Nursing is slavery Period!!!

Nurses Relations


I am probably going to offend some of you and I apologize in advance for that.

However I really need a safe place to vent my frustrations about nursing and

this is the place.

A little background:

I have a Bachelors in Business. I worked in that field for just under 8 years. I liked it but it was starting to get boring and I felt I needed a challenge. I got my BSN and started working as a nurse for a big hospital. I didn't expect it to be all roses however I have to say what I have found in this profession has quickly turned me negative. I have been in this profession for over 2 years now and while I know that isn't long I have to be HONEST and say that I don't feel that I can honestly make it in this job.

Here is what I have noticed about the roles a nurse plays:

to administration: cogs (yet they don't want to pay the price required to keep us

so they keep increasing our task list, Responsibilites, documentation requirements,

etc while not increasing our pay)

to Dr: waitress/slave

to families: waitress/slave

Every job I have done went by satisfactory meaning I have never been written up or even had a verbal warning given. In this job people get written up for stupid stuff and no one thinks to give verbal warnings. The amount of demoralization that takes place on new grads is profound and now I understand why the smiles on new grad faces quickly turn sour. Every Dr I have s/w told me the same thing which is "get out of nursing or go higher fast . . . but do not stay in it"

Thus the message is clear that this profession needs a Major rehaul. Policies change on a daily basis (No Joke) and there is no effective means of getting the information across to all employees such that NO ONE has any idea what is the proper way of doing anything anymore. Everyone I've asked has a different idea and the new policy is not always on the intranet. The more nurses I talk to the more I realize they are not leaving this profession only because they do not have another option. The ones that do take it QUICK!

I keep hearing people tell me that nurses make such great money at the bedside but I have to say Nurses earn every single $ they make NO JOKE. We are expected to work tirelessly without taking bathroom breaks, lunches, etc. There is no regard for our healthy while all focus is given to patient safety. Now I know why nurses burn out at the rate that they do.

And after all is said and done the amount of responsibility and liability that a nurse carries is starting to increase. We live in such an age of Entitlement where people want the best care and they do NOT understand the stressors that are forged upon nurses such that if you don't bring them their cup of tea on time they get upset with you. I thought about pursuing my MSN in the clinical arena however after much deliberation I realized despite the fact that my desire to help people is strong I don't want the amount of liability that comes with it. I am working on getting out of it. Although I do feel like a failure because I will always remember that I wasn't able to make it in nursing.

I have spoken to other new grads about this and they feel the same way in fact a lot of them didn't even finish 1 year bedside nursing before they turned around and enrolled themselves in NP programs to get out of this dreary profession.

Please feel free to comment on this post. . .

Specializes in Thoracic Cardiovasc ICU Med-Surg.

Sounds like you do not work at a particularly good hospital. You would probably find better working conditions elsewhere. I am sorry you are having tough time, but it is not like that everywhere.

allnurses Guide

Hygiene Queen

2,232 Posts

I don't like the toll it is taking on my mental health.

I spent all day yesterday trying to recover from a shift from hell.

I couldn't wake up.

I couldn't follow conversation.

I couldn't focus to read.

I stuttered so bad and couldn't formulate a sentence that I gave up trying to talk.

My arms and legs still ache and tingle.

I woke up at 0300 this morning and just couldn't get any rest.

Please know that I have always thrived on physical work.

I have always been a role model and very responsible.

I have never shirked any task...

But oh lord!

I don't know how I kept it together last Thursday.

Even the old experienced nurses were ready to lose it and I used up every last drop of energy I had to keep it together, joke and do my job.

I lost it one day at work, some months ago, and I vowed I wouldn't again (and haven't)...

But the mental energy required to stay in control is enormous and is breaking me down.

I won't quit...

I'll keep shoving steel down my spine...

But I won't ever be caught doing this full-time, either.

Double-Helix, BSN, RN

1 Article; 3,377 Posts

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU.

I'm sorry you're having such a bad experience.

