Truly sad- please read and consider

  1. I feel so sad and scared to read that yet another person who was leaning towards the field of nursing has chosen to leave (see post under medical school by iwant2Banurse). I mean, here's a person who is actually seeking out firsthand information from nurses in the field. When she finds a board such as this, she is bombarded with negative messages about nursing. I don't know..I'm so frustrated right now. I'm finishing school myself and excited to be joining the field. But I wonder how many people are going to be ran out of the field by all of this? Are we somehow making it worse? I totally support the notion of venting. I believe that it is helpful, and for a lot of people they don't have other places they can safely vent. But I just really worry about our profession and what impact we may be having on it. Most nurses are over 40,50 presently and, as most of us know, there aren't enough of us to fill in for those who will leave the field. I guess I worry about keeping those with nursing in their hearts interested in the career, in light of the present situations. Certainly veteran nurses should be encouraged to stay, but we have to have some forward thinking on this and realize the impact on all of our loved ones, truly on society itself if there are not enough nurses to go around in the near future. I've asked on many different boards at this very site "What, as a new nurse, can I do to make a difference?" I get basically no replies. I don't understand this.

    I sincerely appreciate those of you who choose to share positive stories. They are invaluable and remind me of why I chose this profession in the first place. But I feel like lately I'm just drowning in others negativity towards nursing and don't know what to do with regard to this situation.

    I implore you seasoned nurses to search your hearts and minds and think: what can you do to keep new nurses and students interested in the profession? What can they do to help the overall picture as well? I know that there are many intelligent individuals who frequent this board. I invite you to really share any thoughtful input on these issues.

    Thank you,
    Shannon

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    "The highest reward for man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it."-Johan Ruskin
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  2. 42 Comments

  3. by   Zee_RN
    I believe it IS important for 'wannabe-nurses' to know what they are getting themselves into. And for them to search their hearts as to what they really want to do. I love being a nurse. I hate what has happened to nursing. Nursing today is like nursing a hundred years ago...you gotta look at it like a 'mission field.' If you don't have a calling, don't go. It's not the place to go to make money or a name for yourself. While some patients will love you and call you their 'angel of mercy,' others will revile you (think of those alcoholic pancreatitis patients who throw things across the room). You put your own health on the line (your back, your varicose veins from never sitting down, your exposure to infectious disease). Rotating shifts mess with your state of mind and interfere with your 'real life.' Management just plain doesn't care. You ARE in the trenches...you need to know if that's where you really want to be. And so do prospective nurses.
  4. by   soundsLikesirens
    I totally agree. I love nursing. And no one is going to make me feel guilty for venting...that's very little, for what we put up with. Everywhere we are bombarded with the "guilt" mentality - even here! See what I mean...this is our board to vent on, and someone comes here and has a fit because they don't like the way it sounds.....hey, news flash: you aren't going to like the way alot of things will be sounding soon, so get used to it.
    Sorry, but if you don't like what is said here, then do whatever you need to...but don't try to make us feel bad because we are coming here and venting our VERY REAL frustrations...the first thing I heard last night when I went to work was that the other 2 RNs had called in. Between 2:30pm and 7:00pm, we got 9 admissions..and it didn't stop there.....then the House Supervisor comes down and just cannot figure out why some things aren't getting down soon enough!!!!!!.......HELLO........the beds don't even cool off after one's discharged before they send another one.....for some reason, they always fill our floor up before they send admissions anywhere else...the families are ALWAYS complaining; the patients are ALWAYS complaining that we don't get there fast enough to suit them with their pain med/sleep med......but we cannot physically get there...you cannot physically be in 5 or 6 places at once!!!! The families are worse than the patients..we had a patient admitted that was total care (she really should be in ICU), when she was admitted, her doctor TOLD THE FAMILY that we were short-staffed and they would have to stay with her and help, etc.....this family is a constant pain in the butt....the granddaughter stayed last night - came up to the desk this morning and demanded that someone come and "help" feed her grandmother, because she "didn't know how to feed her"....for once, I was speechless...this same girl told a nurse that she needed an arm sling, so tell the doctor or whoever that it was for her grandmother and that way, SHE could get it and it would be charged to granny...the family is constantly asking for scrubs. I mean, WHERE DO THESE STRANGE PEOPLE COME FROM???
  5. by   leslie :-D
    Dear Soundslikesirens,

    You need to chill a little. No one's trying to make you feel guilty about ********. Shannon's plea for some positive input and encouragement is valid and reasonable. Just as your ******** is valid and reasonable. I'm also very saddened (to say the least) about the state of nursing today. But when you start taking your anger out on your collegues, then it's time to step back for a bit.
  6. by   p.rabbit
    Shannon,

