Published May 18, 2020
I would like to share my experience as a RN for over 20 years. Besides providing patient care, being a nurse in modern times is toxic to your mind, body, and soul! Being the "backbone" of the healthcare industry, nurses are modern day slaves for healthcare administration, physicians, and boards of nursing. Nurses are expected to maintain the highest standards of professionalism both on the clock and in your own personal off time. Any actions less than perfect, on or off the clock, others will judge and criticize you as not being a "good nurse". As a nurse, your not allowed to be human and you will always have this "good nurse" complex hanging over your head. Have any of you nurses ever heard physicians be told a "good doctor" would do this or that? I highly doubt it yet nurses are the ones correcting physicians mistakes on a daily basis. Ha! Yet nurses are the ones most frequently judged. Toxic for your mind, body, and soul.
Lets now talk about this flawed healthcare system. Over the past two decades, light has been shed on the fact that healthcare consumer costs in the USA is the highest in the world, however, favorable patient outcomes are sub-optimal compared to several other countries which has stimulated the need for healthcare reform. Who do you think this has had the greatest impact on? Nurses! We are now expected to provide higher quality of care using less resources. Seriously? This is like a slap in the face. It's like nurses are being punished for a flawed system from the get go and this concept makes it sound like nurses have been lacking in compassion, lazy, and providing poor patient care. Toxic for your mind, body, and soul.
How about this eternal nursing shortage? I just completed a RN to BSN degree and learned one of the methods of mitigating this nursing shortage is to promote teamwork. I am all for teamwork but patient workloads that I am unable to manage on my own puts my patients safety and professional license on the line. Assuming someone else will be available to help me with my workload is no guarantee. This is another situation where nurses are having to bridge another flawed area of the system. It is not the nurses fault that the industry can't recruit and maintain nurses. With the harsh working conditions and low pay in comparison, I am not surprised we can't get more people to join the nursing workforce. Toxic for your mind, body, and soul.
Patient safety. Patient safety only applies when the voice of administration is directed towards the nurse. However, when the nurse's voice regarding patient safety is directed towards administration we are stepped on like cockroaches.
Education requirements for nurses are climbing while the working conditions for nurses are going downhill and no increase in pay. Boards of nursing hover over your head forever just waiting for you to make a mistake so they can rip your license away because they are there to "protect the public". This is such a crock also. They should be more concerned about micromanaging the healthcare industry putting patients at risk due to inadequate staffing resulting in high nurse to patient ratios which has been proved to be a significant cause of mistakes leading to increased morbidity and mortality. Toxic for your mind, body, and soul.
I realize magnet status hospitals are a step in the right direction for those who actually exercise its conceptual components and don't just make themselves look good on paper to achieve the award. But! Magnet status hospitals only account for around 6% of the US hospitals.
I could go on and on especially about how the lack of PPE and nurses lives that are being put at risk over this pandemic. What horrible planning and management by the organizations who have received tons of money to protect us. It's a shame and once more toxic for your mind, body, and soul!
Have a lovely day!
Welcome to being a member on allnurses, QualityRN!
Yes, nursing can be very toxic and you've identified areas of concern. From my present viewpoint, the solutions seem so simple, and yet the problems persist.
I was not aware of how thick-skinned and cynical I had become until I was away from nursing for a while. As the mountain is clearer to the climber from the plane, so is my, dare I say, former profession.
Nursing can be a dog eat dog world, making our priority of quality patient care extremely difficult to provide, but with these oxen we must plow.
I did the best I could while in the trenches, and that's all anybody can ask of anybody.
Good luck and the very best to you in your endeavors of battling the system, QualityRN!
There's much truth in you words.
