My take on nursing - page 3

It is sad to see how my impressions of reality have changed so very much in the last two years. While in many ways I feel as though I have grown stronger, in many ways I feel quite degraded. It... Read More

  1. by   New CCU RN
    Quote from orrnlori
    I'm so sorry you're having such a hard time. I also believe you need to change where you are working. I work in the OR and it's nothing like you have described, although I came from a unit where I felt much as you describe. There are alternatives where you can be happier. Not all doctors are jerks and not all coworkers are lazy. It's wonderful to have a doc look at you and say "good idea" when you made a suggestion or a co-worker hug you because you found something they needed in order to do their job. It's not all like you describe, there can be happiness in nursing. Please consider switching to another area to find that happiness.
    orrnlori, thirdshift guy and raphael,

    Thank you for the well wishes. I know there are better places....... and much much worse places..... as I mentioned above I am going to try out PACU and see how that is. I have heard that our PACU has a really great manager as well as great retention so they must be doing something right.

    On my unit currently, we have over 50 percent vacancy rate. The last time I worked, of the 8 of us 5 were agency or floaters. The other three of us one was just off orientation, there was me and a girl who has been there six months longer. Scary.

    While my manager is a wonderful, wonderful, understanding, very dedicated, and very nice person, the unit is in shambles. She really is caught in the midst of things b/c she came in when the unit was a mess and tried to make things better but those above her don't give her much room for growth. Long story......

    Thank you again for your posts....
  2. by   New CCU RN
    Quote from Hellllllo Nurse
    New CCU RN-

    The situation you describe is the norm for many nurses. That's the reason for the nursing "shortage".

    Many people believe that cranking out new nurses by the thousands is the answer. Your post shows why this is not so.

    If you think it's bad now- wait until your back has been injured a few times.

    This is how it works-

    The schools crank 'em out, the hospitals use them up, and the schools crank out some more. And- hospitals import them.


    I know exactly how you feel, because I have been there. I felt very isolated. I could feel the injustice and the wrongness of it all swirling around me. It was surreal at times.

    I know you must feel alone, but you aren't. There are nurses all over the world feeling what you are feeling, going through what you are going through right now.

    I am not going to say anything useless like "hang in there! Keep your chin up!" and other such useless blather.

    I am going to say that if you truly want to be a nurse, there is a place for you. You will find it. I've been a nurse for 12 years, and have only just found my place in the last year. It ain't no cake walk, but it is doable, tolerable, and I do make a difference in my pts lives.

    Where you are now is the wrong place, the wrong situation.

    You can find the right one.


    Please know that.


    Hugs, love, understanding and empathy to all my fellow nurses.
    Thank you very much for your understanding. As you may have read above, I am going to try and find my place. It is always good to hear that others understand. Thank you.
  3. by   New CCU RN
    Quote from Monist
    I have been in nursing forums for a while now, and I have heard many negative comments about the working conditions for RNs. The conclusions I have reached based on my observations may anger some, but I will voice them anyway:

    1. The nurses who feel degraded often don't have a very caring heart. They need status in their profession of nursing, but they don't realize that status-seeking and truly caring for others is most often mutually exclusive. It's hard to provide perineal care when you really--in your heart--just want to tell others what to do.

    2. Nurses who want to tell doctors what to do and then feel disregarded by them don't seem to realize what the profession of nursing is and what the profession of medicine is. Nurses care for patients who can't care for themselves because they are sick; they assess patients and make objective observations and statements about the patients condition. They administer prescribed treatments and medications often based on their own assessments (i.e., PRN meds, sliding scales, ranges, etc.); they educate patients and families. They don't diagnose medical conditions and prescribe treatments. They diagnose conditions related to nursing care and implement nursing interventions to acheive a good outcome.

    I think nursing is the highest profession, but a lot of nurses think physician is the highest profession, and they will always feel put down by physicians--especially when the physician doesn't allow them to play physician. Imagine how you'd feel if a respiratory therapist or radiology tech made nursing recommendations to you.

    3. Short staffing is a problem. If one has their application in and is seeking interviews in hospitals with better nurse/patient ratios then I truly feel for their plight in regards to staffing. If they aren't lifting a finger to change hospitals, then it can't bother them that much. And here's the real sticker: every nurse I've met that complains the most about staffing is the nurse who typically does the least for his/her patients. I'm not saying there's a correlation; I'm just saying it's what I have seen.

