I started reading posts from all over the internet regarding the issues and feelings of nurses from every area of the country, every area of the profession, from the new grads to the seasoned nurses who have seen it all. I am dismayed at the betrayal from the public, the hospitals, including our supervisors and administration, and the physicians that in order to save their own face blame their failures on the nurses.
I became a nurse over 10 years ago, I still remember the excitement I felt when I found I had passed my boards. I was really going to make a difference, I truely wanted to take care of my patients in every aspect, from hugging a crying man afraid of death and feeling him go limp in my arms, to crying for joy when the birth of a new life unfolded write before my eyes. I too worked long hours without breaks, got home to realize it was the first time all day that I went to the restroom...or eaten. But I did it without complaint, like so many others, we instead were thinking about the patient and how they were doing or if we finished everything....
In the past ten years I have never had a patient complaint, or been written up, I was even awarded "Nurse of the year" not because I'm this great nurse, but because of my attitude, my willingness to give 110% to my patients and I really cared. In my eyes we all deserve that award and many more.
But, after reading the lastest news reports and seeing first hand nurses being put on the line to save another one of the many faces that control our healthcare system, I must admit I feel defeated, hurt and angry!
The only way we can make a difference is to stand up, not alone but together. How do you think the patients will look at us now after reading the same articles we have just read? And we thought we had it bad before......
I feel betrayed by the hospiatals, administration (most have been nurses on the front line before) and the very people who are supposed to be there to support us...all the associations that collect are yearly dues.....I have not heard one of them speak out for us...and the state nursing boards...they claim that they are their to protect the patient, to keep them safe, do they not see that the issues being discussed, hospital cost cutting, short staffing, etc, etc.....are what will keep the patient safe? Again it is blamed on the nurse....well my friends, I wish each in everyone of you luck, as for me....I've marched up and down those long halls, and change is and will be the longest hall of all. I will always be a nurse in my heart, no one can take that away from me, but I have to say the search for a new career is on. Wish me luck....and may God Bless you all.....sammy
Sep 21, '00
I wish you the best of luck. I, too, am leaving a 12 year career as an RN, for reasons similar to the ones you have mentioned as well as more personal ones - no time/energy for family after long, inflexible shifts, desire for self-employment, and (ahem!) to get away from working with people. Funny how things change. I went into nursing school at 18 because I wanted to help people, but here's the catch: people don't want to be helped. In the ED, we spend an exorbitant amount of time and energy trying to save people from themselves. It is their poor choices in lifestyle that brings them to us. Now administrations have taken on that idea that the patient is the "customer" and that the "customer is always right". Um, excuse me, but I am there to give the patient what is needed, not necessarily what is wanted. It is a hospital, not a hotel. I am a professional nurse, not a glorified waitress. I am continuing to work full time in nursing while I go back to college full time for a degree in another, completely unrelated field that I believe will lead to a high degree of personal satisfaction (not to mention a more comfortable living) and certainly more flexibility in my working hours. I am a divorced mother, and my children do not live with me simply due to my long, irregular hours. I have to change that. But in nursing, 24/7 is the only thing that pays the bills. Healthcare facilities want to own the nurse, requiring attendance at "mandatory staff meetings" on off days and on only a day's notice. Forgive me for wanting some quality in my life. I think there is a misinterpretation of what a nurse should be - this idea that s/he should be willing to sacrifice all for the sake of the profession is a very codependent type of attitude. I hope that you can find what it is you are looking for. Best of luck to you.
Sep 23, '00
I am very proud of you. According to your post, you are the epitomy of what I feel that a nurse should strive to be. Yes, you gave it your all and was exploited and betrayed. But, depending on your spiritual beliefs, you can decide that your experience was your fate; people who needed your services got positive results from it; you are the wiser for it; and now it is time to move on to bigger and better things. I don't necessarily feel betrayed. I just feel unduly exploited. Unfortunately, that is par for the course in the work world, particularly in today's times. I come from a background where I was taught a very strong work ethic that encouraged hard work and the belief "no pain, no gain." That no longer holds true as the mantra for today is "work smarter, not harder." I am now in pursuit of that mode, because indeed the pace of life today, especially the work world, dictates that I try to preserve as much of myself as I can so that I can enjoy some of life's offerings. However, the new mantra does not diminish the fact that most health and medical care consumers still expect TLC from the nursing profession. In addition, due to the health and medical care's codependent relationship with large profit$$$ thus high productivity, businesses (or people even) target people like you and me who seem to care or have high work ethics to establish codependent relationships for their own benefit. When people like you decide to leave, it hurts. It exposes the undergirdings of the system. With the U.S. employment rate being low at this time, it is particularly hard for employers to find quality workers. They are having to settle on what they can get or keep. I'm still in nursing at the bedside in home health. Years ago, I decided that I would not sit in any one setting or position long enough to sustain excessive damage to my self-esteem and self-respect; I would not have my spirit broken. I feel confident that I have the academic education, strong work record, knowledge, years of experience in various clinical settings, and the desire for life long learning that would allow me to easily transfer out of direct patient care when I am ready. Best wishes, and God Bless you.
Oct 3, '00
sammy, It gave me chills to read exactly what I've been feeling. I have only been in the profession for 6 years and have posted my most recent experience under "Floored by unemployment". I have just recently started feeling that I CAN"T save everyone, I CAN"T make a difference, I have NO RIGHT to speak out for my patients or myself. We have all been trained to be patient advocates. Who will advocate for us? We should all come together to tell the public exactly what is happening and how they are being decieved. Sadly nurses have no will or cohesiveness to come together. Most of say we should but there seems little possability of finding a way to reach all. Then there are the ones who would just rather be quiet and get along as I had to learn about the hard way. How many of us have been forced out or willingly left the profession, yes profession, due to recent shortage and cut backs? Washington stat just approved a two year trial program for home health. Any Joe off the street can be trained by a patient and payed any agreed upon sum to care for them in the home. How many have to die before we are asked "What's happening?"! We truly are the front line. We see what is happening. We know. Why does it go on!? Confused and heartsick. cannie
Oct 3, '00
Sammy, you put that better than anything I have written on this board, I actually got teary-eyed. It sums up the exact reason I have left the profession. I want badly for the march to be successful and I want to work for it to be, I don't know if it will or not. I wish the american public could look into the soul of nurses who have given everything that they have to give, so they could understand, truly, what is happening. It has taken me a long time just to make my mom understand. She could not understand why I would leave behind what she thought was a great career, until I read her some of the posting on this board. Now she supports my decision too. But, you know what? I miss it, probably always will. It makes me angry that I feel this is what is necessary to save my own self, to be able to have a decent family life. I would go back to it in a minute if things would change. But I know that will be a long haul. I am 37, not old, but not young anymore either, how long before that change can take place? How many more nurses will leave in the meantime? So sad.