why does medsurg nursing have to be like this?

  1. 5
    i got off work today 2 hours past my clock out time to chart. I am so burned out. I was literally on my feet the whole entire 12 hour shift. Doing this doing that. call lights here call light there. Family complains, md orders, blah blah blah. Seriously, I feel sorry for myself for becoming a nurse. In school, I have 3.7 GPA. Since I started nursing, I feel like I wasted all all this to become a CERTIFIED, GLORIFIED MAID for the patient and MDs. I should have taken a degree on something where I will feel appreciated and respected. Not like working my a*s off and not getting something back in return. Whenever I see student nurses in our unit, esp in private schools, I feel sorry for them cause they have no idea what they're getting into (plus all that school loans they have to pay for). If I could only take back time, I wish I have taken a different route than nursing. I didn't know then thats why im here and i hate it.

    PS: If only the economy is better, I would have quit nursing and get a lower paying job that i can say im truly happy. Sucks!
    anotherone, Sisyphus, noyesno, and 2 others like this.
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  4. 27 Comments so far...

  5. 4
    Quote from pale_pilsen
    i got off work today 2 hours past my clock out time to chart. I am so burned out. I was literally on my feet the whole entire 12 hour shift. Doing this doing that. call lights here call light there. Family complains, md orders, blah blah blah. Seriously, I feel sorry for myself for becoming a nurse. In school, I have 3.7 GPA. Since I started nursing, I feel like I wasted all all this to become a CERTIFIED, GLORIFIED MAID for the patient and MDs. I should have taken a degree on something where I will feel appreciated and respected. Not like working my a*s off and not getting something back in return. Whenever I see student nurses in our unit, esp in private schools, I feel sorry for them cause they have no idea what they're getting into (plus all that school loans they have to pay for). If I could only take back time, I wish I have taken a different route than nursing. I didn't know then thats why im here and i hate it.

    PS: If only the economy is better, I would have quit nursing and get a lower paying job that i can say im truly happy. Sucks!
    It's not just med-surg I'm sorry you're having a hard time with this. And, I think you're right that school doesn't prepare nurses for the reality of the job- happened back when I was in school, also. I was lucky- I really liked it. Some days were horrible (as with any job) but I liked the overall nursing job.

    Are there areas beyond med-surg nursing that you're interested in? There are so many specialties that maybe one of the others would be better? You're right- it's hard to do something you don't like even if the pay is better than something else.

    Do you find most days regrettable? Or was today particularly bad? Maybe see what some of the specialty nursing forums are talking about, and see if there's something that sounds better to you. Just an idea, to help make nursing less objectionable until you can do something else. Just an idea- good luck
  6. 10
    I have felt the way you do. I don't know how long you've been a nurse, but I can say that the first year is almost universally like you describe. It does get better as you develop better time management skills, learn to prioritize better, and develop your assertiveness.

    There will always be a certain percentage of patients and family members that will be unhappy no matter what you do. However, many people are very understanding when you tell them, very politely, that their fresh blanket, cup of ice chips, or Jello will have to wait a while so that you can take care of something more urgent.

    Learning how to take control, so that rather than reacting constantly, you are anticipating, nipping things in the bud, staying ahead of the game, is a skill that comes with time.

    You cannot be everywhere at once, and you cannot be all things to all patients. You will set yourself up for frustration and anguish if you even try.

    Also, maybe Med/Surg isn't your niche, or maybe it's the shift you work. Different shifts on the same floor can be drastically different due to the pace of different times of day, different leadership, different co-workers, etc.

    Just a few months ago, I sounded just like you. I almost left the Emergency Department, thinking it just wasn't for me, but instead I changed to a different schedule, and now my interest in Emergency nursing is renewed. I'm excited about my work, and actually can honestly say I *like* my job, rather than just tolerate it. I still bump up against the same issues, but for some reason, working a different schedule made all the difference in the world for me.

    I hope things get better for you. Inpatient nursing is tough, and not for the faint of heart. If you can do this, you can do anything.
    Adri_RN, sweetnurse63, noyesno, and 7 others like this.
  7. 8
    I have to tell you that if you expect this to change you will have to get busy making it change. The "man" is all about money. Period. It really stinks that it's like that but in my twenty years of nursing it's only gotten worse.
    The most ridiculous part about it is the time we spend doing the jobs of ancillary staff. It makes it impossible to do our own jobs there right way and all the corporate folks want to do is demand more.
    If you want out of this pickle, go back to school while your still young. Don't wait twenty years to know that's what you should have done.
    NurseSnarky, sweetnurse63, xtxrn, and 5 others like this.
  8. 9
    90% of times its like this. I regret coming into this unit cause I have no choice. I need to get experience somehow. most of the good units or they call it a retirement unit where no one quits rarely have any openings. So the only ones left out is mostly medsurg units cause no one wants to stay there.
    Its not about prioritization, its about the workload itself. Its insane to be called by 4 diff people at the same time wanting something. Its much worse than a manual labor cause not only your physically drained out, but mentally and emotionally as well.

