I'm sick of taking care of people who don't care

  1. I'm really feeling burnt out on taking care of people who are self destructive and have no interest in doing anything to make their lives and health better. I'm sick of a system that is like a big, enabling wet nurse to people who are going to go right back out and continue with all the bad habits again, only be back in the hospital to suck on more of the healthcare titty that puts them back together again so they can go out and continue to screw up their health some more. I'm sick of the total lack of responsibility I see every day I work.

    I was talking to my stepbrother who is a chiropractor. His clients are a different group. They are interested in health maintenance and are motivated to improve their health through their own efforts. He's really doing something for people. I'm not. Sure, I have a good bedside manner and manage to connect with my patients and gain their trust. But basically I hate the American healthcare system totally and completely. At this point I'm a nurse only for the money.
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    About FireStarterRN

    Joined: Jun '07; Posts: 5,292; Likes: 7,633
    Freelancing
    Specialty: 15 year(s) of experience in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele

    157 Comments

  3. by   oramar
    You sound like you are saying you would like to work in wellness. I have often thought the same thing myself.
  4. by   Magsulfate
    ohh yeah, i agree with you....
  5. by   pagandeva2000
    Sure, I am sick of it, also. And, I believe more money is wasted by chasing after such patients.

    An example of money wasted (but, looks like I'll benefit-sorry to say) is that recently, I asked to be crosstrained. The best thing I have ever decided because I really learned more about how insane this hospital functions. Currently, I have been assigned to work OB/GYN and just yesterday, I was told that over 1500 abnormal labs (yeah, that's right!!) have been discovered where the patients have not been contacted. We deal with an immigrant population that migrates often, to avoid INS. People have been trying to contact many of these patients since 2007. They are desperately afraid of lawsuits, so, they received an approval to pay staff overtime to try and reach these people. So, beginning this weekend, until only God knows when, I will reap the overtime with a few PCAs to call and try to trace these people. Today, a PCA taught me how to use the computer system to obtain the labs, trace when they last came, etc...

    So, we did a few today for me to get the picture. Did about 50. I am serious, most of their numbers were wrong, bad addresses, etc... I mean, many of them did not bother to return for their results. Now, I KNOW that this is a lawsuit waiting to happen...that the facility is ultimately responsible for this fiasco, but, when I was reading the computerized charts, I saw notes where the providers told these patients that it would be in their best interests to return, since many of them admitted to having multiple sexual partners and were not protecting themselves. Many have been treated at least 3 times in one year for Chlamydia and other diseases (some were treated for two VDs at the same time). I have run into many a few weeks ago where I did a great deal of teaching about their disease and the importance of treatment for both, themselves and their partner. At least three told me they had no intention of treating their partner, and one even ripped up the addresses I gave for the Department of Health (yet, somehow, I knew that they still intended to sleep with the same guy who infected them).

    I have had angry women call their partners on their cell phone to cuss them out, then, pass ME the cell phone. One dude said to me "Tell her she got if off of a toilet seat. I don't want to get in trouble for cheating on her (can you IMAGINE??)", only for the woman to get back on the phone and promise to cook him a great dinner when she gets home.

    You MUST be a psychic, who read my mind this week...I plan to send a blank check for $3.99 a minute for this one...
  6. by   DeepFriedRN
    Amen, my friend. I just feel like, I'm keeping myself as healthy as I can. Why am I breaking my back for you, Mr. 350lbs-diabetic-still-eating-ding-dongs-won't-exercise-etc..? Why you? Because you have abused your body to the point that it is breaking down, you continue to abuse it, and for some reason you can't seem to comprehend that you are your own problem, despite the fact that I've tried to educate you about your medical issues. We can't fix you sir. You need to do it, at least as far as it's possible.
    I love the education aspect of nursing. But when someone you've educated the last 3-4 times they were hospitalized about appropriate diet, importance of good blood sugar control, need for exercise, etc for their diabetes; comes in (again!) and says "No, no special diet. I eat whatever I want, and just give myself a few extra units of insulin", I want to beat my head against a wall. My paycheck is the only thing keeping me in this field at this point. And I HATE that. I'd really love to love my job again..
  7. by   KalipsoRed
    I'm sick of the system more than I am of patients who may be using the system. I honestly believe that if healthcare didn't cost an arm, two children, and a leg 1/2 of the population that presents themselves to the ER in late stage illness wouldn't exist. Frankly I also believe that your "example" of who actually cares about their health care and wellness is rather poor. Rich and upper middle class people go to a chiropractor and care about wellness. People with a lower economic status can't afford to dwell on "wellness" because it costs almost as much as seeing a doctor and it does not "cure" any body like an antibiotic might.
    My father, a hard working man all his life, works as a computer contractor for a bank. This is a job that he has had for 10 years and despite asking multiple times he still does not have insurance. So now you have a man who has type II diabetes who can't afford to make regular vists to a foot specialist and an endocrinologist to get regular check ups. A 50ish year old man who has not been able to find work elsewhere because "his computer skills are out dated." A man who does not take care of himself as he might if a doctor's visit didn't cost $200. My mother is in the same position. She got laid off a job that had insurance after 12 years of employment. She really hasn't been able to find a new one (neither of my parents have a degree) because her "skills aren't up to date" even though she has gone regularly to free unemployment agencies to work on her computer skills. My parents don't take care of themselves as they should and to most of us know-it-all judgemental nurses it might appear like they don't care about their health. Well people its because they can't afford to care! This would be why our health care system SUCKS!
    Next time you come across a patient that is doing something "stupid" think a second. Maybe having unprotected sex with multiple people is how your patient has to pay the bills. We are so submerged in our culture with propaganda stating "There is always a way out" or "You can make a choice to do something different" but those statements are not always true. In fact with they way our economy is right now I would bet more often than not the people you are running into didn't have many options available to them.
    Look I'm not saying that healthcare should be free and that regarless of the patient's stupidity we should have to take care of them, but I am saying that if decent health care was remotely affordable maybe we wouldn't have as many patients who don't seem to care about themselves.
  8. by   SummerGarden
    i do not get worked up over patients who do not care... it might sound bad but it is a way to protect myself from burn out... i worked in social services in a former life... i used to care about the drug out heroin addict more then she cared about herself.... i cared about the kids she breast fed and gave a one-way trip to the nicu... i cared about the suicidal psych patient on my weekends and visited her on my days off to make sure she took her medications.... and much much more!!! well guess what? that hurt my health and my family!

