So long Nursing

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    So long nursing...it's been real and I've learned alot. I'm 48 now and I started all this when I was 27. My feet are flat now...no arches from all the steps I've taken in 21 years. The disc's in my back are bulging according to the MRI I had because of my numb left leg. I loved being a nurse...I felt ten feet tall when my kids would say..."My mommy's a nurse." But you know it was all so different then. In my first job at a nursing home(they call it LTC now) I loved to sit and listen to the stories my patients told me about when they were young. Used to be the afternoon med pass was about one half hour long and I would be able to listen to them while i did my charting. But somehow through the years it all changed. The last nursing home I worked in, I was lucky to get done by the time I was supposed to go home. No time to visit, no time to show them how much you care...just give the pills, do the treatments and hope you can get done. I've done high tech pediaric home care for the last few years, but I missed the facilities. Tried going back to hospital nursing last year, what a joke. Supper? a break? Loved my patients...but it had all changed. No more time to hold a hand...comfort a lonely patient...or just listen like we used to. Not giving up...just giving in. Hope all you young ones with the hopes and ideals that we all had can change somethings. Take back the real reason we all became involved in the first place. Tell all the CEO's that caring and hope can't be bought, and profits have no place in the wonder of healing, and the touch of a nurse on a worried patients hand is something that can't be duplicated. That you need time to be able to listen and sit down when someone says,"I'm scared about tomorrow, won't you sit and talk with me awhile?" I guess I'm not strong enough...my feet hurt too much, and my back hurts every day when I get home. But the thing that hurts the most is my heart that was so excited and beating out of my chest that first day when I put on my white uniform and cap and went to work the first time with a nametag that said I was a nurse. It's a desk job for me...sort of social work. So you guys carry on...make a difference...like I tried to. Good Luck to you all...bye.

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    You want to make a difference still? Write some of what you posted here to every congressperson, talk show host and news station you can think of. Let them know why after 21 years of dedicated service, you must leave nursing. You can still make it better for that frightened patient out there.....
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    Dear realnurse/lpn...
    So what now.?
    What are your plans for the future?
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    sj.

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    Dear Realnurse, listening to you is like hearing myself a year ago. I left nursing one year ago this month saying the same things you are saying. You however do not sound depressed and angry and I am glad at that. I do an occasional shift in a LTC facility because I miss seeing patients. It appears that most nurses around age 50 are throwing in the towel these days, I know some nurses as young as 40 who say they had to leave cause they could not keep up. It is odd that I have never once read anything that addresses the problem. It seems that managment has the attitude that if you cannot keep up just get out. Educators just keep talking about attracting new people to the profession. Why, so they can be chewed up and spit out to??? WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT BRINGING OLDER NURSES BACK TO THE PROFESSION as a temporary way of addressing the shortage? Probably for the same reason most places are not raising wages and benefits. Keeping staffing tight and working the staff you have to death makes for a good bottom line.
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    I have also come to the long thought out decision to leave nursing. I will be going back to school and learning for a new profession. I can no longer give to a field that expects me to put the needs of the hospital above the needs of my family. I have thought for a long time, and always found reasons to stay. Last week my husband became ill, and I needed to urgently leave work to take him to the hospital. The nurse manager asked me to find someone else to take him, as we were already down 2 nurses. I told him the only thing I could do would be to call him an ambulance, but I would still need to leave. We don't have anyone here, as we just relocated. When I gave them 24+ hours notice I would need to leave early to pick him up from the hospital I was reminded of the shortage, and could I just "drop him off at home", and "do you really need to be there for diabetic teaching". Somehow I was supposed to feel guilty for taking care of my family. I can't do this job anymore. I'm done, I'm finished. I'm not coming back.
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    Originally posted by snickers:
    Dear realnurse/lpn...
    So what now.?
    What are your plans for the future?
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    sj.

    Dear Snickers, My new title will be service coordinator. I am going to work at a child and family services agency. Visit people in their homes and facilitate support groups to encourage people to join the working world. These are people who are in their last year of social services support in my state. Remember the mandate that people can only recieve social services for 5yrs.? Well the people I will be working with have recieved services 4yrs. I want to thank all the people who wrote such nice things to me. I cried last night when I wrote my post, felt like I was leaving part of me behind. So I guess I will be trading backaches for headaches, but at least I will have time to listen.

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    I don't know whether at 31 I am an older nurse but I've been nursing for 10 years. I now have a desk job trying to improve recruitment and retention practices. I used to love nursing and especially ER nursing and it made me really sad when I realised that the debit column far outweighed the credit coloumn. I was sick of being spat on, punched, told to work overtime cause they can't get anyone else, treated like an idiot by medical staff (ie being told by a junior doc that the yellow in the urine was bilirubin despite the fact I had been introduced to her as the clinical nurse consultant in teh ER well d'oh), explaing to patients why theer was no bed out of the ER since the hospital was full and dealing with relatives who believed that since it was a public hospital 'I pay your wages with my taxes and you have to do what I say'. It got to the point where I didn't want to be the person responsible for telling a woman her husband had died and then not have time to sit and talk with her in her time of grief 'cause there is too many patienst and too few staff for me to stop working. I really undersatnd how realnursealso/LPN feels when there is no longer time to talk to patients only to give meds and take obs then there is no more pluses to out do the minuses.

    Reading some of the posts on the BB I wish I still had the enthusiasim of many of teh fine nurses here who still love their work and continue to fight to make a difference for their patients under some extremely difficult patients. Thank you for your continuing the fight since you are the people I want looking after my friends and family.

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    Realnurse

    Your comments touched my soul. The powers that be realized some years ago that patients recovered better when they were allowed more support from their family. But what of recovery rates when patients were allowed more support- TLC - from their nursing caregivers? And what about the patients that have little or no family to come to the hospital? Who is able to lend them emotional support now? Most likely no one. It's truly sad that invaluable "emotional care" has been devalued due to the time pressures, personnel shortages, and the big $$ crunch in general.
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    Dear Realnurse and all real nurses,
    You did make a difference. I have seen it happen. Those of us who can continue will. And we will mourn our fallen. We will make heroes of you, and hope someday, when we can no longer carry the fight, those who follow will see what we have done and treat us kindly as well.
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    It's a bit of a shock, I would think, that after you get your war wounds and work-related health problems, you find out that not only were you not that important to the hospital, you are disposable. All that loyalty is wasted it seems. I don't think there is any recycling of older nurses, because for one thing they are aware of what's going on with the bottom line and patient neglect. Of course, this is called, "negative". So they keep a few new nurses until they can't deal with the truths either. I think it's a crime that good nurses who loved their work have to leave for these reasons....


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