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I am broken


I am broken

I have been overrun, under-supported, and run into the ground. The patient's on my unit are so heavy, and we are so understaffed that my objective each day is to just keep them alive and unharmed. I can't get supplies, administrative support, training, time off, anything. Everywhere I look, the system at my hospital is failing and falling apart.

Management doesn't care about anything. All they do is sing the same old song about the hospital losing money. While the local newspapers document the outrageous pay and benefit packages of Senior Management, the practice of "donating hospital funds to local charities on which their spouses just happen to have paid board positions", the bottomless budget for hiring of Assistant/Associate Administrators (six in the last two years).

Every time there is a failure somewhere further up in the supply chain, which results in less than adequate care being given to a patient, it falls to the bedside nurse to fix it. I have all of the responsibility, with no authority, no power, and no support.

I have fought this battle for more than seven years, and it has left me bereft of hope, and broken in spirit. I'm done.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

I have fought this battle for more than seven years, and it has left me bereft of hope, and broken in spirit. I'm done.
Perhaps you should, at the very minimum, try another setting or specialty before throwing in the towel altogether.

Some have said that private duty is nursing's best-kept secret. Others have enjoyed case management, utilization review, recruiting, infection control, workers compensation nursing, and other areas one would not normally ponder.

I wish you the best of luck in whatever you do.

Sounds like a heartbreaking situation. Hope you find a place that treats ya right soon.

Ah, corporate takeovers of small community hospitals.

Wouldn't it be interesting if the local paper did a story on the understaffing of nurses and the lack of patient safety due to this?

Managers, and middle managers and third tier managers....all of whom probably have not a clue how to take care of a patient.

Too many big wigs that throw money to other big wigs, and everyone eats steak--except for those in the trenches.

This is what we have become. And it is heartbreaking.

I think home health is the best kept secret in nursing. Polish off that resume.

Best wishes.

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

Seven years? Until you are "bereft"?

"If you also do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got".

Been there, done that. Left a position of 14 years after a corporate take over of a small hospital. Did travel nursing in Hawaii, to The Mayo Clinic, and made a ton of new friends.

Now I work from home at a very sweet gig.

Now git to gittin'

It seems to be past time that you should have started a search for different pastures.


Specializes in ICU, PCU. Has 8 years experience.

It's sad that healthcare is now just another profit-driven industry. Why then are we seeing more of "healthcare networks" now than just plain old "hospitals." I call them what they are: healthcare conglomerates. Like automobiles, orange juice, electronic devices... diagnosing and treating a a sick or injured human being is viewed by some as a way to turn profit.

Several times I've had patients respond to medications or imaging appointments with "is this just so you can bill me?" like I'm the one directly profiting from that order. I'd be curious to see the amount of money a hospital makes from services rendered by an individual nurse, on average.

The profit game is handed down to our nursing management also and that's when you really see the sickening changes that affect our practice as nurses (no supplies, understaffing, changing procedures to limit use of supplies, micromanaging on customer satisfaction). Many think the answer is unionization, but can that really be expected to stymy the corporatization of healthcare? Or is it simply a blinder, for nurses, to get them by the endlessly expanding machine?

I've concluded that nurses need to find their common interests within their local geography. Specifically, identify your beliefs and values, sort them out to find common ground. Build a network that includes innovative knowledgeable people to form a network. A systematic process that would require time and patience to communicate to all local stakeholders the real roles and responsibilities nurses support by holding a license. Communities need information about what we do, how we advocate, and what it would be like without RN influence. Creating awareness is the first step. Toes would be stepped on.....as there are players that want to protect the status quo (nurses included). We have to realize we are not able to influence our profession alone. Finding common goals locally and giving presentations to the community using scholarly sources could increase awareness. Finally, the effort would have to be on our own time....an investment without compensation to get started.

Some twenty years ago, the average life of an R.N.'s entire career span (please don't ask me to look up the data :) ) was seven years. I see not much has changed.And no, it's not going to get better. Only different. "Different" is what has kept me going all this time. In other words, I do believe it's time for a change, m' dear.


Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 34 years experience.

Done with the job I hope. Not done with nursing. Having endured the conditions you have for seven years you may be surprised at what you can accomplish with that same energy in a place where it can do some good. All the best to you.

I agree with nursel56. The beauty of this field (with no one area being any less exhausting mentally or physically) is that there are SO MANY opportunities! One of the things that initially drew me to the field was certainly the diversity. I believe any and every experience better prepares you for the next, and I believe even more that going through situations such as your current one brings a whole new light to what is to come for you. The "extreme" experiences are major players in molding you for what is to come. I wish you the best in whatever your future brings!

oh this saddens me to hear of your difficult situation and like many who have already posted, you need to take charge of your career and begin actively looking for other nursing opportunities. I'm sure it's hard to have the energy to job hunt when you have a physically and mentally draining job, but just taking small steps each week toward your goal will make you feel empowered and less hopeless. I wish you the best. Do not give up on Nursing! You have worked too hard to get where your are today.

Yup. These are the sad but inevitable changes of the hospital setting. Mine is going through it too. I'm going to stick it out for brighter days on the horizon when all of these messes clear up. Won't be for years to come but I'm not going anywhere lol

Broken...the CEO just posted an Executive Memorandum stating that we are going to have to "do a lot more with a lot less."

So broken, can't sleep anymore. The years go by and I watch young women get promoted up the ladder while I do four jobs and get passed over. But when the 400lb Meth Head goes postal who do they call? Or when the computers go down and IT is unavailable, who do they call, or when it's time to do incontinence care on the 768lb (yes...for real) COPD patient who do they call, or when they can't get a line into the long-term dialysis patient whose veins are sclerosed into non-functionality, who do they call. They don't call this week's poster child from whatever person is the accelerated promotion flavor of the month. I don't have an Auntie mentoring me up the ladder. I'm just Plain Jane white as a ghost and twice as invisible. I know twice as much about being an RN as these well connected Baby Nurses, but I can't get any recognition for the work that I do. And they call me to clean up their messes. This is just reality. My broken reality.

Edited by TheCommuter
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firstinfamily, RN

Has 33 years experience.

It is very discouraging when you feel like you are being stomped on all the time by everyone. Sounds like you need a new environment!! I had to leave acute care for a few years and now am ready to return to it. I tried Home Health, loved the independence that I had, hated the amount of documentation. I loved sub-acute care, but not the LTC facilities they are located in. Thus, I am returning to acute care. I know I will have to step up my game, but that does not frighten me. If you do not have any support to improve things then it is time to go. I will warn you that the job market is tight and it is hard to find a position that gives you all you want, maybe a step down to a less intense type of nursing will help. Hang in there, don't give up on nursing, just try another type or environment. It did help me when I felt I needed a change. Good Luck!!

At my hospital, certain nurses enjoy privileges like enhanced promotability and better access to training by virtue of membership in a vertically integrated ethnic group. It sucks, but it's reality. I try to be friends with everyone and help out whenever. But at the end of the day, I'm on the outside looking in, and the positions always seem to go to favored few.

Edited by TheCommuter
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icuRNmaggie, BSN, RN

Specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU. Has 24 years experience.

It's not you, it's them.

Nursing and even Medicine are being dismantled and restructured to be a bunch of inexperienced people who take nice pictures. No independent thinkers are invited into the club. They only need to provide customer service, work cheap, and tell them what they want to hear. The reality is that you are only

as good to them as your last good day of work.

Try travel nursing. There are still many ethical hospitals out there. It is very liberating to work for yourself.

Edited by icuRNmaggie