This board has me worried... - page 2

by GraceM

2,255 Views | 15 Comments

I am 32 years old, and until I came to this board, I was seriously considering going to nursing school to be an RN. Is there anyone out there who is satisfied with their nursing job? All careers have advantages and... Read More


  1. 0
    Hi Grace-
    Oh, what a can of worms! LOL!
    I never understood why people where so negative about nursing. I knew I was a hard worker & I couldn't imagine what was so bad. Well, four years post graduation, I see it a little differently ;-). Bear in mind, I LOVE being an RN! I work on med/tele in a hospital, and I ADORE my dayshift coworkers. I find my work interesting, challenging & rewarding. I like all that I do as an RN from the assessments, critical thinking, teaching, support & even basic hands on care.

    BUT... there are certain problems that have made me feel like I want to leave either the hospital environment, or even nursing altogether! What is burning me out, is that we are always staffed by # of patients per nurse.Well, guess what- some patients need frequent nurse attention, and we call this high acuity!

    So, for example, my assignment from today was a measly 4 patients.You would think this was easy; it's only 4 people. Well,we had one nurse aid for 20 patients. SO, that means of my 4 patients, and 3 were very heavy...I am incharge of every bedpan call, every missed lunch tray, every pain med, every bed bath, every nuance in health status change, every family member that wants an update, every medication to be given in a timely fashion, every lab that the MD didn't bother to look up when he rounded, every IV that goes bad, every medication that pharmacy didn't send, etc. It is exhausting!

    I am also there to lend support for my patients who needed a shoulder to cry on...and the job itself is nearly impossible for one single person. I felt today like my pts needed at least 2 of me. I had to change on pt's bed (entirely) twice, do his dressing changes, empty his commode at least 6 times; clean up my other lady and medicate her every time she vomited (4 times), wound care & specialty bed change for another patient, etc. including drawings & descriptions in the progress notes of his chart.

    It's so hard to describe unless you are a nurse, what it is like to have a "heavy" assignment. "Heavy" is when your patients call for you every 5 minutes and you have to change their entire beds 3-4 times, they pull out the IV it took 4 attempts to get in, they don't like the "pancakes" the kitchen sent & want to order up some yummy eggs (2 miles walk to the far end of the hospital to get, and nobody had time to get it but you!), monitor labs, physical status, meds, response, 3 person assist to transfer to the chair (weighs 240 pounds) and call the MD at least 3 times for new orders, etc.

    From 7am when I hit the floor till 5 pm I didn't get a single break...oh, I fib there, as I took 5 whole minutes to scarf down my sandwich, but no break other than that. Then at 1600 (4 pm) I started my "charting" where I have to write down everything I did, including measurements of every wound, bump, owie & bruise, all pain meds given (pre and post response), write summary of progress, update careplan, do chart audit, graph all vital signs, blood sugars and intake, outputs.

    The problem is we need more help. Honestly, I wish they'd hire a few more nurse aids, to help out. I don't mind putting people on commodes, or running to Timbuktu to get some item of food that someone wants, but every extra 15 minutes I spend, it puts me behind on the "timely administration" of the med pass, or dressing change, or whatever. Missing my breaks & staying overtime is the norm lately rather than the exception.

    Often I come on duty in the am, and labs are not drawn, and treatments haven't been done, and the docs are yelling "Why wasn't this done?" and I say, "Oh, I'm sorry, I don't know, but I'll do it." It gets OLD!!!! ;-( We have high turnover & inconsiderate nurses who leave you with IVs about to run dry, IVs infiltrated (pt says "I told her it was burning last night"), commodes brimming with urine, and patients all in severe pain at start of shift! ;-(

    I stay over every day & miss the feeling of going home relaxed & fulfilled. I am charge nurse somedays, and sometimes on those days none of my staff RNs & LVNs have had a darned break and nobody can act like a "team" or help out the other because we are all drowning! I am MAD that the hospital can't provide some more staff if nursing care depends on it. I don't care if it's 4 patients or 8. I have cared for up to 8 pts sometimes it's no sweat... it all boils down to acuity. Some people need frequent nursing care.

