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Cry me a river...?

Nurses   (3,072 Views 54 Comments)
by Jedrnurse Jedrnurse, BSN, RN (Member)

Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a school nurse.

11,331 Visitors; 1,168 Posts

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I have been in healthcare for a long time (since just out of high school) in one form or another. There's a trend I've noticed with a lot of posts that I'm wondering if it's new, or if I've just happened to miss it over the decades.

So many people post about crying at work, before work, after work, well, you get the picture. Are things really that bad, or are people less "resilient" (to use a recent buzzword)?

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304 Visitors; 43 Posts

People have always cried a lot. About their jobs, kids, and everything else!  The only thing that’s new is advertising that fact. It’s fun for a lot of people to take photos and share them, because then their friends jump in with sympathy or “hey me too!” and it makes them feel less alone. 

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN and works as a Asst Community Manager @ allnurses.

15 Followers; 134 Articles; 186,613 Visitors; 20,719 Posts

Hmmm...I don't see this in my position now. However, in my 10 years in a level one trauma center, I did cry probably half a dozen times, but never in public. 

I think there are several factors here:

Type of position

Experience level of the employee (including life experience)

Amount of involvement in the situation (either bystander or participant)

Total amount of stress - from both work and life sources


What situation are you seeing this in?

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1 Follower; 13,291 Visitors; 1,470 Posts

People who cry aren't necessarily less resilient. They may be more resilient. Crying helps people cope with bad situations and process their feelings. 

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a school nurse.

11,331 Visitors; 1,168 Posts

40 minutes ago, FolksBtrippin said:

People who cry aren't necessarily less resilient. They may be more resilient. Crying helps people cope with bad situations and process their feelings. 

Possible, but I'm not sure that crying at work inspires confidence in a professional's reputation.

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a school nurse.

11,331 Visitors; 1,168 Posts

55 minutes ago, traumaRUs said:

Hmmm...I don't see this in my position now. However, in my 10 years in a level one trauma center, I did cry probably half a dozen times, but never in public. 

I think there are several factors here:

Type of position

Experience level of the employee (including life experience)

Amount of involvement in the situation (either bystander or participant)

Total amount of stress - from both work and life sources


What situation are you seeing this in?

That's my point. I've never seen it with the nurses I've worked with over the years. I'm going by posts on AN. Didn't know if it's a new "thing" or just over represented by some people who share online.

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missmollie has 4 years experience as a ADN, BSN and works as a RN.

13,569 Visitors; 866 Posts

It's an anonymous nursing forum.  Did you have an anonymous nursing forum available back in your day, or did you just complain to your significant other?  Did your complaints mirror these complaints?  Has healthcare significantly changed in the last 20 years? 

I think it's easier to complain on here because other nurses "get it".  Sometimes our spouses don't, sometimes things are out of our control, and sometimes people just need to complain.  You are probably not seeing the same people complaining, you might see more venting because this is a good place where people understand what others are going through.

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2 hours ago, Jedrnurse said:

Are things really that bad, or are people less "resilient" (to use a recent buzzword)?

Well, here's my perspective. As a new grad on a M/S specialty floor, I had an assignment as rough as any acute care assignment I've seen posted here. I felt well-prepared and was definitely well-supported during orientation despite no fancy "residency."  I had one preceptor, who was a nurse who had been nursing as long as I had been alive. She was very particular but with an overlay of basic kindness/acceptance. She comes to mind as one of two best nurses I've ever met, and ever expect to meet. 

When I moved to the shift I would be working, I was precepted by one other nurse who was also accepting and very professional, but a little more tightly wound. (No problem).

On the back end, we were all supported in our dealings with patients, physicians/providers, and families. I don't remember particular complaints about any care I gave, but generally when people complained about something, the nurse's actions were considered in context. It wasn't just, "somehow this is your fault, because 'complaint'." I was not watched and critiqued and constantly audited. I was not timed in performing my duties, but since there was a lot to do I had to be organized and RMAO in order to get it done. And I did.

When, at some point in my first year or two, I misunderstood something and made a med error (that actually ended up helping my patient but that's beside the point), I was devastated and called about 5 different people to report what I had done, talked to my manager, filled out incident report, directly told the patient myself. The patient thanked me; as for management, their response was that this was an error waiting to happen and the process would be rectified. And it was. I was commended for handling it promptly and prudently.

I was the leader of my team of patients, and I accepted guidance from others who were not RNs as was sometimes appropriate because they simply had more experience than me, and in return they accepted my delegations and other decisions I had to make. They did not have their own separate mission from the employer that they were tasked with doing without any input from me while expecting me to retain responsibility for what they did.

There was time to spend with patients. Time for families and their concerns.

Oh....and we had "working breaks" almost every single shift (eating in-between answering call lights and helping patients, etc). And no one expected anyone to somehow not be paid for this.

It was all basic give-and-take.

Support and common human decency have left the building.

I'm not a crier, but I might think about crying if I walked into the sort of general workplace disdain for nurses that is rampant now. In fact, if I did, I would walk right back out and find something else to do with my life.

 

 

 

 

 

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Emergent has 25 years experience and works as a Emergency Room RN.

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I think some  new nurses have always cried. The whole thing is overwhelming at first. Some people are more prone to tears than others. 

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I don't ever remember being as stressed at work as I am now. I used to be able to take care of up to 12 med/surg patients, and do a good job too!  One night I had 7 continuous infusions and we had no pumps then.  My intakes were spot on.  Now I run, click buttons and can't spend time like I want to with my 5-6 patients.  I barely get a chance to eat or go to the bathroom.  Patients are so entitled acting and demanding.  " I want ice!",  " I want a spoon!".  God help us, nursing is.... Well, I'm not sure what it is now, but it isn't what it used to be when I could actually take good care of people instead of doing defensive charting.

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Swellz has 6 years experience and works as a RN.

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When are you comparing it to? Before social media was a thing? Because it is very possible people felt this way before, but the platform for sharing it constantly didn't exist, so you just weren't exposed to it.

I personally am a crier when overwhelmed. I hate that I am, but it happens. Of course I don't think it's good for my reputation, but on an anonymous forum, I don't have to worry about that, do I? So it's easier for me to share that on here. But, if I cry at work, I don't do it out in the open where people can see, so you wouldn't see me do it. Unless I really needed to chart at the same time lol, which I have done.

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OldDude works as a School Nurse.

6 Followers; 1 Article; 28,887 Visitors; 4,768 Posts

I grew up in an era where men don't cry. I never saw my dad cry...ever...even at my sister's funeral. I get the urge to cry occasionally but am usually able to suppress outward signs...usually. 

My Sweet Petunia is a crier. One of her God given traits is compassion and she is a fantastic sympathy crier. From way too young of age she was thrust into a caregiver/peacemaker role in a house with her "hippie" mom at the time.

So...I think the propensity to cry easily or not is a result of the formative environment one grows up in and is a coping mechanism for life in general.

So you can take my opinion and $10.00 and get a cup of coffee at Starbucks any time.

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