Who watches over nurses?

  1. Maybe I need to get this off my chest once and for all...

    I entered the healthcare field because I enjoy helping others. I quickly discovered that I become too attached and so I chose Emergency Medicine as my poision. "In and Out" -- "Rescue and Roll" -- It worked well for me and I felt like I was doing something I was meant to do...I spent most of my time on the ambulance, and worked per-diem in the ER and MED/SURG as a Tech. Inner city EMS was my primary but I soon found myself involved with PICU/NICU and CC Transport. The obvious next level of education and move was to become a nurse. This is what I dream of.

    So everything is rolling smoothly and my Grandmother (may as well call her Mother -- and the woman who bought me my first Littmann stethoscope.) comes into radiology for a scan. I know the rads and I quickly discover she has pancreatic cancer.

    Well no problem for me...no problem for any of us...no problem for someone who has an immune system that chases squirrels around the back yard and a stomach that could be used for bomb disposal...right!

    I spent the next 2 years taking ambulance rides from hospital to hospital for surgery, talking to doctors, techs, and translating to the family. Before her death she thanked me and said "You'll make a good nurse". Soon after the funeral I began to cut shifts and became depressed. All my "brothers and sisters" were aware of the recent death. They were aware of the hours we worked and the environment and not once did anyone say -- Hey bud...I think you may need some help. I stopped working the hospitals and I handed my badge in on some cold March day after I tried to save an unrestrained child involved in a crash -- mom was high -- I couldn't do it...not one more minute. And that was the end...I left quietly and without a call or concern...most co-workers now viewed me as a slacker and a trouble maker.

    For a few years now I have worked quietly in a field unrelated to healthcare and earn a living. For a short time I felt if someone were to drop in front of me I would step over them to avoid helping...not myself.

    I found the road back...I am a Jr. now...about 1.5 years from earning my BSN. I still tear up when I think of past events. I feel uncomfortable around the sick and dying...but If you have no pulse and stopped breathing I'm the guy want in the room...just don't expect me to write.

    With that said...we can walk into a room and form a general impression of a patient in a millisecond but never notice Patty RN laying breathless along side the patient's bed. The affects of Cummulative Stress and Traumatic Stress ruin lives and claim our own. I learned the number one rule on the street is SAFETY -- Safety for myself and after me...Safety for my partner, my crew, my fellow nurses. I think "safety" is more then immediate environmental factors. Everyone is affected by death, disease, sickness...those who are afflicted and those who treat...be mindful. I think that checking your colleague should be part of the assessment. Leave no one behind...no one untreated. I will see you all again soon.
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   UM Review RN
    Unfortunately, we forget to take care of ourselves. Thanks for the words of wisdom.

    Glad you're making a comeback; we need you.
  4. by   jrmom
    Oh, you brought tears to my eyes.
    Thankfully you have been able to come back and I truly believe you are in the field you were meant to be in ( medical). I hope we can all learn from your post. I myself will be more aware of my peers and their well being.
  5. by   jahra
    Your story warms my heart. Welcome back to healthcare.

    May your heartfelt concern for your patients and peers
    allows be your course. You are a true leader in a
    healthcare system of "Me's and I's" .

    We need nurse leaders like you!



    Best wishes with your studies...
  6. by   Chica_bella813
    Awww I read your post and could feel your pain.

    I can relate to what you are saying. I will definitely keep you in my prayers and know that someone cares for you!!

    It is true we help save lives, we put up with such disdainful treatment and we have our own lives outside of that. But we are expected to wear a smile and carry on while no one has any regard to our welfare.

    What you wrote came from your soul and I could sense that. I am proud of you that you decided to get back and do what you love to do the medical field. It had to take a lot of strength and courage to get back especially after your loss and also after your co workers did not show much compassion.

