I have seen a lot of posts by Susy K in the past. She certainly hit it right on the spot, when she referred to some of the things people say to make your day.
I have only been an RN 5 yrs. I went back to school part time at night after work, 5 days a week. I spent my weekends studying. I started this at the age of 29, with a house and a wife. At the age of 33 I graduated. I did a number of different things before nursing, like repair cars for Nissan and Ford, do construction work, plumming, electrical, landscaping, truck driving, shipping etc etc. I always said, who cares what job you go into, because you always have the right to change professions. Granted, depending what you might want to do, would decide on whether or not you need to go back to school again?
Rule #1- I have never said "I am gonna do this for the rest of my life".
Rule #2 - Never say never.
Which leads me to the present:
Sure when Families say nice things to you, or write letters it makes your day, and makes you feel like you are worthwhile and helping a cause. However, for those of us that have been doing it for more than two years or so, its different. We realize those compliments, and verbal or written grattitudes come far apart........and they do not stretch the distance. So that alone does not keep one going. I have worked my 5 years worth of experience all in ER, whcih I thought would be great, fun exciting. 99% of the people that come through the ER (except for those whose lives you save from a true emergency), are never satisfied and look at the ER as the McDonalds of medecine. They expect you to be courteous and friendly, and they expect to be in and out in less than an hour.
Here are some examples:
Patient statement: "It's just a sprained ankle, can't you just do the x-ray and get me out of here?"
Nurses statement: "I'm sorry sir, as you see our halls are packed and we are very busy, we'll get you out as soon as we can".
Nurses thoughts: Well sir if its only a sprain why the hell did you come to the ER? To clog up one more %^&*()# bed? To make the rest of the people out there with more meaningful injuries wait another 30 miutes? let me guess it wasn't rainging out, so you thought you would come to the ER, because your ankle is not swollen, not deformed, not brusied...but you know its sprained?
Patient statement: "How long am I gonna have to be here? I only came in because I am dizzy?
Nurse: well......probably another hour and a half anyways mam. It takes that long to do the blood tests, and a CT of the head, and hget results.
patient: "well can't they just diagnose it and give me something for it? This is ridiculous!"
Nurse has time to say, "no I'm afraid it doesn't work that way mam."
Nurse should have time to say, "Well mam things like electrolyte imbalances, and infections, and strokes, mini-strokes can all cause problems like you are experiencing. Do you have any other questions?"
Nurse would like to say: "this is not @#$%^&* McDonalds, or urgent care, and no unlike what most people think, this is not the show ER and we dont get lab results and CT results back in 10 minutes."
Patients fail to realize, that while some law suites are legitimate, there are tons of bogus ones, and non bogus ones that are are won, or settled on out of court, just to avoid the whole court proccess.
Remember the man in Fla who had the wrong leg amputated? They failed to mention that the man was a diabetic with peripheral vascualar disease, and that the other leg (alleged good leg) was in almost as bad as shape as the one that needed immediate amputation).
Charting is such an essential for physicians and nurses, that it delays the "it's just a sprain" patient, and delays the "I'm dizzy patient", that takes our time away from them. Nurses, 50% charting, 50% patient care (hands on), physicians, 10% patient contact,40% charting, 40% evaluation of tests, and 10% or more of phone calls to pmds (attendings).
I would have to say, that despite all these on going issues, shortages etc.......I do like my job...and I don't ever go in thinking I dont want to be here.
I dont feel as excited about going to work as I used too. When I started there, and for the 1st 2 1/2 years, we were like a family with a lot of continuity. Everybody helped everybody, and you could say anything to anybody without a problem. Since then there has been a complete trunaround on nights twice, and evenings once +. Things are not the same that way now. Dayshift? Mostly people that have been there since Julious Ceasars death.
We haven't had a lot of problems with staffing other than nights. So I haven't been through that yet (in the sense that the floors and units deal with it).
While 5 yrs ago a busy night was to see 37-40 patients a shift, 2 years ago it was 42-47 a shift. With closings of two of the areas major hospital systems in the last 16 months, now 47 - 60 people is a busy shift with 42 the average. They are adding 4 more beds to our ER, and want us to staff those also with the same staff we use currently.
The additional use of agency nurses in the ER, has caused an uproar among staff. Why, because the hospital did not pay out premium pay for additional time, unless over 40 hrs a week. Well......for those of us who are full time (72 hrs per pay), we dont want to come in on that extra day for the same pay. For those of us part time 40 hrs per pay, they choose part time for reason, and that was not to work more hours.
They started giving us premium pay ($10 an hour extra after the ********, and excessive agency use.
The bottom line its a constant battle to get things where nurses feel they should be. The War is never won, only battles are won and lost. Health care, fireman and police all have to work weekends and holidays as part of their job description.......for regular pay, and someone else controlling the numbers of available help. Is healthcare something that help should be cut back on??? Should we not get O/T for working Christmas day or eve, whether or not it is extra?
Benefits -You would think healthcare individuals would have great benefits........but they are for the most part no better than anyone elses?
Pensions suck - we get like 800 a month after working for a system for 25 yrs.....what a bargain eh?
Hearing about the Taco belle employee making 20,000 a year kind irks me? when new degreed nurses start at about 28,000 yr? The garbage man.......ooooooopsss waste sanitation engineer that makes 60,000 a yr, and the UPS man that makes 50,000 a yr, etc etc all irk me. I ask myself? Why not work for UPS? Not sure........personally..I still like my job and have some hurdels before I move on.
I can vouch for Suzy K though.....I know many......who don't know what they would go do? How to start another career after being in nursing so long? The entire medical system, and future lack of nurses is at stake. Thats what the rpoblem is. I know physicians not near retirement, ready to quit and try other things.
There are so many issues......its not just one thing......hope this sheds some light on the subject.