Why Nursing Sucks...

  1. When I was 12, I decided I wanted to “help people”, so I worked really hard to get into a nursing program. I, by no means, thought it would be easy, I just thought it’d be more rewarding.
    I graduated last year, and started at a hospital. I trained for 6 weeks (as a new grad!) and was thrown into it. The people who are buddies with the Charge get the better assignments. One day, I got 6 starting pts (everyone else got 4-5), 3 discharges, and 2 admits, while a nurse left and went to The Dollar Store. Yep, you read that right. When another RN, who was precepting, spoke up about my assignment, my charge came over and dryly said, “If it gets too much, let me know,” and walked off. That's more or less what every day has been like.

    Things you probably don’t learn in school:
    - Doctors are a******s. You will get screamed at if you page about a slightly increased temp, and screamed at again if you don’t page about the same temp later.
    - Veteran nurses are awful to new nurses (but you will continue to bear the scowls and ask questions, because your patient’s safety is more important than the rumor that you’re an idiot). Oh yeah, nurses gossip a lot.
    - Nursing is mostly robotic- hang IVs, medicate, document, rinse, repeat (unless you’re in critical care/ED). If you get 5 mins to sit with a patient, the CNA will probably call you.
    - Then, there are days where you see John Doe, who came in near-comatose, get up and walk, and it fills your heart with joy. But rewarding moments are few and far between. (You’re mostly being screamed at because Dr. Awesome decided to taper their narcs, and neglected to tell them, or because dietary forgot their cookie).
    - BTW, forget the termbreak”. You’ll be lucky if you get a whole 30 mins for lunch.

    I suppose it depends on where you work, what your team is like, and how resilient you are. I have cried a lot, put on my big-girl pants, and return every day. But if I were 12 again…

    Now that I’ve blown off steam, I cannot commend RNs enough for what you do on a daily basis. You are all super-freaking-heroes in my eyes. And, no, I don’t hate doctors, I dislike the rude, condescending ones, like the one who told me, “I don’t make mistakes!” and slammed the phone down when he ordered a med the patient was allergic to. WELCOME TO NURSING!
    •  
  2. 92 Comments

  3. by   shelbs
    Title should read "Why nursing is for the strong and resilient". It's tough but I wouldn't say it sucks!
  4. by   NickiLaughs
    I would switch to another hospital or unit when you have enough experience. There's the trend that because new grads removing trouble finding work, chances are the ones that do hire are crappy places to work. My first job wa horrible, I learned a ton, but the docs were completely unprofessional, (one threw a chart at my head) and the charge nurses were mostly angry, lazy and bitter.
    You will find a unit where teamwork exists, people have your back and the charge nurses are fair and help when they can. There will always be a few negative coworkers, but the goal is to work somewhere that keeps them to a minimum. :P
    good luck to you!
  5. by   GreatNurse04
    I agree with you. I have been in similar situations such as the assignments and other nurses leaving the floor. A different set of rules for some. The doctors are different everywhere. Some are nice. Some not so much.
  6. by   dudette10
    It sucks because "they" will stretch you so thin, continue to pile on more work, expect the impossible, and when something goes wrong, blame you for it.

    I'm counting down to leaving acute care. I can't take it anymore.
  7. by   pixiern15
    Quote from NickiLaughs
    I would switch to another hospital or unit when you have enough experience. There's the trend that because new grads removing trouble finding work, chances are the ones that do hire are crappy places to work. My first job wa horrible, I learned a ton, but the docs were completely unprofessional, (one threw a chart at my head) and the charge nurses were mostly angry, lazy and bitter.
    You will find a unit where teamwork exists, people have your back and the charge nurses are fair and help when they can. There will always be a few negative coworkers, but the goal is to work somewhere that keeps them to a minimum. :P
    good luck to you!
    You mean there's hope?! I intend to leave eventually. At least I've solved the mystery of why the turnover rate for new nurses is so high. Thank you.
  8. by   CryssyD
    "...rewarding moments are few and far between..."

    The comatose patient who suddenly woke up and started addressing staff members by name, then combing his hair and feeding himself...

    The stroke patient who heard his (stupid) nurse say "This one, though, isn't going to get any better" (and immediately started crying, in front of the rounding NP)...

    The MVA head injury who woke up shortly after being told, "They're not mad at you, it's OK if you made it"...

    Yes, we put up with incredible stupidity and ignorance. But at the end of the day, it's worth it--there is always something bigger than the local idiot.
  9. by   TheCommuter
    The working conditions associated with floor nursing are one of the main reasons I left bedside nursing last month. The demanding families and verbally abusive patients also make nursing deplorable.