Jedrnurse, BSN, RN
12 minutes ago, Davey Do said:Welcome to being a member on allnurses, QualityRN!Yes, nursing can be very toxic and you've identified areas of concern. From my present viewpoint, the solutions seem so simple, and yet the problems persist. I was not aware of how thick-skinned and cynical I had become until I was away from nursing for a while. As the mountain is clearer to the climber from the plane, so is my, dare I say, former profession.Nursing can be a dog eat dog world, making our priority of quality patient care extremely difficult to provide, but with these oxen we must plow.I did the best I could while in the trenches, and that's all anybody can ask of anybody.Good luck and the very best to you in your endeavors of battling the system, QualityRN!
You gave it up? Did you change to something else or retire?
brandy1017, ASN, RN
I do agree with you that nursing is an unhealthy job, in mind, body and spirit. At least it has been for me and many others. Also that the majority of us are put in impossible situations where we can't give safe, quality care because of a lack of staff and supplies. But click a box and chart and pretend it's all good! So many nurses are working thru lunch unpaid and no breaks trying to do a good job, all the while corporate mgmt uses our compassion against us!
I've become so cynical over the years and just bone tired of it all! I'm preparing for retirement ASAP as I don't know how much more I can take of this dog and pony show that nursing has become.
What sickens me the most is that after all the years I have so little to show for it, a pathetic pension and no health insurance. The reality that here I'm a nurse and I may end up bankrupt and broke trying to pay for healthcare if I quit, but worry that the stress of the job may literally kill me with a stroke if I don't! And this is not about Corona. I'm not afraid of it. More so of a heart attack or stroke. I would quit today if only we had national healthcare. I looked up my state and to qualify for subsidized insurance from the affordable care act I need to keep my income as low as possible, less than $31,000 ideal. Less than $50,000 at the max to qualify for any subsidies. Otherwise the cost approaches $15,000 to 20,000 a year in insurance premiums and deductibles and out of pockets. I don't understand why Trump, Biden, the republicans and even many democrats don't realize people can't afford this fiasco and travesty of a healthcare system! They get a gold plated insurance and we get ***!
Meanwhile at work mgmt raises the nurse to patient ratio's, while cutting support staff to get the latest bonus and promotion at our expense, while blaming us for poor Press Ganey scores and admonishing us to drop everything and answer that call light!
I'm sick and tired of the absolute total disrespect towards nurses. The outright contempt management has towards us for being "peon" nurses and not climbing the corporate ladder or getting our NP. No respect!
Hassling us over the most petty unimportant things and micromanaging us to death, but ignoring staff shortages, mandation and the lack of critical supplies! The need to keep the budget down at all costs, total insanity!
Unbelievable how so many hospitals run without enough nurses and equipment from PPE to patient equipment. JACHO needs to be more concerned over that then nitpicking nurses!
Also I could get whiplash from the hot and cold treatment by management. One minute berated, intimidated, criticized, even threatened over the most minute "offenses in their minds" that have NOTHING to do with patient care and everything to do with controlling us! The next minute when they realize their "***ED" by their own neglect and mismanagement, then they pour the sugar on trying to cajole us and pressure us and guilt us into being the "angel of mercy" to pick up extra shifts or volunteer to float to a Corona wing. Maybe they'll throw in a little extra money to sweeten the pot, but only for OT and jumping thru their hoops! No hazard pay for the day to day staff on the Corona wing! It's all in a day's work after all! Why should you get paid extra for risking your life, you're a nurse you signed up for this. Same rationale not to pay holiday OT!
I understand the general public's view of us as healthcare heroes. That is one thing, but another when the hospital uses it as a media campaign, rather than provide adequate PPE, safe staffing ratios, hazard pay and most of all common decency and RESPECT! Nurses week filled with platitudes, but not hazard pay or PPE! Angel campaigns to have patients nominate their favorite nurse as an angel. Sending out a letter to all the nurses how they had donated to a charity in their name, rather than giving money to the nurse to use for herself, her family or her own charity! Running a full page add with all the nurses names in it, oblivious to the risk of a nurse hiding from an abusive ex or stalker! These are just some of the disingenuous, even absurd actions by mgmt to celebrate nurses week!
