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nursing morale going down the tubes

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by sunneeRN sunneeRN (Member)

1,188 Profile Views; 27 Posts

OK things are progessively getting much worse on my unit as far as staffing and staff morale. The attitude is "if my patients are still breathing, than it's ok." That is not OK with me. Last night, I cared for 9 sick oncology patients. One of them was a nun, and we talked for 20 minutes. When I walked out of that room, I cried. She told me that she felt we were failing her..(poor thing had actually been DROPPED off the OR table, and then proceeded to have a lot of unfortunate events happen post op). I did not become a nurse, only to hear my patients say that. Thankfully, I have stayed true to myself and give my whole heart, and 100% dedication to these wonderful people but my morale is going down the tubes as well. Nurses have tried talking with the manager and nothing is changing. budget, budget, budget. I can't sit back and let this happen. So I need some help. Please, if you are an oncology nurse, or even med surg, what is your nurse to patient ratio, or what do you feel is a managable patient assignment on oncology? And do you feel that the morale on your unit is the same? I keep hearing that it's worse at other places, but that really makes me sad. I'm considering taking an OB position now, so that I can feel like I'm making a difference. (They are better staffed in our hospital than we are.) Oh what to do! Thank you for listening and for your help!

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nursemary9 is a BSN, RN and specializes in Psych, Med/Surg, Home Health, Oncology.

657 Posts; 10,356 Profile Views

Hi

I'm so sorry about your unit.

I work nites on a Hem/Onc-Med/Surg-Renal Unit in a large Chicago Hospital.

I'm not going to say that all is wonderful here, but it is better. At night, we have a pt. load of 5-6 pt's. Days get 4-5, PM's again 4-5.

The morale on our unt is pretty good right now. Our Manager is trying really hard. The problem we have is that since our unit is staffed well, we often get pulled to other units. They, of course, are not staffed as well.

I hope things get better for you.

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SueB1967 specializes in PAR,OR, ICU, Peds HH, MS.

7 Posts; 851 Profile Views

(((SUNNEERN))) I work a busy M/S unit-usually have 6-7 patients at night occasionally 8. We have a 30+ unit with only 1 CNA-it is about all she can do to get temps and I/0's. We nurses usually have to help each other with turns. If we did not have real team players our jobs would be more stressful than they already are. God bless our oncology nurses-you are unbelievably special people.

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BULLYDAWGRN has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in ICU/ER/TRANSPORT.

218 Posts; 4,032 Profile Views

Having to care for 9 sick oncology patients, I bet anyone of them could have been a total care type of patient. Well, I feel for your patient thats a nun, but I tend to think it's the system that is failing your nun friend and not you. Don't let that stuff get you down to bad. Here in Ms on the med/surg floors around here you ratio can be anything, depending on your staff and number of patients, I've seen it as bad as 10-12 patients to 1 nurse. But for the most part it's usally 7-8 per nurse. And thats to many even if none of them are sick..In the unit here it's 3:1.

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3 Posts; 473 Profile Views

Please keep the spirit going, inspite of all odds you are one of the heros of the society. What your doing is not just a profession but a great service to society please keep that in mind and carry on. All issues will set on its own be positive

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annmariern has 30 years experience and specializes in vascular, med surg, home health , rehab,.

288 Posts; 6,938 Profile Views

I work Med/surg/Ortho. 6-7 on days, 7 nights. Having the same problems with morale; Yesterday at the staff meeting my director was busting our chops over the fact that they only recieved 15 chart audits instead of 30, onlt 2 from our unit. I pointed out that when it is routine to be leaving work 1-3 hours late, short of coming in on days off, that was why. Not enough time to do the basics and there adding extra. We are supposed to have 3 CNAs, yesterday, busy post op day we all had 6 and the aides had 15. He told me apparently I must have a problem when I am leaving late, as "others" leave on time. All the nurses leave 80% of the time late. Not one person backed me up, they all complain and sit & say nothing. I had just hurt my back lifting a pt, so wasn't in the best of moods, at 4pm hadnt charted a thing and was facing yet another late night and was being told after 22 years, I can't manage my time. I could not back down, in the end, we agreed that I would be on a panel of staff with the goal of identifying and improving things, a management liason. I hate stuff like that, most of the time spitting in the wind. But having spoke up, have to do something. Anyone have any experience/ideas on this sort of thing.