    so in nursing i have taken a different approach to people... i provide the best customer nursing service i can... if they care, so do i... (at work only)! if they don't care ... i try my best to teach... motivate... and i move on very quickly. in other words, i do not take the lives of others personally or judge them and i definitely do not bring their problems home.

    op: if you are not a place in your life to do as i do, then maybe a different specialty as you have suggested (a wellness clinic) is better for you at this time...?? i used to have trouble separating or letting things go... so i am not putting you down. i am just providing support. gl!


    -new grad rn
  9. by   KalipsoRed
    Also kelliegrl I know you may believe that you have tried so hard to educate Mr.300lb diabetic but I would bet that you are probably wrong. I have a RN friend who got type II diabetes and most of the stuff she truly understands about the illness she had to do indepth research to find out, not something she learned from the nurses at the hospital or her doctor. Which just says to me that we as nurses are not given the indepth education we need to know to help our patients understand their illness and in all probability if your floor is as busy as mine you probably only have enough time to say approx 5 sentences to your patient all shift. Both of those instances do not lead to patient comprehension. Second diabetics have a very high instance of depression. I don't know if you have ever had major depression but if not then you can not really appriciate their lack of hope and motivation. Why don't you try to get them a psych consult and on some meds before you teach them something? It may help a great deal.
  10. by   foilole
    I so believe in what your stating, I'll admit that the only thing keeping me in nursing is my paycheck..
  11. by   nerdtonurse?
    Honestly, thinking on it, probably 8/10 of the patients I treat are in for self inflicted problems -- DKA in a DM who won't check his sugars and won't stick himself if it's high, CVA after years of non compliance with the BP meds, MI for the 3rd time and still trying to smoke in the bed, AIDS in a patient who had so many "partners" show up we just needed to bring the lab to the room and test all 10 of them. A 450 pound diabetic who threw a fit (and his diet soda) across the room because we wouldn't make him ice tea and let him order in Pizza Hut. I can't tell you how much I'd like to throw open the door and yell, "You wanted this, worked hard to do it to yourself, so go home and enjoy it. Maybe I can actually help the next person. GET OUT."
  12. by   baleyja
    Everything changes in pain.I have a mother who has been in denial since her youngest son was diagnosed with ALL. She is always complaining about the nursing care and blaming us for the fever her son is enduring. Sometimes or most of the time it can get to you. I believe in making a difference.
  13. by   ghillbert
    If you're that burnt out, might be time to investigate other options. I don't want to sound holier-than-thou, but the patients do deserve compassionate healthcare from someone non-judgemental. There are so many avenues in nursing, it's hard to imagine sticking around in the current environment if you are that unhappy.
  14. by   DeepFriedRN
    Quote from KalipsoRed
    Also kelliegrl I know you may believe that you have tried so hard to educate Mr.300lb diabetic but I would bet that you are probably wrong. I have a RN friend who got type II diabetes and most of the stuff she truly understands about the illness she had to do indepth research to find out, not something she learned from the nurses at the hospital or her doctor. Which just says to me that we as nurses are not given the indepth education we need to know to help our patients understand their illness and in all probability if your floor is as busy as mine you probably only have enough time to say approx 5 sentences to your patient all shift. Both of those instances do not lead to patient comprehension. Second diabetics have a very high instance of depression. I don't know if you have ever had major depression but if not then you can not really appriciate their lack of hope and motivation. Why don't you try to get them a psych consult and on some meds before you teach them something? It may help a great deal.
    I appreciate where you are coming from, but I beg to differ. We actually have several ways that we educate a pt on diabetes. Not only do I do it (and yes thanks, I do take the time to do it, it's part of the job), but when i'm done the dietician comes in and does her whole deal. And then after that, when they are discharged, I refer them to the Diabetes education classes, which are right at the same hospital they were just discharged from (so they know how to get here) AND are held in english AND spanish. I also send them home with very a very straightforward booklet with all the same info they have received while hospitalized. ALL 3 OR 4 TIMES he was here. So, frankly, this person has had ample and multiple opportunities to learn about his illness and the appropriate ways to care for himself. And granted, depression can be awful, but what I would like to know from you is this..respectfully, where is it that personal responsibility comes into your equation? HE has mistreated his body. HE is being offered the knowledge and tools to try and manage it, yet refuses to partake of them. THAT is not my problem, nor is it something I can fix. HE needs to desire to help himself. No one can give that to him. Bottom line.

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