Hospitals Creating Programs for Nurses to Combat 'Compassion Fatigue' - page 3

Programs for Nurses to Combat "Compassion Fatigue "Bruises and pulled muscles, hope and heartbreak - emotional and physical fatigue have contributed to a profound nurse shortage in hospitals... Read More

  1. by   ArwenEvenstar
    Quote from nerdtonurse?
    I'll give you an example of what frustrates me to no end.

    Scenario: Night shift, tele/ICU stepdown unit, 36 beds
    A safe n/p ratio: 4 patients per nurse (we get a LOT of pts because "ICU doesn't have another nurse," not because they actually NEED to be on our floor, so we usually have really high acuity)
    Average n/p ratio: 7 patients per nurse
    a safe CNA/P ratio: 1 per 10 pt
    average: 1 for all 36

    How does this actually play out? I've been a nurse about a year. Last time I worked, there were 4 nurses for 36 beds, and no CNA at all. My charge had been a nurse about 6 months, the other RN only had 18 months as a nurse, and the 4th nurse was 2 months off of orientation. My charge and the newbie have never worked a code. I've worked a bunch (mainly because I don't run in the other direction when the code goes off, but I digress).

    I went thru the whole shift with a knot in my stomach, and going over the ACLS protocols in my head, because if we'd had a code, I was the only ACLS certified person on shift.

    During our shift, we had one person have an MI, and a second had a CVA -- but we had to hold them on our floor until another ICU nurse could drive in... We had one DNR pass. A third of the pts on shift were total cares, q2h turns, we had 10 (10!) PEGs. We had 5 colostomies, including one dementia pt who's family flatly refused to allow her to be in restraints, and she was pulling her colostomy off and fingerpainting herself with the contents 3 times on the shift. We had one person with a BMI of 56 who took everyone on the floor to turn. We had 4 people going thru the DT's. Everyone's meds were late, everyone's turns were late, and we were supposed to give all the totals baths (they got a bath if they were dirty, that's all we had time for).

    Dayshift came in, and we were exhausted, trying to fly around and do the 7 am med pass before dayshift takes over at 0730. Did we get an "atta girl" -- of course not. Our NM B'd us out because the station "didn't look tidy" ...

    Bite me.
    And the hospitals wonder why we have compassion fatigue??!!?!?! IMPROVE WORKING CONDITIONS and maybe we wouldn't have compassion fatigue!!!!!! TREAT the cause of our compassion fatigue, not just the symptom!

    Duh! And they wonder why nurses are leaving the profession or at least leaving the hospital??? I left the hospital almost 4 years ago now - NEVER going back. No amount of money is worth it. I now do private duty. With a BSN and and 17 years experience, I am essentailly "underemployed" doing private duty. But to have my sanity is worth it.

    Besides the short staffing, it is wrong to have such an out-of-proportion ratio of experienced nurses vs. new grads. I had similar expereinces where I would be the ONLY experienced nurse with all the other nurses having one year or less under their belts. I also felt horrible stress and pressure knowing I was the only experienced one on if there was a code or other crisis!
  2. by   nerdtonurse?
    :yeahthat:What kills me is rather than saying, "hey, we need to hire some more nurses, get the PRN pool larger, etc.," they are actually talking about increasing the staffing ratios -- so that it's "normal" to have 8 pts....

    God, I've got to find another job before I lose my license....
    Last edit by nerdtonurse? on Oct 10, '08 : Reason: spelling
  3. by   Wendy_Leebov
    I agree that takiong care of yourself is really the antidote to compassion fatigue. You take care of yourself and you have a lot more to give to others! Thanks for writing this.
    Wendy Leebov