*APPLAUD*...MollyJ and Kona and others who contributed to this topic. I have read other BB's and only too well comprehend what most of the down-trodden have said. It is necessary, though, to also reflect some insight into the REASON why we are nurses.
Rating your current job in terms of pay, fulfillment, status, or whatever the measures may be, is a way of stopping and taking a look around you. We definately become almost like robots, functioning on auto-pilot to hurry and get as much done as we possibly can. The problems that abound, (short staffing, wage, HMO's, etc), create pessimism, malnutrition, and bladder dysfuntions.
Before becoming a nurse I worked in a LTC as a CNA. I worked hard and did as much as I could to add quality of living to those at the closing chapters of their lives. I, too, got in trouble for spending 'too much time with the residents'. As insane as that is...that is what I thought my job was...to be there for them. I believe in reminiscence and allowing people to reflect on their lives is soooo healthy, mind, body and spirit wise!
When entering 'Mr. John Doe's' room, seeing his carefully displayed black/white photos and memorabilia, I would take the time to look at them. Focusing on one in a dusty, chrome frame. There he stood, 30 years prior, muscular, tanned and smiling. Standing arm and arm with a Navy chum. Wind blowing their hair, sun in their eyes, and "up to no good" grins. What stories that one picture told! I would comment on the photo, inciting him to offer cherished memories that had not been spoken or even thought of in years. Between his laughs and tears, I would go back in time with him. Life is so short, regardless of age, it goes by fast. Giving him the chance to share a piece of it, gave it value. And as I initiated my exit, "to get back to work", he reached for my hand. With a tear in his eye and his lower lip trembling, he thanked me.
While working as a CNA, I worked with nurses that thought if they stepped outside the Nurse's Station, they would disintegrate. I also worked with nurses that did their duties as well as get out on the floor and wipe butts, lift, and interact with staff and residents. Those nurses where the ones that inspired me to become the nurse I am today.
Nursing still has elements of prestige and respect. It is what you put into it, (as with any job). But I feel the the corporate heads and administrators take full advantage of our giving, compassionate qualities that make us nurses to begin with. We care and give and give until our own mental and physical health compromises. We are (most of us) selfless, charitable, and dedicated. That is why we do what we do, regardless of the compensations. We want to make a difference in lives, to improve lives, to be 'Angels of Mercy'. And because we are made of those qualities, we languish in the frustation of not being able to fix the corporate aspect of our field.
What is a person's occupation WORTH that risks their own life, (exposure to AIDS, TB, Hep, abuse, bladder dysfunction, and malnutrition), to assist in the cares of others? I love my "job", the opporotunities I have to learn, teach, and impact. My voice is heard and my heart is touched daily. I work in a clinic and I earn less $$ than some in Medical Records (they make charts and file them) earn, they don't have a college degree, nor have life or death decisions to make, nor do they get the satisfaction a nurse gets when interacting, and caring for a patient. I rate job satisfaction 4/5, prestige and accomplishment 3/5, wage 2/5...but I am not in it to get wealthy, I want and deserve more and hopefully over time my efforts will prevail. But in the meantime I am doing the work I enjoy.
BabyNurse-I love your statement of..."ATTITUDE determines ALTITUDE". Amen.
I will end with a joke I heard...
~Did you hear about the dead, naked NURSE that washed up on shore today?
~How did they know it was a NURSE?
~Her stomach was empty, her bladder was full and her ass was chewed out!!
Ha ha, hardy hee hee...have a great day and give a good dose of SMILES...i-ii q 1h PRN.