Has anyone else read the Chicken Soup for the Soul books? I have read 3 and they are wonderful and I think that a Chicken Soup for Nurses would be great! (I don't think they already have one...)
I sent the following letter via their website and plan to submit one of my stories which has helped me to remain a compassionate, caring nurse despite conditions... That is the kind of thing that will help to see us through these difficult times and I am going to post to this effect on the BB's I frequent.
Won't you share and submit YOUR story? It will help us and the non-nurses of the world to remember what we are about- CARING!
"To the editors, writers and creators,
First, I want to thank you for all of the "heart" work that has gone, and is still going into, creating these Chicken Soup for the Soul books!!!
My children got me two Chicken Soup books for Christmas- for the Mother's Soul and for the Parent's Soul- I love them and have shared them with MY mom (who got for the Christian's Soul- I liked that one too)! My husband requested a for the Writer's Soul book and his mother and he treasure that. Thank you so much! These stories have helped us all to remember to stop and cherish the wonderful, all to brief, moments of parenthood and of life in general; which has led me to be more appreciative of ALL of the people and moments in my life. Including my patients and my co-workers.
I forgot to mention, I am a nurse.
I can tell you that we (RN's, LPN's, CNA's, advanced practice- the care givers), as a whole, are becoming weary and dispirited.... This so-called "crisis in health care" is not a new or a soon-to-happen thing.... it has been progressing to the critical point it is at today, for several years.
If you have occasion to "surf the net", get on the discussion boards at Allnurses.com or NursingSpectrum.com or the Million Nurse March sites (to name a few) and you will see that we are valiantly attempting to hold ourselves together collectively so that we can continue to ATTEMPT to give the kind of quality care...NO, attempt to give ANY care...to our patients and their families. Care that they deserve, care that they pay for and care that we LOVE to give...CARE that is the reason we went into nursing!
There are some truly wonderful stories being told to help bolster the spirits of those who feel exhausted and hopeless after the days when you leave, after many hours of overtime, and cannot say that you made a difference to anyone- not one person (except maybe an administrator somewhere-not gratifying- also, in our darkest hours-questionably people). Days when you cannot say that you were able to hold someone's hand and listen, ease someone's pain, or allow someone to pass on with dignity. Days when you were not able to give someone the information they need to make an informed decision, ensure a warm bath and clean sheets, get the extra snack, talk to the loved one who needs someone to do just that, or do proper discharge teaching. Some of the "old timers", as they call themselves, are sharing their memories of how things used to be... and it tells a SAD story to see the differences between then and now...Technology is great, but if we are not allowed to do our job, to care for people, nurses will become like the Tin Man- and need a heart!
On second thought, maybe the people who need a for the Soul book are the decision makers: the administrators and the money managers of the HMO's, the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies, and the large health care corporations...Maybe it would help them to make better decisions if they could read true stories from patients and nurses and "see" for themselves that all we want to do is be allowed to do our job, to give thorough, quality care and that that care DOES make a difference to patients.
All health care workers need some "bolstering" right now! But I mostly speak for nursing (being a nurse and all) and I have to say, nurses are in a unique position. No one else, no other discipline, is involved in every aspect of care like nurses are.
Nurses give direct patient care. We are the ones that see the patients, and their families, cry; that must explain why they can't have more pain medicine, why we cannot save their loved one and why they cannot stay until they feel better. We are the ones the patient's and their families yell at when they are upset, the ones wiping bottoms, holding the emesis basin (or being thrown up on) and sometimes being hit, kicked and bit (by the way, dentures really ARE like real teeth and Polygrip really DOES work!). We are expected to clean when there isn't enough housekeeping staff, to pass out food when there isn't enough dietary staff, to mediate between family members, straighten out insurance issues and make discharge plans when there are no social workers or care managers and to answer the phones when there are not enough unit secretaries. Not to mention the "standard duties" we perform.
Nurses are at the bedside the most and thus are in the "line of fire" when the "you-know-what hits the fan" (this fan thing happens on a " secondly" -as opposed to daily or hourly-basis many days!) ... We just clean up and keep going...because we WANT to help people, to take CARE of people, to be the "light at the end of the tunnel" and help them to have hope...
You see we really do CARE and we really do TRY-but we don't have much to work with anymore....
So, could you please consider doing a book about Nurses (collectively, as mentioned above), Patients, and/or other Health Care Workers? At this point in time WE need someone to be the light at the end of OUR tunnel- it looks pretty dark right now....
Christina LaMarche RN, BSN"
Jan 25, '01
What a great idea! I've read about 10 of the "Chicken Soup" books myself and would love to see one for health care workers. If you like reading books like that another series is the "Small Miracle" books.
Jan 25, '01
Sounds like an EXCELLENT idea. I've been in the health care field since I was 13 (Candy Striper, hospital housekeeping, student nurse tech, RN)and as much as I love the profession I don't like where it is going and what it is doing to it's devoted members. We need to find inspiration and support from each other and work to push to resolve growing problems in the field.
With over 1 million nurses in this country, we have the strength in numbers to make changes, but unfortunately nurses tend to whine and attack each other instead of doing something to make a difference.
How many of you out there are members of the ANA? This organization may be our only hope of getting noticed through lobbying efforts in DC and force changes to occur. If you don't keep up with the efforts of the ANA you need to, I've learned much from reading the bi-monthly publication, The American Nurse, and look forward to when I have more time to devote to my state organization.
We need to support each other, and a Nursing Chicken Soup book at the end of rotten day may be a God-send, but we need to collectively support our profession in constructive ways. Sitting around complaining about working conditions on a website isn't going to get us anywhere! (even though everyone needs to ***** to someone who has been there, done that!)