Taking it personal at work

  1. I floated tonight to what is considered almost a "sister" floor, and it's one of my favorite floors in the entire hospital. The staff were very nice, but I had another one of THOSE nights where you don't get a break whatsever (not even the 5 minute eat & run) and an additional 1 hour O.T.

    Without going into details, I feel like the amount of care that some of my patients required was almost close to 1:1. And I had some pt's family micromanaging everything, and needing me Q 10 minutes!Other patients felt I hadn't "seen them all night" (was in with that patient at least 6 times, but not for long periods).

    I did some venting in private to coworkers to let off steam. It helped a bit. But, I take it very personally when I am giving 110% and all I hear is complaints. It really wears me down!

    I have always been a "sensitive" person (which can be a strength at times, mind you). But, I can't help but take this unfair staffing personally! I mean, I ran my as* off tonight! I gave good, professional care. You would have been glad to "follow" behind my group. I knew basically what was going on, and I addressed all the important concerns as best I could. But it was hectic! I gave 7 prns to one patient alone. I kept getting multiple messages from CNAs and unit secretaries that patient in room XYZ called 3 times asking for "PDQ." I was running the whole &^*@$#! night.

    After finishing my 1 hour OT to wrap up the charting I never got to do (and coasting on fumes from my last meal 10 hours prior), I saw another RN finsihing up her charting. I guess I was not alone.

    She said something about how "this unit needs its matrix changed." Well, gosh darn, I haven't been to a floor yet that had a decent matrix!

    I feel, bottom line, that I gave GOOD care tonight. But I feel angry that I had to sacrifice my breaks and stay OT to do it. I am sick of seeing this in nursing!!!!!!! I have no idea how some of our veteran RNs can put up with it. I know some of you even have worse staffing than I do.... but the fact is that patients complained that I wasn't "quick enough" and the call lights were ablazing everytime I turned around! I gave 110% and I feel like DIRT!!!!!!!!! Days like this I feel like big huge doormat!
    I know I am just taking it personal, but I would love to hear how anyone else deals with these feelings. I wish my patients had one clue about how HARD I worked for their safety and how MUCH I take their concerns to heart! I would LOVE to have something positive to show for all that hard work!!!

    Thanks for listening. Tomorrow is another day.
    Last edit by Genista on Feb 23, '03
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   Stargazer
    Originally posted by kona2
    I would love to hear how anyone else deals with these feelings.
    After 6 months of shifts exactly like this, with no improvement in sight, crying on the drive home because I was so stressed out, I quit. Took a significant pay cut in order to take a job that was much more fun and with much less stress.

    Maybe tonight was an aberrancy and you're just venting, which is fine. But if you find it's becoming a pattern--which your post seems to indicate--remember that you DO have options. If you're starting to get extra-crispy around the edges, perhaps it's time to start considering them. Take care of you first. :kiss
  4. by   RNforLongTime
    I work in an adult ICU. We are so short staffed. It's not even funny. Three pt assignments are becoming the norm. If I ever feel as though I am jeoporadizing my license then I will find another job asap. My license is my livelihood.
  5. by   SandyB
    kona2,
    Sounds like the hospital I USED to work for. In CA too. My old hospital just went union last week...maybe if things improve I would go back. But they really used to scare me. I took care of me and quit.
    Stargazer said it well "Take care of you!"
  6. by   CraftyLPN
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Stargazer
    [B], with no improvement in sight, crying on the drive home because I was so stressed out, I quit. Took a significant pay cut in order to take a job that was much more fun and with much less stress.

    There were more times than not that I would also come home crying...Sorry to say, I also quit my job @LTC..I just couldn't handle the stress and some of the other things that were going on...But good news is.. I work in HH now.. and make more than when I was stressin'!!
  7. by   Tweety
    I know how you feel. Been there 100000001 times. Don't know why I keep doing it or why. Seems 110% isn't good enough.

    But when I give 110% (I eat on the run, I refuse to sacrifice food, I'll perhaps give up breaks, but I see to it that I eat), I usually wind up feeling pretty good about myself. I love working hard, I love making a difference.

    Until someone complains, then I get sensitive and hurt. Dammit I gave 110% can't anyone see that!

    Best wishes. Thanks for sharing.
  8. by   sjoe
    My suggestions:
    1) an assertiveness training course, and
    2) learning to set and maintain limits
    Last edit by sjoe on Feb 23, '03
  9. by   NurseGirlKaren
    Where would one find out about an assertiveness training course? I have had an interest in taking one but haven't seen one listed in the local community college handout, hospital education center, or city adult education brochure.
  10. by   whipping girl in 07
    I took an assertiveness training course in college (easy A to better my GPA ).

    It was listed under "Health" classes and since it was only six weeks, it was listed in the racing form as a seminar with assertiveness training in parentheses.

    Hope this helps you. The class actually did help me, although when I took Therapeutic Communication in nursing school, we talked about assertive vs. agressive vs. passive. About the only thing I remember from that class.
  11. by   sjoe
    There are a lot of possibilities:

    1) call any college or university psych dept, any women's center, or any counseling center nearby and ask for some suggestions for local courses

    2) check out the self-help section of any large bookstore or of your library and take a look at the reference section in the back of some of these books

    3) take a look at these books:
    a) Nobody's Victim
    b) Don't Say Yes When You Want to Say No
    c) Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
    d) Effectiveness Training for Women

    4) do a google search for appropriate classes/courses in your area.

    You will find an abundance of opportunities from which to select.
  12. by   NurseGirlKaren
    Thanks for your suggestions.
  13. by   Genista
    Yes, thank you all who responded. As luck would have it, I was back on my home floor the next night, had a great group and a good night (still some OT, but oh well). I'm currently in college for a career change, since I am feeling burned out with nursing and feel I need a break. But, I still have bills to pay until I'm done with my new degree/training and land a new job. So, I need to somehow cope while still working as a staff RN.

    I could definately use some more assertiveness training! Thanks for the advice on that one. (I might bring that up to our union as an idea for a class & some CEUs). It would help if my hospital quit with the &*^$#@ Press Ganeys (customer service polls) and all that B.S. that goes with it. I give absolutely 110%, so I DO take it very personal when I am set up to fail. And while an assertiveness training class might help me personally to deal with these types of interactions, I still think that working in the current hospital environment will make patient complaints a recurring theme for nurses everywhere.

    It is so frustrating as you well know, to be taught how to delegate in nursing school, but in reality, you can't find anyone to delegate to! Everyone is too busy! And we are always "short" of staff, supplies and time. So, who does it fall to but me, the RN? I am the jack of all trades, and it does get old shouldering the burden.

    Someday maybe the hospitals will wise up and realize that we nurses know what we are talking about. We need more staff and more resources, to do our job properly. Many of us are getting crispy in these working conditions!

    Thanks for the advice & feedback! :roll
    I appreciate the suggestions.

    PS- I will plan on checking out some of those book titles. I am a book-aholic! Amazon.com knows me on a first name basis! LOL! The "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway" I already have, and is one of the inspirations for me pursuing a new career.
    Last edit by Genista on Feb 25, '03
  14. by   judy ann
    I just finished an excellent book dealing with this subject--Zapping Conflict in the Healthcare Field--Dr Judith Brioles. She talks about the conflict between administration/management and staff and how it might be affected in a positive way. When I started the book, my neck got sore from nodding my agreement!

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