    First of all, no matter where you go in the world you will find people who have something bad to say about their job, and are more than willing to do their darndest to destroy your dreams. Why, I don't really understand. Just try starting your own business and then you'll really get an ear-full of negativity and doubt. Instead you must listen to your heart and tell everyone else to shut-up. It's your life, right? By choosing Nursing you have an enormous opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of others. I will agree with many that we need to be concerned about what is happening in health-care today, but the bottom line is that people are sick and they need good care givers. To survive in Nursing you must develop a tough exterior that must protect your heart of gold inside. You will find greater meaning from this career if you have a strong spiritual belief system. It doesn't really matter what that is, but it will help you in the long run and your patients will benefit as well. Additionally, I think that everyone should get the opportunity to go to a developing country where healthcare barely exists (compared to our standards here in the West) and get a sense of how incredibly good life is here in the U.S. Our perspectives here are a little skewed, in terms of stressful conditions. Last but not least, whatever job you choose will only be as good as you can create. Keep good supportive company with people who share your beliefs and ideas. Life is too short to be wasted with the naysayers of life.

    p.rabbit
  7. by   lita1857
    soundsLikesirens you were right on the money with your comments...earle58 "don't take anger out on collegue?" did you really mean that?let's see how many people can a nurse babysit and apease at the same time...give me a break.p. rabbit we aren't in a third world country,and I don't feel we should lower our standards just because someone else would be "pickled pink"for just a fraction of what we have. Also rose-colored glasses do not help nursing move ahead, positive attitude is different than rose color. And last but not least ShannonB25....maybe if you can't take the heat you should get out of the kitchen, cause the nurses at the bedside are holding the line for us all and if they want to vent THEY HAVE EARNED IT. I'm out
  8. by   leslie :-D
    Shannon,

    Please! Don't let the likes of Lita discourage you even further. I stand behind what I said and if soundslike sirens and lita want to spew their venom, then look at source(s). God, every single one of us has justifiable reasons to vent but there is not ANY justifiable reason to treat your collegues (or anyone else) like ****. Lita, you stated that "you're out". Damn well you should be.
  9. by   fergus51
    Nursing is an amazing profession, with problems. Please Shannon, don't feel like you should leave because we complain about the state of nursing today. We have to discuss these problems or we'd go nuts. It is a stressful job and while I don't take out my anger on my co-workers, I do vent to them because the nurses I work with are a HUGE support. There are the occasional ****** nurses but the majority will bend over backwards to help a colleague.

    And even when I have those days when I feel like telling management where they could stick it and quit, I haven't. Because it seems like it's always when I am feeling the worst that a patient or a family member will say or do something that reminds me why I went into this job in the first place (like, "Thank you nurse, you've really helped me out"). I feel honoured at being allowed into my patients life and I will never forget that when I think about quitting.
  10. by   KatieD
    Shannon,

    I'm not a nurse, thinking about going into nursing, though, and I thought I might answer your original question, about how you could become a good nurse. I read some of the other posts here, and they remind me of the one negative experience I had while dealing with my son's heart condition. The nurse who posed that problem was reported, and action was taken, believe me! Our family has been in and out so many times, that we are well respected where we've been, especially by the higher ups and the nurses who are in supervisory positions. So, persons who behave in that manner, maybe they can also learn from what I am going to say about what made a good nurse in our eyes.

    Our nurses while my son was hospitalized (many lengthy, times in his not-quite 8 months of life), were (all but one) wonderful!!! Yes, they were overworked, they were tired, and they were very busy. No, they were not at our beck and call, but they did apologize if something took an awfully long time, they truly seemed to care for my son, and they were respectful when we had a request (such as holding him, despite the fact that he was on the ventilator, but it had been a week and a half at that point).

    The good nurses did not treat you like an idiot, they helped you to become informed about what the equipment in the room was, what it was there for, and how to read all the #s. They didn't assume that you didn't care, or assume that you already knew. They asked on about EVERY visit to the room if there was anything they could do for us, get for us, etc.

    They treated my son as if he was their own. They would talk to us as humans, and not just another person taking up their time. They made sure if we had questions they could not answer, that they paged a doc. or wrote it in my son's file for someone to answer later.

    I truly felt comfortable letting my son stay overnight with the nurses, and us going back to the Ronald McDonald House. The only time this didn't happen, was with the negative experience, and then, I wouldn't even leave his room to go to the bathroom or eat, unless someone else from my family was on watch. My only son's life was in their hands, and if someone had the attitude like the ones I've seen here... I asked to have them removed from my son's room and not to be returned.