    ON the bright side, at least with my degree I know I have options. I am currently giving serious thought to getting out of acute care. It's a shame, really, as I think I am a conscientious nurse, and I LOVE my coworkers, love my floor & love what I do. Why can't they get me some help! I am drowning every day. I have tried going to rallies for legislation, attend meeting & committees in the hospital, and I feel like nobody gives a dam*.
    ;-(

    PS- Today I had this delightful patient, a 50-something year old emaciated man who has probable terminal cancer, and when I walked into his room this morning, he said,"Yay! I'm glad you're my nurse today." I sit home right now, thinking back on it & know that not only did I look out for his best interest in regard to health, but perhaps made him feel cared for & respected (we shared a few laughs too), and made a positive difference in his life for those few hours. It's a great feeling. ;-) So, if after hearing the good & the bad, you have it in your heart to become a nurse...welcome!
    Last edit by Genista on Jun 9, '02
  2. 0
    Hello Grace

    Every job has its downside, and its upside. The real question to ponder when considering what you want to do with your life "jobwise or careerwise" is "What job (or career choice) will make me (you) the most content?"

    Why do you want to become a nurse? Jot down the reasons you want to be a nurse on paper so you can look those reasons over. There are many fields where a person can be a helper to people besides nursing, so just wanting to help people would not be reason enough to choose nursing. It's good to want to help people, but it takes a real burning desire to be a nurse. If you feel it in your gut, then it's probably for you. If the field only looks glamourous to you, then forget about it because it's far from being glamourous. Nursing is serious business, and it takes real guts of steel to be a damn good nurse. THINK ABOUT IT SOME MORE BEFORE YOU DECIDE!
  3. 0
    If the thoughts above about the 'reasons' to enter the PROFESSION, and make it yours ring true and hit home, I'd have no qualms about entering nursing, unless you MUST have certain things that nursnig can't provide.

    I do feel that going in, or here for many years, ALL nurses need to do everything they can to make their home turf 'THE BEST IT CAN BE'. Talk it up/gain respect/teach the pulic, discuss reforms with managers/administrators, write letters to editors/congressmen or Senators; whatever, but DO SOMETHING. (We've seen what doing nothing has done)
  4. 0
    Grace,
    I would reccomend nursing to anyone who really wants to be a nurse. Those people who do not have the "calling" will find it an unbearable job rather than a satisfying profession. I have been a RN since 1966 and have always worked. I have be very thankful for the opportunities that nursing has offered me. While the profession has changed with the times, the basic need to care for the sick has not changed. We still care for those who will leave the hospital and those who will not. At a minimum making nothing worse and hopefully make their life a bit better because we were there.
    It is hard work, working holidays, working off shifts, and working overtime. Oh yes and you will not get rich. I love nursing.
  5. 0
    Grace

    Nursing is a demanding career!

    It takes a special person who has grit, determination, a quest for knowledge, compassion, caring, common sense and a lot of staying power AND a sense of humor

    You have good days and bad days BUT even on the bad days some small comment or action by a patient makes it worthwhile.

    I love my work passionately and could not do anything else.

    When you read the posts on this board what you have to apreciate is that nurses need to sound off, we like to discuss issues at work with other people who understand. We use this board to offload, learn from others and gossip with people who are in simular situations.

    Hope you make a wise decission
    j:kiss
  6. 0
    I can't believe a certain nurse (whom shall remain nameless) hasn't responded to this. She responds to EVERYTHING ELSE!

    GraceM,
    I love my job and I am very happy being an RN. I would do it all over again. The satisfaction that you get from helping others is amazing. Good Luck to you!

    P.S. Kona2, I loved your letter. I am sorry that your working situation is like that. Why don't you try going somewhere else so you CAN go home feeling happy?
    Last edit by shygirl on Jun 12, '02


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