SORRY THIS IS SO LONG - but it should clarify some of my frustrations:
I got my issue of Nursing2004 today. I generally flip through magazines backwards (no reason, except that they seem to "flip" better that way...and maybe because the meatier articles are in the back). So anyway, I'm flipping through and thinking, "well, this is what I do like about nursing...this medical info is really interesting..." etc., etc.
THEN I get to the legal advice column at the front of the mag, where people write in with questions about various scenarios they've encountered. One nurse wrote about her hospital's policy of having every pregnant woman, no matter how far along, always be transported via wheelchair - no matter if they've come in to deliver or for a routine test. She relayed an incident in which a 7-mo-pregnant patient came in for an ultrasound, but there were no wheelchairs available. She called up to the doc's office and the doc demanded she send the patient on up, on foot via the elevator, and to not wait for a wheelchair.
The legal advice was that if the nurse sent the pt on foot and the pt fell, the nurse would be liable. The advice columnist said the nurse should not have let the pt go to the office on foot, that she shouldn't let the doc bully her into it, etc.
So my frustration is this: It is interesting to know about the medical things, the patho, the treatment for various diseases/conditions, etc. It is rewarding to "help" or "make a difference," etc. It doesn't even bother me to do some of the icky stuff and not get thanked for it. BUT - what bothers me is the fact that instead of doing any of these things, I so often find myself dealing with scenarios like the wheelchair one!
Instead of taking care of the tasks that need to be done - instead of doing the most thorough and best assessment I can do - instead of being able to focus on the patho and theory behind my patient's condition and plan of care...I end up spending time trying to navigate issues like the wheelchair one.
I was telling a friend the other day that I am frustrated with things like being expected to act independently in a critical/code situation, or know all the pharmacological implications of every drug my pt's taking - yet, I have to get a doctor's order for which infant formula a baby can take before I can feed the baby.
We can have policies that say parents have to step out of the NICU during change-of-shift/report time - yet, we don't have a policy against admissions coming in during change-of-shift (therefore, trying to get a baby's weight, start IV's, fax orders to pharmacy, etc.,etc. DURING report).
We are expected to understand all the radiological/etc tests that are done in the hospital, and know what our pt's results are from those tests - yet, we cannot discuss the results with the parents at all (therefore, being forced to sometimes LIE to babies' parents).
It's like nursing is the "catch-all" job in the hospital. In other professions, there is more of a hierarchy, a clear delineation of what kinds of tasks go to which role. But with nursing, you're doing everything from cleaning a baby scale to hanging vasoactive drips to faxing orders to pharmacy to suctioning a vent. You're doing a lot of gruntwork while at the same time, expected to have practically the same knowledge base as the M.D. Just doesn't make sense to me. I mean, I'm getting used to it, and I do understand that a lot of that gruntwork does have important physiological implications (cleaning:sepsis prevention, wrinkled linens:bedsores, etc.). BUT there is simply not enough time in the day for me to tend to EVERY DETAIL that needs to be tended to as a nurse - AND be there emotionally for my patients AND get all my charting done in a timely fashion!!
So - these are just some of my frustrations!
I'm 33 yrs old, just became a nurse 8 months ago. I think I am getting to the point in my life where I just don't want to put up with some of the absurdities in the nursing profession, as compared to other professions. I am old enough to know that life is too short and my family (hubby and two young daughters) is too precious to me to spend my days frustrated and wiped out. And I am young enough to go switch back to my previous profession, and to (eventually) recover financially from the cost of nursing school.
The only things keeping me in the profession right now are (1) guilt about "giving up" on the investment I've made getting INTO the profession, (2) guilt about knowing that I do give good care, and maybe I should stay in it to counterbalance some of the BAD nurses I've seen, (3) and the thought that ONE DAY, which seems to be very far away, I will enjoy it more because I'll have more knowledge and/or I'll be in an environment I prefer.