I am finishing two years as an RN and want to hear some good advice from other nurses. I love nursing and I became a nurse to help.Where do I find myself two years down the road? I am frustrated, a little jaded, and disillusioned with health care and how we meet patient's needs. Do others out there feel the same way or not?
Understaffed, understaffed, understaffed, can I say it enough!!!!
It seems we never have enough people to perform the basics of patient care in a timely manner. Ansering call lights, comforting patients when they are scared and unsure, assisting patients with the most basic functions that we all take for granted: eating, turning, getting out of bed, pooping and peeing and of course cleaning when its all done.
The hospital seems focused on one thing and one thing only and that is more and more paperwork! How many ways can we track something, how can we guard ourselves against liability, and how can we insure that everything that goes wrong lands on the nurses shoulders and not the hospitals. Did you not get your meds in a timely fashion or is there no one to help you shave at 8:00 PM? The nurse is clearly not organizing themselves properly and needs to be spoken to, and documented (don't you love that word!) At the hospital everything seems to become the nurses fault. If another department can't get something done it ultimately becomes your responsibility. You may have two pt. 's calling for help, overdue medications, a Dr. waiting for you to call them back about a pt., another pt. with assesments that point to sepsis, the monitor room calling because the confused pt. just d/c his tele again, (and what are you doing about it because we they have been calling at least 4 times in the last hour!), and your meds are not in the pyxsis again, and you're calling pharmacy just as you have for the last three of your patients!
Don't get me wrong, i am thankful every day that i have this great career opportunity, but I find myself more and more frustrated, feeling like i have failed and that i just don't measure up.
Yesterday a patient was admitted for SOB along with CP, he was in aflutter and was placed on a Cardizem gtt. Things were going fine until the pt. began to complain of new onset CP radiating to the L shoulder and neck. Whoa! I did what I could with current orders and called the Doc ( a compassionate team oriented doctor, we need more of them!) for the orders I needed and then proceeded to treat the pt. Later when I asked how he was doing he shook my hand and he said "thank you, I'm feeling OK now."
WOW!! This put a smile on my face and it made my whole night, maybe my whole week, maybe my month, lol! I live for these kind of moments but I honestly don't know how i can continue being a nurse when everything about the hospital seems too clinical, too concerned with money, and too many efforts to conduct surveys, study problems, and initiate more and more ways to track everything under the sun. Where is patient care? I think it's falling down the cracks.
Please sound off I want to hear other opinions and ways you cope as nurses. I am thinking about looking for another position. Are there any areas of nursing that you love?
Last edit by BeepingIV on Jul 8, '11
Jul 8, '11
I feel your pain. Where I work speaking the words short or understaffed will get yah fired. What a joke. We're perpetually "staff challenged".
Jul 8, '11
Holy crap, I'm a nursing student who is going to start clinicals in the Fall 2011 and reading your disillusioned post scares the bejeezes out of me. I don't think I can take that amount of stress in one shift. It looks like you can never actually finish everything and it just keeps piling on...
Jul 8, '11
Jngo91 finish nursing school it's a great career and YES you can do it! We just have to start thinking how we can work together to change this f&c$d up situation. Health care is on everyone's mind and I hope we can educate the public about how bad care is in mNy hospitals due to improper staffing. Someone is making the money who is it? Please DON'T let my post scare you out of nursing. We need new hands to help at the bedside. Goodluck with School how far along are you? Excuse any typos i'm on my iPhone.
Jul 8, '11
Hospital experience is sooo important, but burns most nurses out. You've been in this for 2 years - good for you! I only made it 18 months in a hospital med/surg setting. It was too much stress for me & I was questioning if nursing was even the right career for me.
It was then that I switched to clinic nursing & have loved it for >3 years...and since then I've created my own case management business, serving clients in the home & offering consulting services for healthcare facilities. The possibilities are truly endless. I strongly encourage you to consider a different position - whatever you're interested in. The nurses I have oriented have found that clinic nursing is a nice change of pace in that you're offered about the same amount of pay for a different kind of stress (still stressful at times, but a different kind of stress than a hospital nursing). Personally, I've found that I've learned about 100x as much in a clinic setting than I did in the hospital...I built my foundation for nursing in the hospital, but I've expanded on it so much in a clinic setting (internal medicine, to be specific).
I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!
Jul 8, '11
I saw a doc today, one of the good guys; last time I saw him a week or so ago he was stressed out; I called him at 7am because I saw a Mag level drawn at 3am in the ER of 1.0, pt throwing PVCs like crazy, never reported to him or addressed by the Er doc; I asked him if he was having a better day today? He just shook his head, and said, "poor nursing care, poor medical care, it just seems to get worse every day". Yep, I know how it feels; its not just nurses feeling it, made me feel a bit better. So very sad when it all comes down to money, when all most of us wanted to do was take good care of out patients and hope that one day someone would take care of us & ours.
Jul 8, '11
Yes OP, that is what it is... and just wait until more changes are coming to ensure patient satisfaction. Our medicaid/medicare reimbursements will be dependent upon excellent scores, not just mine... nationwide. As a result... the family and patients get anything and everything and patient care is provided as a secondary means over service.
Those that can adjust will adjust and continue, we will loose many excellent nurses along the way. This cycle has been in effect from the days of Florence. Not being nasty... just being real.
Jul 9, '11
Quite honestly I am experiencing the very same frustrations as you are. This is precisely why I am beginning my MSN in August. I know that I have many years left to work and I will not be sane if they are all on the floor doing bedside care. Everyone must do what is right for them. I work in oncology and many nights we are averaging 8 patients. It is simply too much
Jul 9, '11
I'm a Labor & Delivery nurse and I love it. I've worked other areas such as skilled nursing, public health, occupational health, postpartum, GYN, but I always come back to L&D. Most hospitals tend to staff L&D units adequately, although there are times staff is stretch if there is a call in.
Other areas to explore might be L&D, PACU, OR, outpatient surgery center, occupational health.
Jul 9, '11
Thanks for the reassuring response. I'm in my second year of university but according to my school I'm a "nursing student" because the program starts clinicals in the 2nd year instead of 3rd like most universities/colleges. The second semester of my 2nd year I will do Med-Surg but 1st semester is going to be just basic clinical skills stuff.
Jul 9, '11
Postings like this are exactly why I want to avoid going back into the hospital setting..I realize no place is perfect and there is paperwork or computer work etc. in all areas of nursing but the hospital for me was "nirvana" and in the past 4-5 years has changed so much my idea of "perfect place to work forever" has changed drastically. Non-medical people are being placed in medical decision making capacities, focus seems to be on providing care but dealing with computers charting - which - in my opinion - is not faster and does take you away from the bedside. I recently accepted a position outside of the hospital - it's a M-F position, some traveling but a new area for me in all ways. I am hoping I can find my nitch here...the 12 hr shifts do allow for more time off but for me, the trade off, the stress (and I can handle a LOT of stress!!) isn't worth it in a hospital - at least not now - because if I HAD to remain in the hospital working the floor, I would leave nursing altogether. NOT something I ever thought I would think or say - but like I said, that's changed for me over the past few years. Good luck.