My take on nursing

  1. 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.
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  2. 39 Comments

  3. by   Dr. Gonzo
    Why do you think their is such a lack of nurses. Look its very tough being a Nurse you gotta take so much crap and get very little respect in return but thats what Nursing is deal with it. Nurses are a special breed few can take the stuff nurses deal with on a regular basis thats why Nurses are essentail their the backbone of the hospital remember that just hang in their dont let some worthless doctors bring you down just keep your head up the patients need good nurses like you even though those [TOS violation] rarely appreciate your care.
  4. by   RNPATL
    Quote from 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.
    Your statements here can be the single voice that validates why our country is in the midst of a national nursing shortage. Who in their right mind would want to work like this, let alone make it a career for the next 20 or 30 years.

    Yes, I totally relate and understand what you are saying. You describe the situation perfectly, almost as if you and I worked together each day. I feel the same way that you do .... perhaps not every day, but more days than I want too. I think that nursing is becoming a more complex job, not because technology is advancing, but because health care profits are driving the way in which care is rendered.

    This is no longer simply a nursing issue. Yes, nurses need to unite and support their national associations and have a voice, but, the general public needs to understand that hospitals and HMO's are placing them in VERY unsafe sitauations. An RN that already has 5 or 6 patients and then gets another post op patient can not properly care for this patient and monitor the patient as may be needed or required. The patient's life truly lies in the balance here.

    As nurses, we remain patient advocates. That translates into advocates for future patients as well. We MUST educate the public about this horrific situation so that laws can be passed to mandate safer care. This mandate will (hopefully) translate into a safe nurse to patient ratio and perhaps improve the safety for our patients and for us as nursing professionals.

    I thnak you for posting this thread. Please know that there are others that feel the same as you. We continue to go to work each day because if we can make a difference in one patient's life, then maybe the craziness we deal with everyday was worth it. I know I made a difference for one patient today. And, that is a good thing.
    Last edit by RNPATL on May 6, '04
  5. by   jaimealmostRN
    CCU RN- I am sorry you are going through this. Usually I dislike when people's solution to a problem is: just quit. But you may want to try the ED. I have never seen an MD/DO/PA be rude to an RN in the (wow) three facilities I have worked in, all varying in size/acuity. We are truly a team (I am a CCT/SN and still get respect from the Drs, gasp!). And in terms of new residents, if they are even allowed to practice in the ED, they are overwhelmed, affraid, and unsure how to handle some of the patients. They look to the RNs for guidance and assistance. Why not offer to float there one day and see how you like it? The other above poster is correct though, I believe that this is why there is a nursing shortage...
  6. by   lady_jezebel
    I work at a Magnet hospital on the West coast. The physician/nurse relations are actually quite good, and I feel respected most of the time. I also have a supportive manager & wonderful co-workers. We often socialize with the physical and occupational therapists outside of work. Our nurse to patient ratios are only 1 to 3 or 1 to 4 hospital-wide (med-surg floors). Overall, I feel respected as a professional.

    One thing I've learned after all my clinicals and experience at this job -- choose your place of work wisely! Nurses get a raw deal almost everywhere. You have really got to be selective, if possible.
  7. by   EmeraldNYL
    CCU RN, sounds like you need to look for employment elsewhere. Sure, I have bad days where a coworker is cranky or a doctor is a jerk to me, but overall it's not like that. Maybe you need a change of pace. BTW, how are the apps to CRNA school going? Sorry to hear you are bummed....
  8. by   angel337
    ccuRn, i feel really bad for you . just about every new nurse i know that started off on a critical care floor or med/surg floor has had experiences similar to yours. i think you would really like the emergency room. i have worked in a level two trauma for almost 5 years and i feel very respected by the doctors, and now that i am a nurse they respect me even more. believe me, you can like what you do. i agree that nurses work very hard, but you should not have to put up with such disrespect from the people you work with. you have enough experience to explore other options. give your career a chance. think about OR, ED or PACU. all of these areas are short term care and you learn alot without getting so burned out. good luck
  9. by   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.
  10. by   Tweety
    Best wishes.
  11. by   Rapheal
    Sorry you are so discouraged. Nursing is so tough and really not what I expected either. You DO make a difference in the life of your patients. Maybe you just need to hear that or maybe you need to move on to a place where you are more valued. Either way best wishes to you.
  12. by   rn4booboo
    I have to agree with some of the others- looks like you need a new place to work.
    Dawn
  13. by   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.
  14. by   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

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