    4. A person can have a positive attitude in the worst of situations. We can't just be nurses to our patients; we have to be nurses to everyone around us. We care for the sick, but we care for our coworkers by keeping a positive attitude at all times--even if we have to fake it at all times.

    Just my ramblings--please feel free to disagree and tell me about it

    The Monist

    Monist,

    While I respect your opinion, as it is something that you are entitled to --- it is just that --- an opinion.

    I would also like to add that when I first entered nursing --- as you are about to do from what I have gathered from your other posts --- I had an idealistic view of nursing.... just like you do now.

    I did work in the profession as a tech prior to entering --- and I still thought that nursing was wonderful, bright and cheery. However, I do warn you that you will most likely be sorely mistaken. It is not all georgia peaches.

    As far as your comments.... I don't think you can even begin to understand until you have spent a good amount of time in nursing.... NOT nursing school. There is a world of difference. I don't mean to dismiss your comments, but they do sound quite naive.

    I realize you were making general comments about what you have observed. Personally, although I am not satisfied w/ my current situation... I would like to resond anyhow b/c as you are still learning perhaps it would help you to hear it from someone that is actually already at the bedside being a nurse rather than being a nursing student.....

    #1 I rarely bring up what it is that I do. My family is very disapointed with the fact that I am in their eyes "just a nurse". They often tell me that I would be better suited in another field b/c I was always such a good student and had such potential which according to them, I am just wasting being a nurse. So your comments about status are way off base at least with my situation. My family calls nurses "cute". This also applies to the majority of people that my family associates with. While I don't agree with them, I have gotten to the point where attempting to dissuade them has grown old. They are set in their ways.

    But at the same time, status is in no means making a pretty small income, working holidays and weekends, or caring for the sick.

    I just don't understand your logic with this one at all.

    #2 I don't expect the docs to ask me what antibiotic to order. However, I do expect them to listen to my assessments when I have been the one spending the last twelve hours with the patient while they have been asleep in the call room. You mention that nurses assess, well how would you like it if your assessments were questioned in a demeaning manner despite their validity? And as a result, your patient suffered. And even though they really needed more prn pain meds, the doc refused. So you had to continue on and be the one to tell the patient you can't give them any more meds for another hour despite the fact that they are in tears w/ pain.

    #3 I do work at a hospital with decent nurse-patient ratios. I am an ICU nurse and generally have two patients to care for. That is fairly standard. However, our ancillary help is awful... and basically non existant. And so an RN's time is taken away from the bedside to duties such as answering the phones, cleaning beds...yep that is the newest one, fetching trays for those that can eat, transfering stable patients, doing charge w/ a full assignment and no extra monetary compensation, breaking charts down, the list goes on.

    I am also in the process of changing units b/c I do think a change is in order.

    As far as complaining about a situation but doing the least for the patient, well sorry but this nurses is not in that category. I do 110 percent every day for my patients. Iknow they get the very best care and I often recieve many, many compliments and notes after the fact. However, when you come in day after day and others HAVE NOT pulled their weight, thus leaving you w/ more work ... it gets old. You sound like you will be a very caring nurse and so maybe you will soon understand that.

    #4 At work, I have a positive attitude. I never want to be the type of person that is negative and their coworkers and patients suffer from it. However, there comes to a point where it isn't healthy to FAKE positivity about a situation... when every day that you go to work you have knots in your stomach and a feeling of dread....... even if you don't let it on to others... it is NOT a good state to be. I hope that you never experience it........