    In less than 8 months, we've racked up over $200,000 in medical expenses... with that kind of money going out, he ought to have the best care, and most times, that's exactly what we got. The only thing else I can say, is treat these patients (and their families) as if they're people you know. Treat them as you'd hope your own family would be treated if put in that predicament, and you'll be one of the nurses whom people like me call the big boss' and say "You know Nurse ______....he/she was absolutely INCREDIBLE!!!!! Let me tell you what he/she did for my child......I hope that you can find some way to positively recognize his/her work."
  11. by   Jenny P
    Shannon, one thing about nurses is that we are human and there are times that we need to vent and be negative the same as every other human on this planet. I think there are lots of negative postings on this BBS because so many nurses do not have the support at home to do it there; and these same nurses don't vent at work. Here we are all anonymous, and we are talking to others who have walked in our shoes, so we feel it is a safe audience. As the posting by Katie D shows, not everyone who comes to this BBS is a nurse, and I do find it discouraging that there are so many negative comments made to those that are interested in going into nursing. My own belief is that we currently have a "victim" mentality; we don't know how we got in this situation, but don't want anyone else to be in it without warning them of the problems. I think we have tried so hard to help everyone- the patients, the hospitals, etc., that we have lost site of what we really do and are suddenly realizing that we need help ourselves. (kind of like being "up to our a-- in alligators and forgetting we came to drain the swamp"). I also think that as nurses we need to be proactive: we need to be politically involved in nursing organizations; just as we need to be assertive in the work place. We need to respect ourselves and say NO more often when situations are intolerable. And we need to stick up for ourselves in the workplace. This past week I saw 3 nurses being chewed out by MD's on nights when the RN called because the patient wasn't doing well or the MD forgot to write orders. I did take the phone from one of those RN's and did tell the doc off (politely, I might add-- I did add "please" to the demand that he get his butt in there now). We all need to be supportive of our young and new staff; and also treat the senior nurses with kindness and respect- after all, the trenches can take their toll on us. If we stick together and give credit where it is due, it is easier to go to work. I truely believe that there is a brighter future for nursing and nurses once we get over this current hurdle. But I also believe that the way to correct and prevent this situation from happening is that each nurse must speak up and get involved, be involved and stay involved in a broader world of nursing than just the unit they work in. (sorry this is so long-winded; I do get carried away at times)

    [This message has been edited by Jenny P (edited January 12, 2001).]
  12. by   Tiara
    Shannon, I don't know a nurse who wasn't thrilled to finish school and have this profession. What has happened in health care is not exaggerated here; it's the truth. Negative is not always a bad thing. Nurses are looking to change conditions for the better for their patients. Women got the vote with a lot of negativity and dissatisfaction; likewise, civil rights. If nurses were not so passionate about their profession, they would not be so passionate for making it better. Hopefully, there will be a seachange and it will be a positive and safe profession for all future nurses. The million nurse march is about positive change. This should encourage rather than discourage anyone from nursing. It's been a long time coming. It's sad when nurses love nursing and have to feel anger and frustration because of the conditions. I hope you can understand.
  13. by   goldilocksrn
    I must say that I applaud your optimism and hope that you may hold onto it for years to come. I myself had this mentality that I could burst out into the profession and make a difference. It didn't take long for the real world of nursing to set in. People don't want to hear your insights and solutions on how to fix nursing. The truth is, administration and management know the problems, as well as possible solutions. They just aren't willing to put out the time, money, and effort to fix a bad situation. This negativity is coming from the true "bedside" nurse, who is out there in the trenches on the floor, taking 7 to 10 admits a shift with no help and supervisors breathing down your neck. Chances are, the more positive nurses are those that do not have a bedside position or do so parttime. Think about it, you give 110%, 12-16hrs a day, don't take breaks, are physically and mentally exhausted at the end of the day, and your supervisors are STILL not happy with you. When you do this day after day-you can't help but feel angry, disappointed, saddened. I don't think we are trying to scare people away, but this is just the way nursing is today. And most of us are not only just venting, we are participating in the million nurse march. We do stand up for patients everyday. We cannot say these things at work, for we are labeled "troublemaker" and "nurse with a bad attitude". All I want is to be able to care for my patients safely, and be able to eat and pee within a reasonable amount of time.I think you need to be forewarned and watch what you say and how you say it at work. I really do wish you luck. I hope you can make a difference. I am trying, but in the meantime, I will continue to vent.......
  14. by   prmenrs
    Shannon: I, too, was thrilled to get out of school--32 years ago!! And, I'm still thrilled to go to work and take care of my babies in a wonderful unit where most of us have known each other since before husbands, kids, etc.; but our unit is very carefully staffed, but we work hard and we can get VERY busy VERY fast (like the evening we got 5 critically ill babies within 2 hours!!), but we work together very well, and we support each other a LOT!!
    I read some of the posts from the LTC's and the Med-Surg floors, and their experience is NOTHING like mine; Thank God they have this BB to help them!!
    Parents KNOW what we do for their babies, and they thank us! We get Christmas cards with pictures of families, visits back to the unit with babies bigger and stronger, and that's fun. I don't think gratitude thing happens on Med-Surg and LTC.
    There are sad times, too; babies die. Parents have to deal with not getting what they signed up for when they started their pregnancy; coping with long term disabilities, and other problems. The unit comes together to help them, too, and help our families through it.
    Nursing will never BE easy! No matter how well staffed and managed you are, there will be times when you feel like a one-armed paper-hanger, when you'll go home crying all the way, when you'll do something wrong... BUT, you'll also laugh and cry with a pt/family, teach another nurse something cool, teach a family how to care for their baby, parent, spouse, tell a doc something that makes a BIG difference about their pt., talk a med student thru her 1st IV--HAVE FUN at work.
    I love being a nurse, have no regrets, couldn't be anything else..but I sure hope some of you youngsters get on in here and help out--I'd like to retire some day!!

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