TO BE A NURSE:
Lately, I find myself questioning my career choice. I am a NURSE. To me that means helping people when they are not at their best. Helping them transition to a new diet and exercise program. (EVEN though I barely have time do this for myself). I am extremely proud to have accomplished my goal of becoming a nurse. We all know how hard nursing school was and what it was like our first year as a new nurse on the floor.
In nursing school we were taught that nursing was all about our feelings of empathy and being able to sit with one at the bedside and cry. Showing emotions of caring and being the loving heroine. That holding your patient's hand was the best therapy or medication you can offer. Well I think this is half true...I think that nursing instructors need to take their blinders off and be up front with students. With the types of folks we service ( and yes nursing is a service) there is little time to sit or even little want (in some cases) to hold someone's hand.
A typical shift consist of 6-7 patients. Who we all know are scared out of their minds, they do not understand or know what is wrong with them. OR why they feel the way they do. They do not know the person laying in the next bed, whom they have to see every time they need to potty or even in the most indecent time (bed baths). We try to provide as much privacy as we can but lets face it, a thin curtain isn't blocking much. Most importantly they do not know when they will be able to go home and return to their daily activities, such as work or kids. We as nurses get and understand this.
WE as nurses understand that it is part of our job to explain to you the various tests that the doctors want to run. WE get that it is our job to educate and distribute medication. WE get that it is important for you to be comfortable. WE get that you are hungry and want your dinner tray. WE GET IT.
We are all human. We want to know is it safe? Will it hurt? Am I going to be able to eat? But I feel as a nurse, many people, such as the patients and other members of the health care team forget that we as NURSES are human too. They also forget that we are EDUCATED. NO patient will ever talk to their doctors the way some speak to nurses.
We are expected to work 12 hour shifts, with little to no break. And when I say break I mean the measly 30 minutes you have to eat, pee, and clear your mind, with the hopes of being uninterrupted. Yeah right. But this is the field we choose to work in. OUR CHOICE right?
Anyway, the fact I question my career today, is because people are downright MEAN. Patients will kick, spit, and throw things at you. They will call you ugly and fat. They will threaten to kill you. They will ignore you. THEY will act like animals.
I find it disturbing that people come to my job (the hospital) and complain to me about the food. Like hello; its massed produced. Remember school lunches? IT'S not a 5 star restaurant. Its a facility that saves lives.
They complain to me about the bed. "This bed is hard as a rock, it makes noise, why is it moving up and down"? I mean seriously its NOT the Ritz. Its a facility that saves lives.
They complain about noise level and the fact we have to wake them up to take their vital signs in the middle of the night. Ummm sir.. you came in with high blood pressure, we have to take your blood pressure. OR ma'am you were admitted with chest pain you have to wear the heart monitor so we can observe your heart for any abnormalities. And about the noise, well we are a 24 hour facility, that saves lives.
AND we all know they complain about pain management. WE are never fast enough or on time with medication. They have no understanding that these medications are ordered through the doctor. That we have attempted to call the doctor in the middle of the night, and that he is not calling back. OR that he is not adjusting any medication at this time. THEY DO NOT CARE OR WANT TO CARE about the measures that you have gone to handle their pain management.
Also...not only are patients mean...the nurses and doctors that you work with are no stroll in the park. They will nitpick about your work. About you putting in orders under the wrong patient, or that you didn't get to change a dressing, or change an I.V. Response: HELLO I just worked a 12 hour shift and I did MY BEST. Please do not HARASS me about the things I did not get done, thank me for the things I DID. Like walking and bathing the patient. Getting medication clarifications or the consent signed. Most often we are handing our patients off to more than 2 nurses and there is always that one nurse who grills you. I used to be this nurse.. I used to think if I can get it done so could she...but in reality NO ONE can get it ALL done. I have moved past that attack during report. It only came from fear of not being able to get it all done, and the fear of the unknown.
Now on to the part of where I love my job. I love the patients that are so adorable you want to squeeze . I love seeing my hard efforts of advocacy pay off. I love being able to relate to one of patients and get to learn about their lives. I love the part where I can just be me; sweet, kind, and caring. But yes, sometimes the positive things are not enough. They are not enough to remember to SMILE at each encounter even when someone is yelling at you so much you are fighting back tears. They are not enough to keep you happy when you are covered in someone else's poop and you peek your head out to ask for help and no one is around. They are not enough to say it was all worth it when you get your paycheck.
yes sometimes these positives are not enough.
The point of writing this is to say that...yes society and humanity has gone to POOP. (another four letter word comes to mind). People are mean and rude. People will push you until they know they have won. The only way to change this is to be bright.
You have to be the change you want to see. Even if that means smiling while inside you are dying. Or if it means that, yes you have to turn and reposition the kicking and screaming patient who has a stage 4 wound. Even if it means taking the bullet when someone's family member complains. Taking the bad even though you disparately want people to see the good. You have to be the change.
In the end it doesn't matter if another nurse is bullying you, or if your patients complain about you. You have to live with you. You have to live with the choices you make. You have to live with knowing that you did or did not do your best. If you fester on the feelings of discouragement you will never shine like you need to or want to.
To be a nurse means to be Nice, Ubiquitous, Responsible, Supportive, and ENCOURAGING
To be a patient means to be PATIENT!!!
I am happy with the choice I made to become a NURSE...not a professional BUTTkisser.