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27 Posts; 1,188 Profile Views

thanks for the posts so far!

my manager's response to our staffing concerns were " i guess it's time to be creative."

i wanted to ring her neck. Hard to be "creative" when I am trying to assess, pass meds, walk patients, help them to the bathroom, chart, try to find a working computer, try to find supplies, do a million dressing changes, try to make patient's families happy, pass water pitchers and nourishments, and deal with cranky residents. just to name a few.

day shift says that she leaves every day at 2:30 regardless of whats going on on the unit. takes 4-5 smoke breaks a day, and never asks to help anyone. one day, they did try to put her to work and it took her 45 minutes to straight cath someone and draw blood from a port. :uhoh3: and she still doesn't have a clue.

sorry about the vent haha

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154 Posts; 4,466 Profile Views

I just left the onc floor 2 months ago. At that time during the days we had 4-5 pts per nurse, evenings 5-6, nights 7-8. Those were the ideal but there were occassional times where we might have one more patient each. I worked all three shifts and all were crazy. Even 4 onc patients can be a handful with testing, blood, antibiotics, chemo not to mention charting and the increased risk of falls. 9 patients at night is really too many. The nights i felt the most comfortable were when i only had 6. But that unfortunately was rare. I did have 9 one night....i don't remember much about it tho....I think i blanked it out......LOL

Deb

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annmariern has 30 years experience and specializes in vascular, med surg, home health , rehab,.

288 Posts; 6,938 Profile Views

annamariern - good for you for standing up for yourself! Keep fighting the good fight!

Thanks. I have to say I felt better for speaking up and in the end him backing up even a bit. As for the panel, I will give it a shot.

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304 Posts; 4,385 Profile Views

I work Med/surg/Ortho. 6-7 on days, 7 nights. Having the same problems with morale; Yesterday at the staff meeting my director was busting our chops over the fact that they only recieved 15 chart audits instead of 30, onlt 2 from our unit. I pointed out that when it is routine to be leaving work 1-3 hours late, short of coming in on days off, that was why. Not enough time to do the basics and there adding extra. We are supposed to have 3 CNAs, yesterday, busy post op day we all had 6 and the aides had 15. He told me apparently I must have a problem when I am leaving late, as "others" leave on time. All the nurses leave 80% of the time late. Not one person backed me up, they all complain and sit & say nothing. I had just hurt my back lifting a pt, so wasn't in the best of moods, at 4pm hadnt charted a thing and was facing yet another late night and was being told after 22 years, I can't manage my time. I could not back down, in the end, we agreed that I would be on a panel of staff with the goal of identifying and improving things, a management liason. I hate stuff like that, most of the time spitting in the wind. But having spoke up, have to do something. Anyone have any experience/ideas on this sort of thing.

Hate it when I am behind doing other things beside my job and when I complaine about it, I get the same, " you need to manage your time better." I want to say" please walk in my shoes before you tell me that".:angryfire

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303 Posts; 4,416 Profile Views

OK things are progessively getting much worse on my unit as far as staffing and staff morale. The attitude is "if my patients are still breathing, than it's ok." That is not OK with me. Last night, I cared for 9 sick oncology patients. One of them was a nun, and we talked for 20 minutes. When I walked out of that room, I cried. She told me that she felt we were failing her..(poor thing had actually been DROPPED off the OR table, and then proceeded to have a lot of unfortunate events happen post op). I did not become a nurse, only to hear my patients say that. Thankfully, I have stayed true to myself and give my whole heart, and 100% dedication to these wonderful people but my morale is going down the tubes as well. Nurses have tried talking with the manager and nothing is changing. budget, budget, budget. I can't sit back and let this happen. So I need some help. Please, if you are an oncology nurse, or even med surg, what is your nurse to patient ratio, or what do you feel is a managable patient assignment on oncology? And do you feel that the morale on your unit is the same? I keep hearing that it's worse at other places, but that really makes me sad. I'm considering taking an OB position now, so that I can feel like I'm making a difference. (They are better staffed in our hospital than we are.) Oh what to do! Thank you for listening and for your help!

I feel for you. I feel the same way much of the time. I too have high standards for care and try to give the very best to my pts but it seems to be near impossible. Lazy NA's, coworkers that feel that bare minimum is good enough, management that doesn't address the problems. I too hear it is much worse at other places. I work on a high acuity m/s floor and pt load is generally 4 for days. I see so many deficits in care here that I find it truely scary that other places are worse.

I am not sure what to do, I don't have any answers for you other empathy for what you are going through. I know how you feel. Complaining to management seems to make tiny improvements over time but even that gets tiring. And I also can identify with your statement that as you fight this uphill battle, your morale is going downhill too.

I would love to work at a place where excellence is valued and substandard care is confronted head on. Does it even exist?

I wish you the best of luck.

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