Cynical or jaded or realistic? Hmmm...let me think.
All three. After 25 years, plus those years of nursing school, I've seen too much not to be any or all at different times. What's bad is when they all happen at the same time as they did for me a few years back - resulting in my exit from the hospital world. Except for financial reasons, I've never regretted that exit, either. I work for myself now so some months are good, others...well, let's just say I've learned to really like grits cooked 30 different ways! :chuckle
I guess more than anything, I get frustrated seeing so many of the "young" nurses on this forum (and others) fighting the same battles we fought all those years ago. Just now, in another thread (Emergency Nursing, I think), someone was talking about not getting dinner breaks. Someone came along with the response that "ER Nurses are a different breed" and went on to say that this person should not expect these breaks, etc., etc. I'm still itching to reply to that thread! These are unpaid breaks these people are entitled to, yet someone - anyone - condones staffing situations that allow this? Think about this. If one person "gives" the hospital 30 minutes a day at a rate of $20.00/hour, that computes to $2,500/year per staff member. Assuming a staff of 8 nurses/24 hours, that computes to $20,000/year based on 50 weeks. And that is just the ER staffing. Other nurses on other floors are not getting their breaks either. So lets say a staff of 200 in the hospital...now we have a savings in free labor of $500,000/year? Correct my math if I'm wrong - seems huge to me, but that's what I have. Now, in another thread, Klondike, I believe it was, asked if nurses would work overtime without overtime pay and the overwhelming response was "NO!"
Absolutely not. Overtime or I'm not working, etc. Excuse me folks, but we collectively condone doing without our unpaid breaks, working for the benefit of the hospital...yet get up in arms about no OT pay?
And those are just small examples. So yes. I'm cynical and jaded because years back...back around the time some of you were just being born...some of us were fighting these same battles and not only are we not winning, we've backed up in many respects.
And what does this say for us as a professional group when we allow hospital administrations to railroad us into these types of situations? Now that I work in the business arena, I see things quite differently. People go to lunch. Extended lunches sometimes, though they may be "working" lunches or business meetings. They leave on time. Walk into any office building around 10 AM and see the line at the deli with staff taking their morning break with bisquits and coffee! Sure...there occasional end-of-month pushes that might require a "short" lunch or staying late...none of us can object to the exception...but to make this type of stuff the rule rather than the exception causes me to have a great deal of cynicism about our profession.
I need to be quiet now. I'm gonna get myself in trouble. And you know, I'm betting I reply to that ER thread before the weekend is over! It's been on my mind all day.