Is it like this everywhere?

  1. 2
    I feel sick when I wake up for work. I feel sick on my drive home. When I get home, I often cry, because I feel that I did not provide adequate care to my patients. The hospital that I work at (a teaching hospital with an excellent reputation) is supposedly commited to "quality patient care." However, I can clearly see that money is the only object and staffing is kept at minimal. Last night, I watched a great nurse with 30+ years break down in uncontrollable sobs. At the end of the shift another nurse asked, "Why is it acceptable for nurses to be abused, what other profession would allow this, it reminds me why there are child labor laws." Three newly hired nurses have quit in the last month. I ask myself, how long I can I work 12-14 hours with one fifteen minute break, if I am lucky. I often have trouble functioning out of work, because I am so stressed and tired. I seriously consider leaving the nursing profession that I love and begin to wonder if hospital nursing is like this everywhere. I would like to hear from other nurses.
    janhetherington and lindarn like this.

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  2. 13 Comments...

  3. 3
    Hmm... I can't answer for every hospital but I have lived your nightmare. I have worked for a few places now (I traveled for a bit) and they were not all like that, just 2 in particular. I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach as soon as I headed toward the shower before work.
    Both facilities had unsafe ratio's and minimal night staffing. I would say to shop around if you are that miserable there. No need to work in an environment that is making you sick and making you cry. Not all places are like that, but unfortunately, most of them are all about minimal staffing (especially on nights) and the money.
    Whatever you chose, I wish you luck. Just be sure to ask the right questions if you do end up interviewing at another facility (staffing, ratio's, etc.).
    IowaKaren, Ruthfarmer, and lindarn like this.
  4. 2
    I have to say I felt the exact same way when I worked at the hospital. In fact the only time I felt happy is when I was giving report to go home. I loved the patient care but felt it was inadequate because I was so overworked and stressed so I left and I went to home health. I have to say I love home health, you can actually educate your patients and give them the time they need and deserve. Depending on what you want out of your future as a nurse this might be a good option. The only downside that I have found is that I have lost some skills and knowledge which is making me contemplate going back to the hospital since I am going back to school to further my nursing education. Have you thougt about trying a different hospital? I know exactly how you feel, so don't feel like your alone, also have you considered agency work? Hope this helps!
    Poi Dog and janhetherington like this.
  5. 2
    No, it isn't like that everywhere. THere are some pretty good places, (mine used to be, we are currently in a major union vs take over corp battle); others are soso. If you are that stressed out, you are likely to start making mistakes. Start sending out resumes, make a list of what is important to you, consider if you are willing to relocate.

    Until them, make a list of priorities at work for the shift, plan out your meds and treatments, and do your best to meet your own goals. Did all the major stuff get done? If not why? If it is poor staffing and too many tasks for the night, fill out an incident report. Get the rest of the staff to do them too. With enough documentation, may be you can get things changed. It will ba start on CYA as well.
    autumnmom and Altra like this.
  6. 3
    Quote from rnccf2007
    I feel sick when I wake up for work. I feel sick on my drive home. When I get home, I often cry, because I feel that I did not provide adequate care to my patients.
    ... money is the only object and staffing is kept at minimal.
    ...Three newly hired nurses have quit in the last month.
    ...How long I can I work 12-14 hours with one fifteen minute break?
    Hey, I didn't know we work together.

    If we're not @ the same hospital the scenario is certainly the same.
    No, not this way everywhere but in a BUNCH of places anymore. Press-ganey is more important than actual care. It's not what you do so much as how you do it. Scripting: "How can I make you mostly satisfied with your visit"? Admin could care less that you provided actual care so much as perceived care. Shower them with Bu!!$h!t and you're golden.

    CAP measures, Stroke protocols and STEMI's take to the rear burner as you deal with turkey sandwiches, blankets and pillows. Be sure to turn on the TV to white-trash programming so they're entertained during their dinner visit.
    Somewhere in your cocktail waitress duties you just have to find the time to get them their nitro drip or hang antibiotics. Maybe time to grab a Diet Coke and pee.... maybe.

    Guess I'm burnt out too...
  7. 1
    I know how you feel hospice nurse here, everything keeps getting cut. Work m-f 8-6or7 back in on weekends for 5 hours or more to catch paperwork up and dont forget call sometimes 9 day stretches along with work all for 50,000 a year. Can someone say sucker!
    netglow likes this.
  8. 5
    Life is too short and too precious to be dreading going to work and feeling like you have been put through a washing machine when leaving work. The beauty about our profession is that you do not have to stay somewhere that is making you miserable, there will always be another nursing job somewhere. Employers are stretching nursing staff to their limits and don't care if you don't like it because they know that nurses are looking for jobs all the time. Consequently, a lot of facilities have a revolving door, nurses come, nurses go and they seem to be satisfied. It is no longer about patient care, it is about saving a dollar by using minimum staff to get the job done and saving themselves from lawsuits. Charting/documentation is 75% of our working day and the other 25% is giving medications and running around to do what ever we can for the patient which includes bringing in water, warming up meals, bringing blankets and what ever else the patient needs. When I was working at the hospital, I loved interacting with my patients, physical assessments and other nursing tasks, but when I was on my feet for 10 hrs straight and the call bells, and IV machines never stopped beeping, I became overwhelmed and wanted to scream. Short staffing is an epidemic in healthcare and it is everywhere. Being overstressed is not worth my inner peace.
    netglow, IowaKaren, janhetherington, and 2 others like this.
  9. 0
    I get the sick feeling on the way to work. The same feeling I got on the first day of kindergarten. I'm only 4 months in and was hoping the feeling would subside with time. Looks like you're 4 years in and still getting the sick feeling. Bummer.

    To answer your question, I don't think it's like this everywhere. With 4 years of experience you are marketable. Start applying elsewhere asap.

    Sending hugs and protonix your way!
  10. 1
    No, not that any of my jobs are a piece of cake but I do not dread going to work and in fact although I love my days off I kind of miss it. We are short staffed, work with a few idiots and at teaching hospitals the magnet trend seems to be hire them in droves if they have multiple letters after their name with no regard for actual experience but I digress, for the most part my peers and patients are incredible. I love what I do and if I had more than a few days of being that unhappy I would immediately find another job.
    netglow likes this.
  11. 2
    I'm sorry to hear acute-care nursing has gotten so much worse since I left the hospital for good back in 2005. Back then, I didn't see how it could get worse; I'd been treated better in the circuit-board factories where I worked in my youth, and I never felt more like a pack mule than when I was running the floor on Med/Surg.

    Mercifully (for my sake anyway), I left before scripting became the order of the day, and P-G scores weren't the be-all and end-all they are today. My sympathies are with all of you who continue to labor under these circumstances.
    IowaKaren and janhetherington like this.

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