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strawberryluv, BSN, RN 6,628 Views

Joined Oct 8, '09 - from 'New Jersey'. Posts: 701 (32% Liked) Likes: 398

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  • Oct 17

    We genuinely worry and care about our patients that it often consumes us. When a patient codes or expires, we are crushed. I once had a patient who got stuck at least 15 times by various staff members, including physicians, to get IV access. The patient took those sticks like a champ, but I still went home and boo-hooed because I hated to see him go through that. We hurt when our patients hurt.
    To me, this is the root cause of your issues.

    Personally, I do not worry about my patients. I assess them and intervene as I'm able. After that, I accept that things will run their course and I do not fret about it.

    When a patient dies, I generally remains dispassionately detached from the occurrence. I have had a couple of experiences with children that have made me sad and for which I've shed some tears but even then, I keep it at an arm's length... and I am never 'crushed' because I don't let myself care too much about it... because... this is my *job* and my job is to provide nursing care, not to become emotionally connected to what's happening. Sometimes I do begin to care more than I should and I actively nip it in the bud.

    And I certainly do not hurt when my patients hurt, even when we must poke them time and again, or when urology struggles to place a catheter, or difficult intubations, or chest tube insertions, or all the other invasive and painful things that we do to patients in order to treat them.

    I always recognize my role and that is of the professional nurse who is being paid to provide a service, one which I take very seriously and strive to perform at the highest level. My heart is my own and is reserved for my personal life.

    I would encourage you to seek counseling in an effort to learn to separate yourself from your work.

    Nursing is not a calling nor a mission; nursing is a job... and one which will chew you up if you get too close to it.

    Professional detachment...

  • Sep 14

    This is not intended to have you question your choices or for me to one-up anyone. I'd like to share the twists and turns on my nursing path.

    At age 22, I graduated with a liberal arts degree. No jobs. At age 25, I entered a highly-respected ASN program at an urban university.

    Failed first-semester A&P (liberal arts backgrounds don't always translate to strong science study skills). Repeated full A&P course the following summer and rematriculated.

    Earned a D+ in Med-Surg III, and my Peds instructor didn't like me. Sat out a year, got a full-time job as a nursing assistant on a Med-Surg unit in an urban hospital. (Pre the days of CNAs).

    Graduated at age 28, a year later than my cohort. Started working Med-Surg; recruited to ICU within 5 months.

    My hospital had full tuition benefits. At age 33, I switched to 12-hour weekend nights, and entered an RN-MSN program at my previous university. Graduated as a CNS at age 36.

    Spent 2 years working off my obligation to my employer who had no CNS position for me to fill.

    At age 38, started full-time PhD study at a highly-ranked research-intensive university; awarded PhD in Nursing at age 44. Began faculty research and teaching role; continued research with elderly ICU survivors.

    Returned to school to pursue a post-master's NP at age 45. Became an NP, in addition to research and teaching role, at age 47. Love my gero patients!

    Married and raised a family during these years.

    The beauty of Nursing is that you often can bend it and shape it to fit your life circumstances. Was it easy - not always. Has it been interesting - yes and yes. Did my family support my continuing quest for increased knowledge to always provide better and better care for patients - yes. Grumbly at times - yes.

    You want to take life by the horns and do your best to make things happen. If you are passive, life will pass you by.

    Nursing, with all its bumps and bruises, is the BEST profession for those who are inquisitive and feel a call to caring.

    Take it from an old-timer. My family has my back. My patients keep me centered, and my students keep me young.

  • Sep 7

    I am just over here trying to figure out where LTC pays more than ICU...

  • Sep 4

    Hi Nurse Beth,

    I am currently in a hospital leadership position but I'm thinking of leaving this position to pursue a clinical career. After being in nursing administration, I'm not sure that this is the best career path for me. I'm sure many people in nursing administration go through these same challenges. I have about 25-30 more years before I retire, so I thought that now might be a good time to switch over. Any thoughts or insight?

    Dear Not Sure of Career Path,

    Thanks for your great question

    I would say....switch.

    The first and primary reason is that you are unsure. When you are doing what you should be doing, you do not generally feel unsure at the core. You may get tired, experience ups and downs, or have disappointments, but overall you are fulfilled and are at peace.