    I wish you the very best w/ your career. May it only be filled with shiny days.
  4. by   jaimealmostRN
    Quote from New CCU RN
    Thank you jamie for your post. I am actually in the process of interviewing in the PACU at my facility and will give that a try. I am glad you have found a good fit for yourself in the ED. (Which if the PACU doesn't work out, ED is my next stop )
    Good for you for making a change. :hatparty: When do you find out about the PACU? Good luck!!!! Let us all know how it works out, and if it doesn't we'd still love to have you in the ED!
  5. by   tommycher
    Until one works the floor for awhile, they have no clue. I am still amazed that the nurse is the only one responsible for making the families, doctors, ancillary people, managers, pharmacy, etc. etc. all happy!!!! All other disciplines look to the nurses to keep every other faction informed, solve all the problems between all other disciplines, and still do basic bottom wiping, while being paged to the desk for a phone call from either family member, doctor, pharmacy, surgery, etc, etc, etc. I LOVE nursing, so few can do this!! I feel great at the end of a day if I know my patients each felt they were the ONLY one I had any interest in all day!
  6. by   Lladra
    When I entered the field of nursing, over 40 years ago, I was a "babe in the woods". Women's choices were limited for women then. And many women I knew married right out of highschool, and started raising families. Nursing, teaching, or homemaking were the primary occupations for working class girls. I chose nursing, but I limited myself by not continuing to develope my "carreer". That wasn't what I focused on. I traveled, then married and raised children, and kept putting off further education or advancement. I'm not unhappy with the choices I made, I only regret not doing more earlier on in nursing. But its often said that 'we are where we are supposed to be in life...' wherever that is...And I am blessed to have endured life events and experiences that I have had.
    Over the years I've watched nursing evolve and change, from what I thought it to be, til today. There is more to know, think about, and do, and yet nurses aren't given the recognition or respect they deserve. Sometimes its those who are within the ranks of nursing that forget who they are....and the authority they are given along with tremendous responsibility.
    Now that I've 'retired' for the first time I can chose to do other things, but it seems that those things are gravitating around my nursing experience, whether it is taking care of my elderly mother or my young grandchildren, volunteering at the library, or doing home care.
    So seize the day, because they fly by pretty fast...
  7. by   terrir
    i am changing careers and will be a nurse someday...soon hopefully. It is the dedicated, persistant, sensitive nurses like you that have inspired me to become one of the life-saving angels that you are. You have your terrible 'just f#$%@# it' days, like any profession really! and you keep smiling and caring no matter what. Keep your head up, bite the bullet and do what you can to make your situation a better one. Sometimes the only thing we can do to save our sanity is to move on, either departmentally or entirely to a new facility. Whatever you do, I wish you the best of luck and it is my hope that you never lose the passion and magic you felt in the beginning that made you the great nurse you are today!
  8. by   Owney
    Everyone needs to read the books by Echo Heron, RN.

    Her first one was, "Critical Care", and deals with her own career experiences.
    The second one I read was "Tending Lives." Each chapter is the story of a nurse in a different specialty. The best chapter, "Echo Heron" is an account of her last shift at the bedside. After reading it, most nurses would know just what to do when the time arrives--turn on your heel and do not look back.

    I discovered that I was born a nurse at age 34. I have worked bedside in the busiest, shortest, and most poorly paid jobs for over 20 years. One day my boss decided she didn't love me anymore, so she tossed me out with the trash, blackballed me, and sent a query on my license. I think God was telling me my day had arrived. I may never see another sick person again, but I will take my license into my coffin.

    The longer nurses care for our patients the more painful the sheer futility of providing good care becomes.

    Love, :kiss
  9. by   caroladybelle
    Minor correction Owney,

    Intensive Care was the first Echo Heron Book and describes Nursing school and first years as a Nurse.

    Her second book was Condition Critical and describes her last few years as a staff nurse, burn out and temporarily leaving Nursing.

    Tending Lives was a third book and has various experiences of nurses, including two of hers (one of which was her last shift as an agency nurse/perdiem). She had difficulty gathering experiences from nurses as they were afraid of being fired after speaking to her. Hospital tore down flyers from bulletin boards asking for the stories.

    She also has some fiction books.
  10. by   mattsmom81
    Quote from Owney
    I discovered that I was born a nurse at age 34. I have worked bedside in the busiest, shortest, and most poorly paid jobs for over 20 years. One day my boss decided she didn't love me anymore, so she tossed me out with the trash, blackballed me, and sent a query on my license. I think God was telling me my day had arrived. I may never see another sick person again, but I will take my license into my coffin.

    The longer nurses care for our patients the more painful the sheer futility of providing good care becomes.