I do want you to realize, though, that this isn't just a problem in nursing. On average, the workforce has been cut by about 20%. That's not a nursing statistic. That's nationwide. Which means that administration everywhere is cutting staff and increasing the demands on their remaining employees. I agree that nursing, in particular, is a stressful and demanding profession and increasing our workload might be more unsafe than increasing the workload of a non-humanitarian worker, but you'll also find that stress, poor job satisfaction, and low employee morale is prevalent in a huge variety of careers.

For example, just yesterday I was talking to my father, who is employed at a paper factory and has been for over 25 years. He was explain how shorthanded they have been lately because the workforce has been decreased due to budget cuts. At his job, the managers can force the employees to come in and work on their days off. If they are already at work, the managers can force them to stay for the next shift. If they say no, it's treated as a no-show and they can be fired. And yes, it's legal. So how safe is this, really? You have people working around high-powered machinery who have been on the job for over 16 hours at a time, five days in a row. Do you think there's a lot of job satisfaction at his facility right now?

I often hear on this board that all nurses do is complain about their jobs. Sometimes these comments even spark students/prospective nurses to wonder if they should even do into nursing. I wanted to be clear that the grass is not always greener. While it might seem that this problem of dissatisfaction is unique to nursing, that's not at all the truth. It only appears that way because, well, you're reading a nursing forum. The problems that tea effecting nursing are effecting professions in all areas, to some extent. Even the MD's on my unit are feeling overworked and burnt out due to the fact that there is only a few of them to cover the unit at all times. Some of us may leave nursing for a different career path only to find that we are similarly overworked, underpaid and not afforded the respect that we think our profession deserves.


553 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

I may be particularly sensitive to the word slavery. Remember, you are getting paid for what you do and if you choose to resign, and look elsewhere you can. If you decide not to go to work one may be out of a job, but they will not hunt you down with dogs.

Specializes in Emergency Room.

I have been a nurse for close to 10 years and I must say that I agree with you. It may not be exactly the same everywhere but the concept is the same and patients are patients no matter where you work. I have worked at magnet hospitals and although their staffing may be better its still the same old crap. I currently do not work at the bedside and I feel better, sleep better and have a more balanced family work life. Nurses do not give themselves credit for providing one of the most difficult responsibilities on this earth and that's being a caregiver. I like being a nurse but there is more to this career than bedside and when I felt that I didn't want the patient care liability anymore I moved on.


223 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg; Telemetry; School Nurse pk-8.

I can't argue with you. I felt the same way when I worked in the hospital. I now work 2 jobs -- one at a Pedi's office, and the other as a school nurse. I love BOTH jobs, and I no longer dread going to work.

Hoozdo, ADN

1,555 Posts

Specializes in ICU, Research, Corrections.

Hospital nursing is a little like slavery. No eating breaks, and no contingency plans to even cover your patients for an eating break. No plan for bathroom breaks. Hello, we are PEOPLE and people need to go to the bathroom at least once in a 12 hour shift. It would be nice to be able to eat once during a 12 hour shift......and I don't mean wolfing down something while charting.

No lifting limits - sure I can lift 50 lbs of dead weight and walk it across the room and back to pass a physical. The problem is my patients are more likely to weigh 500 lbs than 50 lbs. Am I flippin' superman or what?

Magnet or non-magnet, profit or non-profit, they are all the same. And I live in a right-to-work state, yeah, it's a little like slavery. I don't have people whipping me or chasing me with dogs, but the work conditions are not human friendly. The only thing that makes it tolerable is your coworkers and team work.

I am now working out of the hospital in research, and friends, it is totally liberating. :yeah: I will never, ever, go back to hospital nursing. It just is SO not worth it emotionally, mentally, or physically.

Dixielee, BSN, RN

1,222 Posts

Specializes in ER.
I may be particularly sensitive to the word slavery. Remember, you are getting paid for what you do and if you choose to resign, and look elsewhere you can. If you decide not to go to work one may be out of a job, but they will not hunt you down with dogs.

