learn a new profession, and make too much money as a nurse to actually do what we all threaten to do occasionally - be a Wal*Mart greeter.

    At the moment I have found a job I love and am really content. But that doesn't mean I don't know exactly what you are talking about. And, in your post, I believe you hit the nail on the head. Nurses do not stick together - and without that, we'll never get anywhere. I think, if we can get more men into the profession perhaps that will change. Men won't put up with the crap all us 'sweet little angels of mercy' put up with, and seem to be much more willing to stick together and fight for the working conditions all nurses deserve. JMHO

    The two hospitals that I have worked in here, had ALOT OF MALE NURSES AS STAFF NURSES. The trouble was, they were bigger weinies than the female nurses. The ones that weren't, either went into management, and became management wienies, or went back to school to be CRNAs.

    Hospitals like to encourage nurses to leave, and go someplace else. They LIKE THE CONSTANT TURNOVER. New nurses mean that the older, experienced, troublemakers, and future pension collectors, are gone.

    The talk of a "nursing shortage", "they can't find nurses anywhere", are an "academy award" winning act. The truth is that hospitals go out of there way to encourage nurses to leave. It "cleans house', and keeps nursing from sticking together. It is hard to stick together, when the individuals who you need to stick together with, are still on probation, can get fired for blowing their nose the wrong way, and don't know the issues that the older nurses are dealing with. They look at nursing through rose colored glasses.

    Also, the nurses who are using their presant employment as a stepping stone, don't care what the issues are. They are headed to CRNA school, or grad school to become Nurse Practitioners, will make 6 figure salaries, and be their own bosses. They could care less.

    The California Nurse Association and the NNOC, are the only nurses associations who have made a dent towards nursing unity, patient ratios, staffing, pay, benefits, and have SUCCESSFULLY fought off powerful politicians, (Arnie!), to effect change for the better. It can be done. They became experts in winning the battle by educating the public, and involving them in their protests. If only the vast numbers of "martry marys" in the nursing profession, who prevent this from happening in most other areas, would see the light, and support the nurses who are really trying to make positive changes for everyone.
    JMHO.

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington

    Educate yourself, enroll in a paralegal program in you local community college, or enroll in Kaplans on- line Paralegal program, and take classes in Employment Law, Administrative Law, Contract Law, and learn what you rights are in the workplace. Most nurses are ignorant of the laws, and are easily bullied by management and administration. I coud write a book on what I have seen management and administration has pulled.
  13. by   traumaRUs
    I think that it is important that we not blame our own unhappiness on others. Any job can be either the best or worst thing that has ever happened to us. It is up to us as individuals to either look for the best in our situation or choose to look elsewhere.

    To blame our own failures on others is counterproductive and doesn't allow us to grow as individuals.

    I also want to say that the unhappiest folks that I have known have been negative people that have NEVER been happy. Its always a lot easier to blame others for our own shortcomings.
    Last edit by traumaRUs on Aug 13, '06
  14. by   VivaLasViejas
    I don't see a 'vast majority' of 'Martyr Marys' in the nursing profession. Your average working nurse is not stupid---THEY JUST GET TIRED. That's what happened to me in my last hospital job, and I walked away rather than be worked into the ground. There was no martyrdom involved; I put up with it as long as I did because I enjoyed taking care of patients and I needed the $30 an hour I was earning.......or so I thought until I realized that my health and self-esteem were worth more than mere cash.

    I didn't need a union to convince me of that, either.........in fact, the union at my workplace did NOTHING to improve staffing ratios or offer protection for older nurses. All they focused on during negotiations was money, benefits, and vacation days---all of which are important, but not necessarily the be-all and end-all of existence. I make less money now than I did five years ago, I've had to wait six months for health insurance, and I'll get only a week's vacation after completing the first year of employment. But the satisfaction I derive from working in the right place, at the right time, with the right people, is more than enough to keep me healthy, happy, and best of all, SANE. What could be better than that?
    Last edit by VivaLasViejas on Aug 12, '06

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