    Its not that easy to transfer to another unit or hospital due to this economy. Hounestly, hospitals are downsizing left and right.
    Sisyphus, sweetnurse63, sistasoul, and 6 others like this.
  9. 4
    My only other suggestion would be to make a list of what this job does FOR you- it might be little things, or big things (paycheck to pay bills), and just go into the shift thinking about what the hours you put in are going to give you back- purely financial, experience, feel good when you can _____, etc.....how is this job working FOR you.... not what you have to do for the job. It might not sound like much (or even useless), but if you can somehow turn this into something that is benefiting you, it might be a bit easier to hold on until you can get into the field you want

    Nursing is hard- just in different ways in each specialty. They'll all be pulling you from different directions- so that part won't change- but if you can work with a type/group of patients you have more interest in, maybe it won't seem as bad. Where ever you end up working, the med-surg experience will make you better at it That is a big plus.

    Hang in there
  10. 8
    What's your patient load like? Do you use computerized charting--what about it is taking 2 hours to chart? Something that helps me is to take notes immediately after my assessment. I write a little outline on my notes so I can fill in the blanks. Maybe making up some kind of more extensive flowsheet would help so all you have to do is circle what you need to chart.

    Can you delegate more to your CNAs? Sometimes it's easier and faster for me to help out pts when I'm in the room, but if there's something you can delegate while you get back to passing meds (or whatever else), do it.

    How do you prepare for your day? I work nights and pharmacy leaves at 2300, so the first thing I do is set up my meds for my pts--basically verifying that everything is there. They stay in the locked drawer ready to go when I need them (with the exception of narcc). That way I can just pull them out, do a quick recheck and admin.

    I hope things get better for you!

    Edit--I realize I'm not sure how I'm coming across with this post; I hope you don't take offense to anything I've said.

    I've only been a nurse for a few months, but I worked for years in a production environment (I was a professional potter). I was really good at what I did and was very efficient. The thing that helped me develop my art as well as make a living was that I had a routine. I did the same things, in the same order, every time. It may sound restrictive and counter-intuitive, but by having a semi rigid routine, I had the flexibility to create works of art and be part of a successful business.

    I have tried to use these same skills in my new nursing career. I realize that it's not the same and there is always the unexpected. BUT, I try to have a routine when I come for my shift and do things the same way every time (as much as I can anyway ). I try to do this with all of my skills, so that don't miss a step. I do this with my assessments and with my med passes. I still have to spend a lot of time looking up meds, but I know I'll learn more as I go.

    Now I really am done. I hope this helps.
    Last edit by Aurora77 on Sep 6, '11
  11. 26
    Quote from pale_pilsen
    Its not about prioritization, its about the workload itself. Its insane to be called by 4 diff people at the same time wanting something.
    Okay, I don't mean to be nitpicky, but yes, this is about prioritization. Take this scenario:

    Rm. 101 is puking everywhere and needs something for nausea.
    Rm. 102 is requesting pain medication.
    Rm. 103 just pooped the bed.
    Rm. 104 is climbing out of bed.

    In the meantime, you're behind on your med pass, have 2 patients on TPN and insulin gtts, haven't done a lick of charting, and you need to call the MD for a change in patient condition (the LOL in Rm. 105 is satting 85% on RA and c/o sharp chest pain). Your bladder is about to burst, and you feel like you're about to pass out from hypoglycemia. A family member is hovering in the doorway glaring at you with their arms folded. Your CNA just went on break. The family members in 106 just brought some damn french fries onto the unit and the smell is driving you nuts!

    Been there, done that!!!!

    Obviously your priority is the person who is going to die the quickest if you don't do something. The rest can wait. No refilling ice waters, no fetching blankets, no spending time with family members answering their questions. Not until everyone is safe. Learn how to say "No" to patient requests that you just don't have time for (I never actually say "No", usually something like "Sure, no problem. I'm in the middle of something right now, but I'll get to it when I can.", with a smile and in a friendly tone of voice).

    If you need help, don't be afraid to ask for it. If another nurse is caught up, ask if they can check your insulin gtts for you, or pass meds to just ONE of your patients, or give a PRN. Just be willing to help them out if you are caught up. I find it's really good team building practice to offer help to others whenever I'm caught up. Some will take advantage and have you do something they totally have time to do but just don't want to, but overall it enhances cooperation and is really good insurance to have for when all hell breaks loose.

    If my feedback is completely inapplicable and useless to you, I apologize. I do know what it's like to be so crazy busy that by the end of your shift, you're just glad you didn't kill someone, and I'm just trying to help.:heartbeat
    Nurse-n-2010, I♥Dexter, Adri_RN, and 23 others like this.
  12. 4
    Honestly I know that med-surg can be tough and sometimes you feel unappreciated and worn too thin, but there are many things about the job I really enjoy as well, for example, you never know what you will get. I actually really like med-surg.
    wookieRN11, TriathlonRN, xtxrn, and 1 other like this.
  13. 5
    Just wanted to add, that if you just wanted to vent and didn't want any advice, my apologies. I'm a "fixer", and sometimes I just don't know when to shut up.
    roser13, laski, Hospice Nurse LPN, and 2 others like this.


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