I agree. I have supported my family quite nicely over the years because of this "slavery". I work inside a climate controlled area, I have never been beaten or missed a meal. I have a good healthcare plan for myself and my family. I have the option to return to school and my employer pay all or part of the bill. I may leave at anytime without penalty.

Hard work? Yes. Sacrifice? Sometimes. Slavery? Hardly.

I'm not saying all is perfume and roses, but nurses have so many options, there is no reason to stay in a bad situation. No job is perfect, but in this economy, I will smile sweetly and thank God every day for the situation I am in. There is only one person who controls your destiny, so go look in the mirror and see if you can find them :)

I may be particularly sensitive to the word slavery. Remember, you are getting paid for what you do and if you choose to resign, and look elsewhere you can. If you decide not to go to work one may be out of a job, but they will not hunt you down with dogs.

Agreed - true slavery is something I hope you never have to experience, Sonia. Had a BS session with a couple of friends on this very subject not too long ago; one immigrated here from Southeast Asia, the other was in the military stationed overseas. Both had tales to tell that'd make this profession look like a walk in the park by comparison. Getting hunted down with dogs is just the beginning - torture, mutilation, starvation, isolation; you really don't want to go there. End of rant. Phew.

Probably one of the few genuine benefits of the nursing profession is that you don't have to do bedside care; coming from an IT background (which tends to be pretty much the same, regardless of the industry segment you find yourself in) it's a relief to consider that I can go into a substantially different line of work with limited (or in some cases no) retraining necessary. Note that I'm not disagreeing with you in principle; let's face it, you've got to be just the right kind of crazy to make this profession work for you. But, finding your right niche is just as important, and if the niche you're in now isn't doing it - you can always try elsewhere. Good luck doing this in IT - it usually takes about 2 years before your co-workers start asking for the impossible, at which point the only way to placate them is to (a) move into management, or (b) find a position elsewhere.

Were I you, I'd be looking at where I can go with the training I've got, or can get in a minimum period of time with a minimal cash outlay, and consider another venue. Maybe working with an insurance company'd be more up your alley, or running an agency - moving up the ladder into management (at another organization - sounds like the one you're at is a bit on the toxic side); possibly working in pharmacy'd be more to your liking. Or, consider corrections - some people really get into working with parolees & prisoners. Not my bag, but it might be yours. There's psych, hospice, nurse education, even nurse informatics - I personally gag at the prospect of working as a nurse informaticist (I'll do it if I have to - but that damn wolf better be parked on my dining room table before I'll seriously consider it) but, again, it may well be something you'd like.

In any case - consider the possibilities before throwing all that training & experience out the window.

----- Dave


1,361 Posts

Specializes in ICU, ER, EP,.

I was thinking exactly what DAVE wrote above. I was burnt out from critical care, felt like an unskilled waitress not using skilled critical care experience.

I LEFT! YUP, left my work family whom I loved so dearly, a skill I had mastered and excelled in (that feels wonderfully comfortable) to go to an electrophysiology lab. One patient at a time, they are sedated by anesthesia and there is no family with minimal charting. I did this for almost a year, got the mental and physical break I needed, and was able to emotionally heal.

Now I'm traveling in a small hospital doing ICU, ER and yes even med surg. It has been a wonderful experience. I know they all won't be, but my point is that you can't know how things really are in nursing until you leave that comfort zone of where you are and go explore it.

Try OBGYN, a short stay area, doctors office, psyc, oncology, organ transplant unit, infectious diseases, case management... do you see what I am suggesting?

I never saw how burnt to the crisp I was until I took the leap, and it allowed me to heal. That recovery time wasn't what I wanted to do with my career, but it was priceless and gave me the ability to not quit the profession.

Just food for thought from a fellow crispy critter!:flamesonb


376 Posts

A business degree, and BSN, and 2 years of bedside experience may be enough to quality you for a more administrative role in health care. It sounds like you are ready for a change.

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