How about a pay raise, hazard pay, proper PPE, hiring back nurses and PCA's and improving the staffing ratios so we can give safe care without having to sacrifice our own health and lives! We didn't go into nursing to get rich, but we are not angels! Rather we are flesh and blood that need money to pay our bills, our student loans and our families! Lastly how about treating us with basic decency and respect and listening to our concerns about safety, staffing and supplies for a change! Now that would make my day, week and year! And I believe that would turn things around and help put an end to the nursing shortage that exists in many places. I bet it would also improve nurse's physical and emotional health! Now that would be a change for the better!
3 hours ago, Jedrnurse said:You gave it up? Did you change to something else or retire?
Yes and no.
I say I'm "Fired & Retired" but I'm not drawing SS as yet, and I have multiple feelers out for possible positions.
I'm allowing The Fates to lead me.
Thanks for your interest, Jedrnurse!
18 minutes ago, Davey Do said:Yes and no.I say I'm "Fired & Retired" but I'm not drawing SS as yet, and I have multiple feelers out for possible positions.I'm allowing The Fates to lead me.Thanks for your interest, Jedrnurse!
Wish you the best! Hope you can find a better job. Enjoy your freedom for now, but fight to collect unemployment in the meantime!
I'm taking it day by day, but have started to get my ducks in a row for sooner than later. I feel one of these days soon I'm going to take the leap and walk away. I've spoken up for quality a few times recently but been ignored and feel all I have is a target on my back for the effort. We've had a mass exodus of nurses already since the new regime takeover. Amazingly, or not surprising at all to those of us older and wiser, no effort was made to retain the experienced nurses. But a couple new grads were given red carpet treatment to change their mind, but to no avail. They could see the writing on the wall and walked away quickly!
Good luck! Keep up updated on your new adventures!
21 minutes ago, Davey Do said:Yes and no.I say I'm "Fired & Retired" but I'm not drawing SS as yet, and I have multiple feelers out for possible positions.I'm allowing The Fates to lead me.Thanks for your interest, Jedrnurse!
Any consideration of doing something light years away from nursing? (I have thoughts to that effect sometimes...)
9 minutes ago, Jedrnurse said:Any consideration of doing something light years away from nursing? (I have thoughts to that effect sometimes...)
Yes, I am considering other prospects involving my art. I did a public art thing from 1996 to 2003 and made a little money at that. Nursing is my first choice since I enjoyed being a nurse and the money is so good.
I am approaching this situation like a fisherman/hunter: I'm putting out leads to see if I get any bites, and shooting with a shotgun at targets to see if any are hit.
There's a real flaw in our worldview if all we see is something that leads to more nihilism. The OP sounds more like a much needed decompression session, and these cyber-social platforms are okay for that at risk. I mean after all, were it not for the anonymity of the conversation nurses would be reporting each other in droves. My empathy is hopefully apparent, and I say without sincerely pandering, anyone who feels their occupation is toxic to mind, body, and soul should immediately find something else to do. Nursing or not.
It's self evident as nurses we work with people arguably full of life, not inanimate products. If we see our job as worthless, that will invariably bleed over into our value assigned to other people. This poses a grave danger to the well being of the general public, your family and friends, mine, and not to mention risks personal suit, litigation, or even criminal charges.
Now as a social Newtonian I'm guilty of spending too much time outside the box thinking sometimes. But as mentioned, nursing makes an excellent Spring board career into other fields. Maybe getting out of any patient care situations to avoid the worst case scenarios, and seek solutions to levy real change through aggressive lobbyist opportunities, or academia even, molding the young minds of tomorrow? It's an understatement to say it's certainly challenging, and should be. A lot of passion in the OP, which is good. When there's careless apathy little hope typically remains. Best wishes.
Tait, MSN, RN
That is why I have been working my way into administration and working with new grads for the past 10 years. Getting the chance to shape the future is my way of giving back and bolstering nursing as a career. Frustrating? Heck yes, but I feel good doing what I can.
Thanks Quality Nurse. Your post reassures me.
I seem to blame myself for having too much to say instead of just putting up with the injustice.
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