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Already Over Bedside...

Nurses   (609 Views 8 Comments)
by Cruzan_RN Cruzan_RN, ADN (Member)

Cruzan_RN has <1 years experience as a ADN and works as a Stepdown Nurse.

2 Likes; 2,357 Visitors; 28 Posts

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.. And I know I’m not alone in this sentiment. Many of my former classmates who are less than a year at bedside are already planning their exits. Many nurses who are more experienced than I have made remarks about needing something different about it becoming “too much”. All over nursing forums and social media I see people of all years experience trying to escape the bedside or people trying to tell others how to get away from it like they did.

I am over it and that makes me sad, because I want to love it, I love the close interaction with the patients. I think there’s a lot wrong with bedside nursing that needs to be addressed. I often work twelves but end up st work for 13 hours or more trying to complete charting, then commute twenty minutes to pick up my toddler late, until finally reaching home st almost 10pm.  Don’t think anyone, kids or no kids enjoys staying late after a twelve hour shift on a consistent basis. The way it functions now doesn’t promote good mental, physical or emotional health for the nurses who are expected to care for the patients and the stress sent frustrstion barges into home life. It also doesn’t promote safety for patients when their caregivers are stretched thin, floors are understaffed, ratios don’t promote safe patient care or even some of the basic care needed. 

A lot of information I see online about dealing with stress at the bedside and work life balance tells the nurse what they can do but doesn’t address policies, poor practices and how cheap healthcare acts when it comes to hiring adequate staff and how that impacts us. 

I don’t think it’s too much to want a rewarding career but to also want to be able to get home to family on time, take vacations when you want (at my hospital we can’t request weekends off so we have to schedule vacation around weekends) or have a reasonable work life balance. 

 

As as a new nurse I’m not sure what I can do outside of bedside at this time since a lot of jobs require experience but I’m just not very happy here. 

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221 Likes; 391 Visitors; 147 Posts

1 hour ago, D.Rich07 said:

caregivers are stretched thin, floors are understaffed, ratios don’t promote safe patient care or even some of the basic care needed. 

I don't know how facilities are going to keep enough nurses if these issues aren't fixed. I'd like to know the past 50 yr. history of this situation; the older nurses where I worked said it didn't used to be like it is now. They used to have more time with their patients. They used to have few enough to feel they could take really good care of each one.

1 hour ago, D.Rich07 said:

I don’t think it’s too much to want a rewarding career but to also want to be able to get home to family on time, take vacations when you want (at my hospital we can’t request weekends off so we have to schedule vacation around weekends) or have a reasonable work life balance. 

It's not too much to want those things. That's the "American Dream" which will be realized less and less as a tiny minority of our population hoards more and more of the wealth in this country.

1 hour ago, D.Rich07 said:

As as a new nurse I’m not sure what I can do outside of bedside at this time since a lot of jobs require experience but I’m just not very happy here. 

You're right, you need the experience. If you want to stay in nursing then stay in your job at least a year then before quitting start looking for what you want to try next. On the other hand, you never know if there's some employer out there who would want to hire you with the experience you have now. If you're unhappy but need the money, keep working while search and applying elsewhere.

1 hour ago, D.Rich07 said:

Many nurses who are more experienced than I have made remarks about needing something different about it becoming “too much”.

Yep. You are right that you are not alone in your sentiment. Often, as in my case, it's not because I don't love patient care. It's because I was given too many patients and couldn't do all that was expected. And what other jobs make you work 12 or more hours with no breaks? I always thought I was a super hard worker until I became a nurse. Guess wanting a nice relaxing lunch break makes me lazy. 

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Night__Owl has 3 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Dialysis Nurse.

89 Likes; 485 Visitors; 93 Posts

I only worked at the bedside for two and a half years before getting burnt out. 

 

It wasn't the patients, it was the fact that the work environment was very nearly slavery. Eating lunch at the desk, having your bathroom breaks interrupted, having the quality of your work judged by the opinions of your patients. Getting more discipline about not filling out the correct form than you would over doing incorrect patient care. And the creeping, ever increasing workload that you're somehow supposed to do without diminishing the quality and safety of your work. 

