Now I understand why there is a nursing shortage

  1. I am a new nurse and I am on orientation now for almost 4 weeks at the hospital. I work on a med surge floor.

    I am given 8 patients to give medications, assessments, etc etc.

    The work is overwhelming and from what i am being told, its like that every where.
    i work 12 hour shifts and i cant even eat my lunch for 30 minutes in peace , some one always needs me

    I some times feel like walking out
    i am starting to question my self.. what the hell did i get my self into

    I personally like pt care but my god, you cant give good pt care with so much overwhelming paper work and every one pulling and tugging on you at the same time and try to be accurate about giving medications.

    they want me to be the nurse, the secretary, the Aide, and much more.

    when the pts need to be cleaned up and you try to find a nurses aide, they disappear so I clean up the pts my self.

    what has nursing become
    I see why nurses quit so fast
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  2. 75 Comments

  3. by   RN1989
    Welcome to the club! Sorry it isn't as great as it should be.
  4. by   HealthyRN
    Sorry to say it, but that's the reality. The first year or so out of school is very tough, so you may want to give it some time. You may adjust and discover that you do enjoy nursing despite it's many shortcomings. Or you may decide, like me, that it just isn't worth it. Good luck!

    Edited to add: Many people do enjoy nursing and you have to remember that there is more than just med-surg out there. You could try a different unit, a different hospital, or an entirely different type of nursing. (FYI- I only have 4 patients on my med-surg floor and it still is overwhelmingly busy. Eight seems as though it would be downright unsafe.) Once you have a year or two of hospital experience, many doors can open up outside of the hospital, especially if you have a bachelor's degree. I didn't want to leave you feeling hopeless.
    Last edit by HealthyRN on Dec 20, '07
  5. by   angel337
    i can't help but blame the nursing programs. when i went to school i new EXACTLY what floor nursing entailed. i was not the least bit surprised when i graduated. my program and our instructors were very realistic and they told us that we would have 6-12 patients on a med surg floor. for that reason alone alot of my classmates chose critical care areas (ICU/ER). i just don't understand why so many new grads are surprised. what was clinical like?? did the nurses only have 2-3 patients??? i doubt it. i am not pointing a finger at you personally,its just that this seems to be the norm and i am wondering what goes wrong in between clinicals and graduation. i remember being in clinical and thinking "there is no way in *ell that i would work med surg" i absolutely hated it for the reasons you mentioned and i have only done ER with the exception of being floated to the floor. which wasn't too bad once i became a more experienced nurse. you also have to consider the hospital and their support. is there a good new grad program in place?? do they have a good nurse/patient ratio? some hospitals pay more because the environment is horrible and they know that so they try to make up by paying a little more. sometimes you have to take a pay cut to have peace of mind. i wish you luck in what you decide. don't give up and don't give in. you deserve to benefit from working hard for your license.
  6. by   RN1989
    I wish every nursing school was so forthcoming. It would weed out applicants a lot faster so that only the truly brave hearted souls that could stick it out for the long haul would be going to nursing school. It would cause some hardship in the workforce at first but after a while the turnover would be lower and we might actually make some headway with nursing and our healthcare system.
  7. by   YoungRN06
    I understand how you feel, you have to be assertive and know how to effectively delegate so your job could be somewhat satisfying. I believe med-surg is one of the busiest areas of nursing I'm seriously thinking about transferring to L&d or maybe an OB/GYN clinic.
  8. by   TheCommuter
    I've been seriously pondering a switch to night shift, so as to escape the interruptions, visitors, rounding doctors, PTs, OTs, dietary people, social workers, managers, and abusive family members. I can deal with needy patients, but these other people and their demands are enough to push a sane person over the edge.

    Seriously...I'm sick and tired right now. I'm merely trying to make it to my 2 year anniversary in February before I make any rash moves.
  9. by   NursePaula
    I am not sure what area of the country that you work in but California now has laws saying 5 pt per nurse on Med/Surg. I live in Northern California and have found a wonderful place to work in Redding. We have a secretary, an aide (that is honestly spread a little thin, some of ours better then others), and a charge nurse dedicated just to our post surgical floor. I can not remember a time that I did not get my 30 minute lunch and at least 1, and usually 2 of my 15 minute breaks. And sometimes (50% of the time) all 3 of the breaks.

