New nurse here, second career. For me, yes school doesn’t adequately prepare you for the fact that your job is going to have these ever increasing, unrealistic expectations of you. When I left school, I thought that I’d be able to provide the care necessary to promote holistic health. The reality is that, in hospitals (I can’t speak for other places as this is my only experience) short staffing, reduction of ancillary staff, cost cutting, patient satisfaction scores, etc. make it difficult to get an adequate orientation as well as behind able to appropriately do your job as a nurse once you hit the floor. When I spoke to my manager(s) & mentor about why I was struggling, they all attributed it to me being new. However, after speaking to many nurses with 15-30 years of experience, I realized everything I was feeling was not only valid, but was not solely based on me being new. They tell me ”get an advanced degree & get out, nursing is only getting worse. I thought I’d do this forever but now I feel like I can’t leave, get out while you still can”.
I’m not an idiot, yes nursing is new to me, but I also had another career. I have no issues with working hard, or changing environments, I’ve always adapted well. The difference now is that every additional month I am a nurse I feel like facilities are putting my license at risk & patients lives hang in the balance. The consensus I’ve gotten from my discussion with nurses of all experience levels is that we’re expected to do more and more and it leaves less and less time to focus on nursing things.
I shouldn’t be spending so much of my day calling and recalling the pharmacy & chasing meds, having to call and recall doctors to place orders before being told to put the order in myself, searching and calling floors for supplies, answering and screening phone calls for the unit, chasing down food & dietary team members because someone didn’t get the right order, being a maid and personal punching/verbal dumping bag for disgruntled patients & other staff over minor things that they feel I should be doing, and so on, all while keeping up with my nursing tasks that only I as the nurse can do.
To top it off, my generation is becoming more cognizant of personal health & bedside nursing is not healthy mentally or physically. 13-14 hours on you’re feet, barely getting a 30 minute break during that time (forget about 15 minute breaks), holding your pee because the second you try to go to the bathroom call bells start going off and no aide staff is in sight & you don’t want to risk a fall happening, not being able to even have a covered water bottle at your desk to grab sips between running around (hello dehydration), then after your emotionally, mentally, physically draining day, leaving frustrated, irritated, or crying & being so SPENT that you have nothing left to give your family or yourself?!
Honestly, it’s a surprise that anyone does this job anymore to me. I plan on leaving as soon I level up my degree.