 

Vote with your feet. If no one is willing to work in what has become a "normal" hospital environment, then the powers that be will have to change it. I loved working in my little ICU. What I did not love is having our tech position taken away, and on top of that sometimes walking into a short staffed night and having 3:1 instead of 2:1. "Here's 150% of your normal workload. Figure it out, and don't take shortcuts, because lives depend on you."

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN.

963 Likes; 2 Followers; 6,759 Visitors; 1,976 Posts

So....which bedside are you at? Is there someplace less busy in your hospital? are you laughing at me right now???  I remember feeling like I was killing myself with 3-4 ICU patients but it wasn't better in Med-Surg either (6-7 on a busy night, no thanks!) L&D however had a much more reasonable pt ratio.

From a nurse who found her match in ambulatory care: Stay the year - it will make a difference in where you can go. Do the best you can. Look for something else. Be prepared to give up some of your salary for better hours if you want that life balance - I did and I've never regretted it. Hang in there - the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train. 

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Been there,done that has 33 years experience and works as a case manager.

263 Likes; 4 Followers; 68,511 Visitors; 6,203 Posts

Please see the many threads on this topic.

 You are preaching to the choir. Formulate your escape plan now. It might take a year or two of paying your dues, in order to move on.

Best wishes, it's a jungle out there.

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Swellz has 6 years experience and works as a RN.

73 Likes; 9,038 Visitors; 533 Posts

Maybe bedside isn't really for you, or maybe this floor isn't for you, but it sounds like you've been there less than a year. It takes time to adjust. I'm not saying you should do anything unhealthy for you, anything challenging for your family, or anything that perpetuates bad patient care. I'm saying a lot of us struggle in the beginning, as you can see by the many posts that are in the same vein; I know personally, my first year and a half was awful.

And as everyone else has said, a year or two at the bedside opens a lot of doors. If you can hack it, you'll be doing yourself a favor. You may even find that it's not so bad once you get the hang of it, like I did.

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Aliens05 has <1 years experience.

13 Likes; 1,526 Visitors; 98 Posts

I am sure that I am in the minority in thinking here, but hear me out...I think part of what COULD make it better is going to straight 8 hour shifts and here is why. 

Doing 12s you eat when you can anyway and dont usually or sometimes ever get a scheduled lunch, the same can be done on 8 hour shifts. 8 hour shifts also allow you to get home to your children and family at around the same time they would from their job or school hours (if you work days). I realize you will be working more days of the week, however EVERY day you would have enough time to get other stuff done, go to the gym, go to the store, spend the evening, (or morning) with your family. 12s literally leave no time in the day at all. I understand the benefit of getting those extra days off, but at the same time a good amount of nurses pick up extra hours anyway, so those that would want to do this still could. I understand why the hospitals do 12s, and I understand why some people like working them, but I think it would be interesting to see what a change to 8s would do. 

This is one tiny part of the problem, the others could be solved by the obvious, more help which I think should also be obvious to the hospital management, yet it always comes down to one thing, money. 

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pedi_nurse has 5 years experience and works as a School Nurse.

105 Likes; 2 Followers; 1,858 Visitors; 246 Posts

Having been a nurse both before and after having a kid, it is definitely harder to be away from them for the entire day. That alone is enough of a reason not to love bedside. The catalyst for me finally deciding to leave bedside (after I had no luck moving to part or half time) was realizing I had held my patient more than my own child the previous two days. You do not have to keep doing something you really don't want to and that isn't good for you and your family. It is going to be more difficult without that year, but it's not impossible. I'd suggest you look into ambulatory and primary care. Go talk to the managers rather than relying on online apps that automatically weed out candidates without the minimum experience required. While you try to figure it out, I would encourage you to start viewing your shifts as 13-hour shifts. I know it's not what you signed up for, but changing how you think about it may help with some of the frustration. The reality of your current job is that you need more time to chart - so accept that as the norm, rather than the exception. 

I'd also encourage you to find ways to advocate for yourself. Things may not change, but you owe it to yourself and your patients. I've left a job before due to unsafe "policies" or lack thereof. Sometimes that's necessary. But I also tried my best to create positive change as much as I could while I was there. 

Good luck. The first couple of years of nursing are almost always rough, but it's a great profession.

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