    God Bless you my friend.....PM anytime
  7. by   hayn911RN
    I have wondered the same thing. I went through a tough time a few years ago. I started missing work, calling in sick. And when I did make it into work I was miserable. The only thing that I wanted to do was curl up in bed an cry.
    Not one person said anything, or offered a shoulder. I think, as nurses, we like to think that we are immune to problems of "civilians" It's sad to say but it's true.
    The experience has made me more understanding to what may be going on in other nurses lives. Maybe it will help you in the long run. Keep your chin up and good luck!
  8. by   ohmeowzer RN
    Quote from hayn911RN
    I have wondered the same thing. I went through a tough time a few years ago. I started missing work, calling in sick. And when I did make it into work I was miserable. The only thing that I wanted to do was curl up in bed an cry.
    Not one person said anything, or offered a shoulder. I think, as nurses, we like to think that we are immune to problems of "civilians" It's sad to say but it's true.
    The experience has made me more understanding to what may be going on in other nurses lives. Maybe it will help you in the long run. Keep your chin up and good luck!
    i know nursing can be a lonely expirence. many times i have felt alone with my patients and even if i needed help pulling up in bed, i would get funny looks if i asked other RN's for help. i asked about a week ago if somone could help me pull up a patient. 4 other RN's were sitting at the desk and not one would get up to help me.. they said " ask the CNA" of course she was no where to be found.i fianlly went to the charge nurse and she helped me...i have always helped when asked and tried to be a team member , i am a RN just like my co workers and thy act so full of themselves they can't help someone who isn't their patient. i asked one nurse to help me do somehting last year .. i can't remember what it was .. but she answered "no I can't help you . i am busy" but she asked me for help and i always say " i'd love to help you" i have never turned someone down for help. i leave work exhausted and feeling quite lonely at times. thank you for letting me vent.. i feel much better
  9. by   rlsilkett
    I am a second semester nursing student. I had my first patient code on me within the first 5 minutes of walking into their room. I hadn't even gotten a good report because the previous nurse didn't know much about them either. The patient coded over and over again for the next 4 hours and then finally died. I spent the time with the family keeping them from running into the ICU and general trouble plus coping with what had happened (they were in the room when he coded). Anyhow, I have noticed that I have changed since this experience. Every week that I go into clinical, just before we get our patient info I start to get light headed, my heart rate is rapid and I get really sick to my stomach. I know that I'm stressing over whether my patient will live after the first 10 minutes I'm there (lol i know this sounds so stupid but it's real to me). I know that patients dying is part of this job and I'm okay with that but I think my biggest problem is not being prepared knowledge wise. I have a lot more school to go through but what if I don't learn this kind of info? I mean this was a critical care intervention and I had NO CLUE! I normally thrive on challenge and I think I am struggling through this problem because I didn't learn anything from my experience. Any advise?
  10. by   reba5277
    Quote from rlsilkett
    I am a second semester nursing student. I had my first patient code on me within the first 5 minutes of walking into their room. I hadn't even gotten a good report because the previous nurse didn't know much about them either. The patient coded over and over again for the next 4 hours and then finally died. I spent the time with the family keeping them from running into the ICU and general trouble plus coping with what had happened (they were in the room when he coded). Anyhow, I have noticed that I have changed since this experience. Every week that I go into clinical, just before we get our patient info I start to get light headed, my heart rate is rapid and I get really sick to my stomach. I know that I'm stressing over whether my patient will live after the first 10 minutes I'm there (lol i know this sounds so stupid but it's real to me). I know that patients dying is part of this job and I'm okay with that but I think my biggest problem is not being prepared knowledge wise. I have a lot more school to go through but what if I don't learn this kind of info? I mean this was a critical care intervention and I had NO CLUE! I normally thrive on challenge and I think I am struggling through this problem because I didn't learn anything from my experience. Any advise?
    I am so sorry that you had that experience. How traumatic! I'm sure you could feel that adrenaline rush! Unfortunately, I have had several pt.'s code on me even in nursing school. They left a lasting impression and I will never forget each one of them!

    I think there are a couple things that you should remember as your going into nursing. Always, find out as much as you can during report to anticipate the worst case scenario so you can always be prepared. This may help those physical feelings you have because you'll know more about what to expect. By the way, those feelings get lessen as time goes on. I had the same thing!

    Also, there is always that code you can call and people will be there to help you out of the mess. Whatever place you wind up working at when you graduate will be your "new" specialty. For example, peds, OB, med surg, etc. When you get a job, you will start that process of building up your skills, confidence, and knowledge. And before you know it, you will find this new found confidence that you will develop as time goes on. But remember, everyday you will learn something new. That's why nursing is so good because you'll never be bored. And most importantly always remember that if you aren't sure about something----> ASK! Because then you'll find out the answer and build on that information and become a more confident nurse.

    Well....there's my two cents

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