Situation: I am giving my 200% every shift and am still getting my butt kicked! Trying to decide whether to break my sign on bonus after being here a year.
Background: I work in a big level 1 trauma center, 50+ beds. We had major staffing cuts after COVID, so nurses are doing nearly everything in the ER...phlebotomy, EKGs, lines, transporting, toileting, cleaning rooms, etc. etc. Nothing is stocked, so the 10 seconds it takes to hand a patient a urinal turns into 10 minutes just to find one. I used to LOVE our team nursing model, but now we only have 2 nurses per team most nights...that means that when my teammate gets pulled into a 1:1 situation, it's not unusual to manage 7-9 patients for hours at a time. Most of our floor nurses were laid off or left, so it's common to board 75% of our patients in the ER with a 14- hr wait time in triage (in other words, patients are angry, hateful, and hopefully not dying by the time they get to you). Family is not allowed back, so they are constantly calling with complaints as well. I have 4 yrs nursing experience but am relatively new to a department this big.
Assessment: All things considered...I still have some compassion left and try to be professional. I have been told that I am a strong nurse and help orient new staff. BUT, I can tell the workload is wearing on me, and it's getting harder to not drag it home. None of my family members work in the medical field, so it's either frustrating trying to explain what I go through at work, or lonely when I can't talk about it.
Recommendation: Pretty sure I need a change?? I'm starting advanced trauma training soon, and I don't know how much more extra work/depressing deaths I can handle. Have any fellow ER nurses run into these "post-COVID" problems in your department?! Did I just choose a hospital with poor management? Is this typical chaos for a big trauma center (aside from COVID), and I'm simply not cut out to do this long term?