I have been in nursing forums for a while now, and I have heard many negative comments about the working conditions for RNs. The conclusions I have reached based on my observations may anger some, but I will voice them anyway:
1. The nurses who feel degraded often don't have a very caring heart. They need status in their profession of nursing, but they don't realize that status-seeking and truly caring for others is most often mutually exclusive. It's hard to provide perineal care when you really--in your heart--just want to tell others what to do.
2. Nurses who want to tell doctors what to do and then feel disregarded by them don't seem to realize what the profession of nursing is and what the profession of medicine is. Nurses care for patients who can't care for themselves because they are sick; they assess patients and make objective observations and statements about the patients condition. They administer prescribed treatments and medications often based on their own assessments (i.e., PRN meds, sliding scales, ranges, etc.); they educate patients and families. They don't diagnose medical conditions and prescribe treatments. They diagnose conditions related to nursing care and implement nursing interventions to acheive a good outcome.
I think nursing is the highest profession, but a lot of nurses think physician is the highest profession, and they will always feel put down by physicians--especially when the physician doesn't allow them to play physician. Imagine how you'd feel if a respiratory therapist or radiology tech made nursing recommendations to you.
3. Short staffing is a problem. If one has their application in and is seeking interviews in hospitals with better nurse/patient ratios then I truly feel for their plight in regards to staffing. If they aren't lifting a finger to change hospitals, then it can't bother them that much. And here's the real sticker: every nurse I've met that complains the most about staffing is the nurse who typically does the least for his/her patients. I'm not saying there's a correlation; I'm just saying it's what I have seen.
4. A person can have a positive attitude in the worst of situations. We can't just be nurses to our patients; we have to be nurses to everyone around us. We care for the sick, but we care for our coworkers by keeping a positive attitude at all times--even if we have to fake it at all times.
Just my ramblings--please feel free to disagree and tell me about it