    Being effective and successful in a role (such as leadership) does not necessarily mean it's your destiny. It means you are multi talented. Many leadership skills are transferable to different roles. Your skills, honed during your leadership time, will help you succeed on a new trajectory.

    The second reason is that you do not want to live with regrets. It’s scary to venture into a new career path because there are no guarantees and none of us know the future. But it’s worse to never try than to try and not succeed. Trying and going for it is succeeding.

    You are smart to be aware of and consider the timing in your career. Essentially by switching tracks, you are starting over and you may have a bit of time/ground/finances to make up- but it's all good in that you bring all your experience to the table in whatever career path you choose.

    One of the awesome things about nursing is the incredible amount of options available. Really, the only thing that limits us is ourselves.

    So spread your wings and fly….and be an inspiration to all of us.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

  • Sep 4

    You know it's going to be a bad night when you walk onto the floor and the charge nurse looks at you and says, "OH, THANK GOD YOU ARE HERE."

  • Sep 4

    When you ask who the intensivist is for the night and the day charge says "Dr. Doom!"

  • Sep 4

    Back when I worked the floor, I knew my shift would be a hot mess when a patient would announce, "I am going to die tonight. I am ready to be with the Lord."

    While these patients usually did not die, they almost always experienced a change in condition that could not be handled by the resources on our floor. This caused the night to be horrid.

  • Aug 21

    It was never a calling or childhood dream of mine either. I chose nursing because it was practical -- and because I wanted to have a career that contributed positively to the world. While I wasn't particularly passionate about nursing, I knew I wouldn't be happy doing something that hurt people for a living -- like make cigarettes, or lured people into wasting their money, or was somehow sleazy, etc. I was seeking a career that would be respectable and do good things.

    I also viewed nursing as a flexible career -- with many different possible career paths. I could do direct patient care as a staff nurse, part-time or full time, teach, be an administrator, do research, be an NP, etc. I would have lots of choices -- and as an 18 year old, I was not ready to make a commitment to any one career. I thought that majoring in nursing would be a way to delay that decision, giving me a general field that I could then narrow down as I got older and my needs & preferences developed.

    But while I was not passionate about nursing or "called," -- I was committed to doing a good job and to fulfilling my obligations to the patients, my co-workers, and my employers. I believe that committed is more important for success than the passion or "calling" that some people claim to have.

  • Aug 21

    Nursing was never a passion, childhood dream, or higher calling of mine. I entered the nursing profession as a practical means to an end. It has provided me with the flexibility, stable income, career mobility, and educational advancement I desire.

    As an aside, I was raised by two parents who worked mind-numbing manual labor jobs for a living. Their financial situation was precarious and always on the edge. However, the door to better job opportunities and higher pay had been closed off to them because they had no education beyond a high school diploma.

    Since I grew up without many middle class comforts, I wanted a career pathway that provided stability and a certain standard of living without taking up too much of my personal time. Nursing was the answer.

  • Aug 21

    Job security, a lot of options for advancement, good pay.

  • Aug 21

    In all honesty, with a school that only has 1 class meeting and 1 clinical per week, I'd be concerned about how well they will prepare you. How is their NCLEX pass rate? And are you someone who is going to be self-motivated to teach yourself as needed?

    And, yes, you will be preparing care plans on your patients. There is a lot more to nursing than just following doctors orders. There are times when you need to call the doctor and tell them what your patient needs. And there will be times where you see a doctor's order and need to question it for your patient's safety. The doctor orders it, but you are the last line of defense between the patient and the med/intervention, and you will be liable if you cause that patient harm, even if you were following a dr. order. Critical thinking is imperative.

    As far as care plans, you will probably start out with just one patient per day early on, and then as you progress through the program, that number will increase.

    Good luck!

  • Aug 21

    How hard is nursing school? I think the answer to this question depends on the individual's intellectual aptitude and prior learning experiences.

    Some people to the right of the bell curve will think nursing school is easy, while those to the left of the curve will feel it's the hardest feat they've undertaken.

    Most people in the middle of the curve will be somewhat challenged by the time constraints and new ways of thinking presented in nursing school, and will neither consider it 'easy' nor the 'hardest thing ever.'