    Love, :kiss

    OMG Owney...I read your post and thought 'This is what will inevitably happen to me too". Someday. Its like I see the writing on the wall. We try to do a good job, but when someone is out to get us it will be out the door. I see this phenom as we age. Also I am living the futility and pain...maybe I will walk away myself.(((HUGS))) to all nurses.
  11. by   dkbhu49
    [font=Arial Black]Dear weary nurse, all I can say is AMEN, AMEN!! I have been an RN for 33 yrs!! and have finally gotten to the point where I don't think I can take this anymore either!! It's so sad and I feel it is probably the same all over the U.S. The last 10 yrs. healthcare has gone down the tubes and nurses are leaving the profession left and right
    [font=Arial Black]! When will administration ever get it? In 4 short yrs. this country will be 500,000 nurses short!! They should be bending over backwards to make sure we are taken care of instead of worked to death! All I can say is, it's time to become politically active!! Join the Nat'l organizations that are able to fight for us in congress. Stand up and SHOUT!! But most importantly, don't let them take away your spirit OR your joy! It's not worth it! Make your voice heard and then move on. We women have not yet learned how powerful we truly we are!!! A big hug goes out to you! You will find your way!! fQUOTE=New CCU RN]It is sad to see how my impressions of reality have changed so very much in the last two years. While in many ways I feel as though I have grown stronger, in many ways I feel quite degraded. It was just a short time ago that I honestly thought I was entering this great profession and that I was going to help save the world. Reality shock can't even describe these sentiments that have seem to overcome my being. I have never before felt like such a second class citizen. I have never before felt like my knowledge, skills, and persona are devalued. I am not the type of person that needs to be in the spotlight, that needs continuous recognition. However, at the same time I cannot remain a martyr. I cannot even count the number of times that physicians, ancillary staff, patients, family members, and fellow coworkers have taken out their situation on me. I don't want to be a frustrated worker meandering around and just dealing with it. At the same time, I feel that nurses in many ways truly are voiceless. While we truly are the eyes and ears of the facility, our voices have been muted. We are just a "number" regardless of our background, our strengths, and our weaknesses. If you are new to a facility, you are a hindrance and if you stay too long, you are mediocre. The middle ground gets pretty slippery as you are handed more responsibilities and duties and told phrases such as "flex up". Meanwhile, your patient in bed A is screaming in pain, there is a physician shouting from bed B for this supply, and there are four patients in the ER that are awaiting a bed and while come to you aggravated because of the wait. Your fellow coworker is a few days out of nursing school and so you are keeping an eye out for their actions and the nurse who you replaced from the previous shift was negligent in her duties and so you are trying to play catch-up. You are talked down to by newly made doctors. When you suggest something, it is dismissed as being incorrect regardless of it's validity. Rather than being able to care for your patients, you spend the day documenting your actions, trying to find supplies your patients needs, dealing with equipment that is truly embarrassing you are still using, and pleading with a doctor to just listen to your rationale.
    Why do we remain? I have been trying to find answers and they are truly slim.[/QUOTE]
  12. by   edrnmike
    Sounds like you need to explore another area in nursing or another employer. There are too many other opportunities to quit nursing. You do make a difference to your patients,even if it is not vocalized. Remember, if you were not there to provide excellant, compassionate care, who would?
    Good luck in whatever you you decide, but another good nurse is too much to lose!
  13. by   LPN4Life
    Quote from edrnmike
    Sounds like you need to explore another area in nursing or another employer. There are too many other opportunities to quit nursing. You do make a difference to your patients,even if it is not vocalized. Remember, if you were not there to provide excellant, compassionate care, who would?
    Good luck in whatever you you decide, but another good nurse is too much to lose!
    I agree with Mike... My burnout caused me to quit my job irrationally. I am now starting a job on Tuesday after 9 mos of unemployment. I thought I was ready to get out of nursing and take any 9-5 job I could, but it's not that simple. Many are chosen and called to this profession. I have had many opportunity to hold a dying pts hand when no family was there so they wouldn't be alone during death, other opportunities to bring a person from the clutches of death with my nursing skills, helping family members cope, the list goes on and on. Why do we stay? We love it, deep down, we love the gratification that we get when we look in that pt's eyes and know we have made a difference, we have made them less fearful, less angry.......
    We were chosen and called to do this and we wouldn't be happy doing anything else. Just one special pt, can make up for all of the 100's of bad days we have had, and refuels us to keep going. I'm excited to finally be able to get back to what I was meant to do, what I was created for........I'm sure burn out will come in a few months, but it always seems to be replaced by a smile from one of my fave pts............

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