    I hope to not return to the bedside unless I end up on the verge of homelessness. I salute those of you who still fight the battle. I'm out...
  10. by   NurseEmmy
    Nursing school does not prepare most for the realities of nursing. You are NEVER given 4-6 patients to be in charge of. You don't deal with the politics of the unit. Your first job will feel overwhelming. That is normal. Some MD's are simply rude, but you will encounter those type of people everywhere. You will also find those who are "in good" with the boss will get perks. That's just about everywhere too.

    You should have more ok days than bad days. Again your perspective may change once you feel comfortable in your role. If not, move on like countless others will do.
  11. by   pixiern15
    Quote from TheCommuter
    The working conditions associated with floor nursing are one of the main reasons I left bedside nursing last month. The demanding families and verbally abusive patients also make nursing deplorable.

    I hope to not return to the bedside unless I end up on the verge of homelessness. I salute those of you who still fight the battle. I'm out...
    I hear you. My organization is pushing this movement of "customers" instead of "patients" and it's causing me to pull out my hair. Many patients already treat hospitals like hotels. If I'm "being graded on my ability to leave customers satisfied", I picked the wrong profession.
    I love what I do, I just wish these Admins would walk a mile...
  12. by   nutella
    I am really sorry OP. Some floors do not have a culture that is good in general. That can happen to any nurse new or experienced when starting or switching a job. Some years ago I got a position at a prestigious hospital - I really wanted to go there, it was very competitive. I is one of those "it is an honor to work for us" places. Anyhow, while I loved the actual work the whole environment was awful. I got the worst assignments while other nurses had time to sit around and did not get stressed out at all. After some while I spoke up and was told that this is what happens to every nurse new to the unit - I have to proof myself worthy and show that I would be ok with ANY assignment no matter what in case there is nobody to help me. I was speechless and when I was told by another newer nurse to just get through it until the next new nurse starts I just had enough. Nobody wanted to talk to me and I was on break by myself all the time. So ----- I started to look for another job and left after 8 weeks. I will never get a job at that place again - but that is ok with me - I am not willing to support such a system and mistreat other nurses and pretend that it is ok -- it is not.

    If you like nursing otherwise look for another place to work and also work on growing a thick skin. When somebody yells at me (other than an obviously sick patient or distressed relative) I stay calm and just say "sorry, this is inappropriate". One time I turned around and left a yelling MD and told the charge nurse to give me a call once he is able to behave. The key is to not take stuff too personal but also to set a limit in a calm manner. And start to look for something else when it is clear that it does not work out.
  13. by   pixiern15
    Quote from nutella
    I am really sorry OP. Some floors do not have a culture that is good in general. That can happen to any nurse new or experienced when starting or switching a job. Some years ago I got a position at a prestigious hospital - I really wanted to go there, it was very competitive. I is one of those "it is an honor to work for us" places. Anyhow, while I loved the actual work the whole environment was awful. I got the worst assignments while other nurses had time to sit around and did not get stressed out at all. After some while I spoke up and was told that this is what happens to every nurse new to the unit - I have to proof myself worthy and show that I would be ok with ANY assignment no matter what in case there is nobody to help me. I was speechless and when I was told by another newer nurse to just get through it until the next new nurse starts I just had enough. Nobody wanted to talk to me and I was on break by myself all the time. So ----- I started to look for another job and left after 8 weeks. I will never get a job at that place again - but that is ok with me - I am not willing to support such a system and mistreat other nurses and pretend that it is ok -- it is not.

    If you like nursing otherwise look for another place to work and also work on growing a thick skin. When somebody yells at me (other than an obviously sick patient or distressed relative) I stay calm and just say "sorry, this is inappropriate". One time I turned around and left a yelling MD and told the charge nurse to give me a call once he is able to behave. The key is to not take stuff too personal but also to set a limit in a calm manner. And start to look for something else when it is clear that it does not work out.
    That sounds horrible. I'm sorry you had to go through that. I love nursing. Genuinely. I have somewhat thick skin. Otherwise, I would have called a few MDs a few choice words and been out on my keister.
    The thing is, I find it inexcusable to treat people that way. At the risk of sounding naive (being relatively new to the profession), it's already a high stress job, the multidisciplinary teams should look out for each other, not make life hell.
  14. by   NurseIndependa
    The culture shock from nursing school to bedside nursing is INSANE & I can't see myself doing bedside nursing for the long haul. Your post hit the nail on the head.

close