Oh my, sounds like we work at the same place! I've been in nursing for 6 years and it's never been this bad. Just the other nite I was working evenings on our Med-Surg floor. We get general surgery, vascular (fem-pops, carotids)and many more. I was starting the evening out with 7 patients. 4 were already on the floor, and my 3 post-ops all came at 1600. If that wasn't a mess. I ended up during the evening, walking down the hall crying. I just didn't know what to do next. Don't get me wrong, I am a very strong person, but something just snapped that nite. I just couldn't take it. Families, phone ringing off the wall, demanding patients, confused and restrained patients. It was just too much.
What's even more interesting, before we started listening to report that evening, we beeped our nurse manager. She calls back and we tell her "Do you realize we don't have enough nurses?", accordingly to our hospital guidelines). Her reply was "This is all your getting, so you better get busy!"
I just don't know how much more I can take. Our floor is so demanding anyway, Central lines, PCA's, Fentanyl epidurals, TPN, foleys, NG's, IV's, chemstrips, almost every body is a diabetic theses days, and multiple medications, was about to forget all the pain meds since these are fresh post ops. Then throw in all the charting, care plans
, pain med documentation. Something has got to give. There is NO WAY I provided safe, patient care that evening.
Nurses being pulled to our floor, we try not to give any new postops, carotids, Epidurals, or confused patients to them out of kindness. Which means we get all the HARD patients.
What can we nurses do? Our nurses are leaving left and right for other jobs or positions within the hospital. The previous shift nurses will sometimes stay and help get things settled, but gosh they're tired too. The hospitals are working us to death.
Rumor has it that hospitals are not hiring new employees because it's cheaper to pay the overtime than to fork out all the money on a new employee - insurance, benefits, etc. Well, I'm only 43 years old and I leave there feeling like I'm 83! With no brain cells intact. Sometimes I don't know what I've charted and what I forgot. This is not safe. Some of our nurses jokingly say as they leave "Well, at least they're all alive and breathing when I left"
What can we do?
Totally disgusted, frustrated, and mad that my patient's are NOT getting what they pay for. The care that they deserve.