Nurses to The People: we did not fail you, you failed us.

  1. Hey all: here is my humble opinion about the sad state of nursing affairs today and the direction it appears to be heading in the years to come. Feel free to leave your own ideas and opinions on this post.

    Dear Boards of Nursing, Nursing Schools, Goverment Regulatory Agencies, Law Enforcement and The General Public,

    Nurses have not failed you, you have failed nurses.

    Let's start from the beginning; it takes a special person to decide to dedicate their lives to others. Nursing calls a special group of persons to the profession: people who will spend years in school, many late night studying hours, passing exams, meeting requirements and learning about NEXT TO everything with regards to helping and healing. Out of school, new nurses all pass a federally-regulated board exam gauranteeing that they possess the minimum knowledge necessary to carry out nursing duties. At their first job, new nurses pick up extra shifts, obtain certifications, stay late and work themselves to death. Older nurses are forced to work back-breaking jobs late into retirement age because they lost everything in a stock market crash. Throughout the course of a career nurses will work against impossible ratios, the addition of new tasks and requirements for charting, care for even sicker patients but with less autonomy. Nurses will face horizontal and vertical violence, be disrespected by patients and families alike, and can no longer feel safe and protected at work (Utah nurse, Dartmouth-Hitchcock). Many will leave the profession, others will be injured to the extent that they can never work again. Still other nurses may destroy their home lives, turn to addiction or burn-out and give up on safe nursing care. State Boards of Nursing will face a serious nursing shortage lightly, giving nursing schools and nursing educators little incentive to beef up enrollment and (on the flip side) allow employers to mandate unreasonable hours that almost gaurantee nurses will make mistakes-- only to be penalized for them. Nurses themselves will become exhausted, snappy and careless versions of the bright-eyed, loving and gentle souls they once were because we didn't fail you, you failed us.

    Thank you for reading.
    Last edit by Brian S. on Sep 22
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  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   dirtyhippiegirl
    While I agree with some of your points, this seems a bit hyperbolic.
  4. by   Euro_Sepsis
    Save this knee-jerk e-card crap for Facebook. The premise is flawed. Who's saying "nurses have failed us"? Doctors in residency work longer hours, study harder and deeper for far less pay than a new grad. Yet they plug along like little professionals.
  5. by   roser13
    This reminds me of a "nursing is a calling, not a job" way of thinking. Of which I strongly disagree.

    Nurses are not saints battling every injustice known to man. Neither are they self-denying "bright-eyed, loving & gentle souls."

    They are educated professionals who go to work every day and do the best they can with what they have. Just like many, many other folks in many, many other profession.
  6. by   elkpark
    I am always put off by the notion that nurses endure some special level of suffering and are somehow special because of that. People in lots of different occupations and professions work hard in school, pass rigorous licensure exams, work long hours under arduous conditions, etc., etc. And they don't feel sorry for themselves or whine about it. No one is being forced to be a nurse. If the conditions are really unacceptable, there are plenty of other occupations people can pursue.
  7. by   Emergent
    I'm always surprised at the poor writing of people on this site. I really think paragraphs are crucial to presenting concepts in a digestible format.

    If you are using speech recognition, you can use the phrase "new paragraph" to make a space between the paragraphs.

    Each paragraph should be a small essay in itself regarding one of your sub-topics.

    From what I did read I think you are playing the victim role. We are lucky to live in the United States and have good paying jobs. I find nursing interesting, and you need a little creativity to get around all the hogwash within the healthcare industry.
  8. by   JKL33
    Personally I reject both (of what I belive are) extremes: The Martyr and the Suck It Up, Buttercup.

    Neither are an answer to anything.

    ETA: Changed my mind. Suck It Up may be an answer to quite a few things in life, actually. But not the more serious problems that crop up in our profession.
  9. by   brownbook
    Us old nurses cannot read long posts that don't have paragraphs.

    I had to stop after reading after "a special group of persons to the profession: people who will spend years in school, many late night studying hours, passing exams, meeting requirements and learning about NEXT TO everything with regards to helping and healing." Which I don't agree with.

    But I couldn't read the rest of your post to find out if you had a valid reason for your premise. My old eyes got too tired.

    PS My response has a lot of paragraphs. I know they are not grammatically, how to write a paper, the correct "element of style" for making paragraphs. But it does make a post a lot easier to read.
  10. by   sevensonnets
    Well as for me, I'm still the bright eyed gentle loving soul I was 38 years ago.
  11. by   Here.I.Stand
    Speaking for myself here, but I don't stay late, work extra shifts, destroy my home life, abuse drugs. I don't work for employers who do mandate extra hours (yes, in interviews I ask under what circumstances they consider mandatory OT acceptable), I take my lunch a good 95% of the time... and I CERTAINLY don't "work myself to death."

    Nursing is a large part of my identity, BUT I maintain firm enough boundaries so that work doesn't over-encroach on my self. It seems to be working for me, as I have a very good relationship with my job -- I love it, even.
  12. by   llg
    I started to gag right after ... "it takes a special person...."

    1. I am thinking of all the rescue workers aiding all the disaster workers right now. I don't hear them whining.
    2. Nurses need to take responsibility for their own personal and professional decisions. Stop playing the victim!
  13. by   TriciaJ
    Quote from sevensonnets
    Well as for me, I'm still the bright eyed gentle loving soul I was 38 years ago.
    I had to go back and finish wading through the wall of text to see if that expression was actually in there. Thanks for that.
  14. by   pixierose
    When I was a teacher, drivel such as this circulated the breakroom.

    I side eyed it then just as I'm side eying this now.

    When I became a nurse 6 short months ago, I did not become a martyr. I rarely stay later than 20 minutes past my shift, I pick up OT when I want to, and definitely make sure I take some form of dinner break. I'm certainly not going to "work myself to death" nor "destroy my home life."

    Why? Because it's a dang JOB. I enjoy it most of the time, but it's not my entire life. I'm lucky that I can bounce from being a preK-5 teacher to a nurse; it's not a "calling," I'm not a "special person," just merely employed. A part of my identity? Yes. But a very small one.

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