    I worked in another hospital nearby and this was not the case...but that is another story. Our floor has 36 beds, and yes most days I run my tail off. But hardly a day doesn't go by that a co-worker doesn't ask if I need help!!! Their is a saying on our floor...."If your patient goes bad, he no longer has 1 nurse but rather 5 nurses!" We also have Rapid Response, Shock Alert, STEMI alert, Code Blue, and one other that I am not thinking of right now. The Medical Director stands behind us, and the Charge nurse and Nurse Manager (who by the way worked 15 years on the floor and gets it) are always available. Our nurse manager has made sure that all her nurses know how to contact her 24/7.

    Hang in there, there are better places, If you want to relocate I can highly recommend a great place to work....plus it is beautiful here....

    take care,
    Paula
  10. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from NursePaula
    I am not sure what area of the country that you work in but California now has laws saying 5 pt per nurse on Med/Surg.
    California is the only state with ratio laws for nurses who are employed in acute care facilities. The remaining 49 states of the union do not have any ratio laws whatsoever. Relocating is easier said than done, especially when an individual is settled in life.
  11. by   Miss Mab
    Quote from RN1989
    I wish every nursing school was so forthcoming. It would weed out applicants a lot faster so that only the truly brave hearted souls that could stick it out for the long haul would be going to nursing school. It would cause some hardship in the workforce at first but after a while the turnover would be lower and we might actually make some headway with nursing and our healthcare system.
    I hate to disagree with you, on separate posts even, but I really don't think this tactic would do much toward making headway for nursing as a whole.

    Somehow I think those brave hearted souls who "could stick it out" and not instead flee from the current conditions many of us face today are not the kind of folks who are going to be big advocates for change or the advancement of nursing.

    There's no medal at the end of all this for being the last one standing.

    Edited to add that California has been very good to me. I always say I don't know HOW you all do it out there--and for sometimes such insulting pay. Also, everytime this comes up people point out that w/the ratios you lose UAP but, at least in my experience, that really hasn't been the case. Overall I think you'd be hard pressed to find many who wish to go back to the way it was before. But I'm sure someone will say so
    Last edit by Miss Mab on Dec 20, '07
  12. by   Ms Kylee
    Quote from Kendel
    when the pts need to be cleaned up and you try to find a nurses aide, they disappear so I clean up the pts my self.
    Gee, we're easy to find... just look for the closed doors. 99.9% of the time we're in a room doing patient care.

    My problem is when I need a nurse to report abnormal vitals, patient needs meds, etc. I can't find the nurses...
  13. by   marie-francoise
    I'm in nursing school and I'm trying to view post-graduation with open eyes - and I'm scared! I'm scared because I believe I DO view hospital nursing realistically.

    Nursing schools' not making students aware of the case load is not the primary problem here (although it is a problem, of course!).

    The real problem is the case loads themselves. (and all the other problems attendant to bedside nursing today) Bedside nursing seems to have deteriorated over the past decade, and from what I hear about other countries, including developed ones, it's even worse there....

    And it disturbs me that med/surg is increasingly considered the type of nursing to get out of (although I'd probably do the same thing - i.e., get out of it!), because med/surg is the "bread and butter" of hospital care, not to mention an excellent training ground for honing nursing skills.

    If med/surg is hell to work in, will there be any bedside med/surg RN's left in a couple of years who are not 1) from a foreign country, 2) just graduated, or 3) have no choice but to stay at bedside? I dunno.

    I do know, though, that we need bedside nurses and that, at this point, I'm looking at post-graduation and feeling not a little dread.
  14. by   ebear
    I do agree with RN1989's post (and usually do on ALL of them). Perhaps it is the nurses who have been in this profession for yrs (and know the difference in the healthcare system) who seem to be less understanding. We know how it "used to be", so we see things that newer nurses don't even realize. BTW, "how it used to be" wasn't all bad, either.
    ebear

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