Hanging up the scrubs.

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    Hi all! I've been a clinical nurse for the past four years, ultimately transitioning to the ER which I thought would be the love of my life. I learned a lot, just not the lessons I'd originally intended. I have witnessed so many problems with health care up close and personal, as any ER nurse will attest - the frequent fliers, the underserved psychiatric population, the drug seekers, and ultimately the widespread abuse of the system. I had kind of an eye opening experience while triaging a young kid who got hooked on pain medication after coming to the ER with a relatively minor injury and now returned for detox. I realized in that moment that I am part of the problem. I see how many resources are wasted, how many unnecessary narcotics are given, how much room for improvement exists for most of the chronic health conditions treated in the ER. I truly had a crisis of conscience after this and decided that I needed to pursue something I could really believe in. That said, I am about to begin a role in management. I have big aspirations and hope I can help be part of a true reform that healthcare so badly needs - one day at a time, one small task at a time.
    Orca, xoemmylouox, nkochrn, and 9 others like this.
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  3. 8 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Just wanted to say thanks for your post- I really can relate. I've also been an RN for four years and made my way recently (February) to the ER, and as you described, much of the ER came as a rude awakening, one that continues to surprise me on a daily basis. I've thought long and hard about the problems you described, as well as the inner conflict you mentioned- most days I feel like I'm part of the "system" and just by my very role, feeding into the ER culture that's been created, by a multitude of causes and factors. I don't know where as a society we can even begin to address some of these deeply rooted issues- the political, cultural, social, economic discussions could be endless. Having said that I'm glad you are trying to make a difference- you are going into ER management, I'm assuming, by your post? Would you be able to elaborate on the kind of direction you want to take to begin addressing some of the issues you mentioned? Thank you for your post- I'm grateful to not be alone in feeling that the ER system is a true reflection of our health care system these days- a giant mess that continues to get messier.
  5. 1
    Don't forget us little people, and the Highest Congratulations!! on the next phase of your career.

    I can't imagine the courage, battles, set-backs (valleys), mountains climbed/moved, victories, sleepless nights, and the hard endless work/milestones you completed to arrive there, but I am proud that you have "arrived!"

    I said don't forget us in lighthearted humor, but by your post- I can see you do remember the most important thing-the patient/client.It is so easy for them to get lost in the system, fall through the "cracks," give-up on an optimum wellness plan, abuse ED's while missing the blessing of a PCP, and get fragmented/incomplete care. But, knowing there are driven, caring, progressive, and revolutionary thinkers in our profession's leadership with concrete goals, solid skill-sets, and a heart for the patients holistic health outcomes from their supervised care; I know our service to our fellow man will just continue to become more valuable-as it always has- because of leaders like you!!

    Thanks for sharing a huge part of your journey with us, and please keep us updated on your progress. Please don't get discouraged with obstacles, walls, and new mountains you'll certainly find-any worthwhile change ALWAYS meets resistance!! I'm proud of fellow nurses like you with guts to go against the status-quo, you are an inspiration to us all!
    Orca likes this.
  6. 14
    It did take me a long time to reconcile that "bad" aspects of the ER. But what keeps me there is the positives. Like:
    Making a scared little kid or big kid feel safe and helping them get better.
    Saving lives
    Trying to be supportive of people who lose their loved ones and help them through the worst day of their life.
    Giving education to diabetics and having it FINALLY click for some of them.
    I see to it that the homeless psyche pt has at least a few hours of warm blankets, food and respect. Some day I might be in their shoes.
    Giving TLC to really sick pts
    I always keep in mind that some of the people I come in contact with are going to die very soon and I may be their last human contact so I try to always treat everyone with kindness, respect and dignity.
    Orca, xoemmylouox, OldPhatMC, and 11 others like this.
  7. 7
    I don't work in the ER, not even a hospital anymore, but have felt that healthcare has been broken for a long time. I work with the elderly population which has its own set of struggles, especially for those with mental illness. Mental illness is under treated in this country due to economic and social reasons: insurance doesn't want to cover these illnesses and people don't want to seek help for something that society views as being all the patient's fault rather than illness. This causes shame and those afflicted to fall through cracks, self-medicate through alcohol or other non-therapeutic means, and fail to seek out treatment. I would imagine that working in the ER you wish you could do more to help these people, but unfortunately the system doesn't give you many choices. I hope that you keep your passion to help others and educate yourself on what can be done to bring about change. We are also consumers of healthcare and realize what we may face ourselves. Healthcare is about profit, but it can't be solely about that, because as a society if we stop caring, we shall cease to exist as a society.
    charlo81, Orca, SDALPN, and 4 others like this.
  8. 0
    Congratulations to your new post. I hope that you will really be a part of the reform for the better. It is right that it can take a small step at a time.
  9. 0
    I worked in the ER for a short time. I came out of there a strong RN with a great set of skills but yes, the problems got to me, too and I became kind of calloused and judgemental way too fast. it bothered me enough that I left the ER. I'm glad I did. I'm working in a great field now and am still one of the best on my shift at starting IV's!
  10. 0
    Good luck
  11. 0
    Best of luck to you. I hope that you can make the change to improve the culture of your ER.


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