  • Aug 16

    So,i am a male nursing assisstant. I am young and started when I was eighteen years old. While I was a teenager, I was always on drugs or drinking, finding some way to escape my boring life of annoying parents. Anyway,i grew up with my mom working in healthcare,i was a stubborn,depressed,anxious guy who grew up around the wrong crowd of people.

    When I turned 16, years old, my parents made me get a job so I started working where my mother worked in a family owned nursing home. I worked in the kitchen and housekeeping literally hating my job but I worked to support my unhealthy habits. Not to get too off topic but I went to juvenile jail and states custody because of underage DUIs ,underage consumption.

    So I turn 18 years old, I'm on top of the world, I literally know everything. I move out of my mom's house and move into a drug dealers house who is friends with my high school friends. I get fired from my job. I'm at rock bottom so I start selling drugs for a while, then I become desperate and call the owner of the nursing home, she tells me I can come back to work after I take a drug test and take CNA classes. From there I am homeless for about a month, I finally decide my mom's house isn't so bad. I decide it's time to stop smoking pot and popping pills and I buzz my hair off. After all of this I give my life to the Lord and put my everything in being this nursing assistant which just seems like the craziest job.

    As a new employee in this field, I started out on the Alzheimer's hallway which i felt more comfortable on.I started praying alot and realizing how fulfilling it is to take are of people who can't take care of themselves. It started to make me realize how good I really have it. As about two years go by I come very close friends with alot of coworkers but I still feel very different. It's not like in feel better than everybody but I feel like I can't let my body rest unless my patients are given PERFECT care. I struggle with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder also.

    By the time I turn 20, I'm becoming not a good but a great CNA. I literally am putting everything into this job. I feel guilty about everything bad I've done and I feel like this job is me giving back to God for the stupid things I have done in life.I am 21 now and I work up to 14 hours,sometimes 16 hours five days a week.i wake up at four o'clock in the morning and have almost all patients in their right mind. I have to say it has literally changed my life completely, at the moment I am not even worried about college. I am obsessed with giving my patients the best care possible. I stay up thinking about what I can do differently to make their life more enjoyable while spending their retirement home in what I like to call a retirement prison. Imagine spending your golden years being asked if you have used the bathroom on yourself. It is just so sad.What I'm trying to say is being in the healthcare field has literally changed my life and turned me into a Christian. Seeing dying people praying kind of changes the way I think about things.

    Any starting CNA who reads this, just know this job is not for everyone. If you love to take care of someone more than yourself,if you will risk your own health to help others stay healthy. If you love to see someone smile just because your taking care of them or if you have a family member say they don't have to worry because you'll be taking care of their mother or father, than you are made fore the healthcare field. I hope someone reads this and gets inspired. I know I wouldn't have gotten my faith back with this job.

  • Aug 14

    Burnt out and bummed out;
    plz man up and smell the roses...
    that is why nursing is a four letter word, like ****,****; etc...
    Nursing is WORK, that is why WORK is a four letter word.

    It is damn hard, it is demanding, it hits your beliefs, ethics and stamina right in the gut...

    Why not run away; go shuffle money in a bank or count paperclips in some office somewhere???

    At least in Nursing you can make a small difference, instead of no difference at all...

    So man up and put your apron on and get back to the kitchen or stop your whining and drop out.

    Your so lucky; your glass is half full (of opportunities); travel, meet different people in different places...

    Put some money aside and go rent a shack in Puerto Rico or Fiji for two weeks and sit with your toes in the Atlantic or Pacific...

    Cannot afford to do things like that then work to modify your finances so you can work hard and then time out to relax and recharge your batteries...

    Whatever you can now re-invent yourself every year or two and work in any one of a hundred different nursing fields, but regardless just remember there are literally thousands of people standing behind you with a big knife just itching for the opportunity to stick you in the kidney to take and use the luck and opportunities you have right in your hand already...

    Now man up and stop your sniveling; have a mental health break and recharge your batteries and get back into life...

    Good Luck and thank you for being a part of the worlds most trusted and loved profession...

  • Aug 3

    I've seen this story told so many times on here where a personality mismatch with a preceptor has cost someone his or her job. The solution is ever so simple: kiss your preceptor's ass until you are free of his or her grasp.

    So many new graduates learn the technical ABC's of things that they forget they are working with people.