Published May 1, 2003
Before being an SRNA or CRNA, how did you feel in bedside nursing?
EmeraldNYL, BSN, RN
Ooooh, good question!! I'm almost finished nursing school and I enjoy clinicals so far except when patients expect you to be their waitress. I can definitely understand the frusturation that some RN's have about not being treated as college educated professionals. CCU RN, how do you feel about bedside nursing so far, you're a recent grad right?
I happened to have loved my bedside nursing job. I worked in a very busy trauma ICU with great people, docs included. They listened to the nurses, respected us and worked along side us to save really sick people. It was a large teaching hospital with a wait for it.....a nursing UNION. Administration was good, my nurse manager was actually pro bedside nursing and while we worked or tails off, it was very rewarding most of the time. I only left as I was over 40 and new I'd better get moving if I ever wanted to do the CRNA thing. BTW, 5 semesters down, 2 to go!!
Still in it, with 3 months left before school starts, and my feelings about bedside nursing are mixed. I love interacting with patients and helping them on their road to recovery. I love taking care of really sick people and seeing them make it through. I love the teamwork that can be found in some ICU's. I love being respected for my opinion/judgement by MD's.
I hate the way some MD's look at you when you make a suggestion about pt. care, then come back a day later and do the exact thing you suggested. I hate the way some nurses can be so rude, petty, and backstabbing. I hate the way nurses treat other nurses and the way some can treat new grads. I hate being a waiter. I hate not having autonomy when nurses are truly the ones who run the hospitals. I hate being stuck in a nursing ed. classroom while MD's are in the auditorium with starbucks and lunch. Last but not least, I hate having separate parking lots!
Last 2 are petty, but you asked.
Nothing like making a suggestion to an MD who cuts you down, only for the chart to be found hidden in a corner on the desk somewhere with an order for your suggestion. However, in all honesty they form the minority where I work. As long as the cardiologists, and intensivists trust your individual skills as a nurse, they are willing to listen to your thoughts and suggestions. Most of them will ask for your input before visiting the patient to see what needs to be addressed. We have a lot of autonomy, it is the type of unit where you intervene first, then call the physician after. All of our inservices are done with a meal served ( failing that we would not attend!). The negatives are I do not like dealing with family members, especially in our hospital which we call "hotel---------" I understand the family is under stress, but sometimes I am at my wits end when I am handling a very sick patient, and i am literally being harassed by the family who cannot control their anxiety. I look forward to not having the family members in the OR!
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I really liked where I worked, much like wintermutes environment.
I think the work was easier, knowing that I was moving on. I don't think I would have been half as happy, without the prospect of becomming a CRNA.
I never worked outside of an ICU though, and as such I am not the best person to ask about work environments.
I loved it, but like someone else said, when I began to approach 40.... I knew I didn't want to be on my feet for thse long hard hours. I still get to be with pts, but not as much. I do their pre-op and assure them that we will do everything possible to keep them safe and keep them as comfortable as possible. But that's it. I figure a reassuring word and if I take just that extra 30 seconds, they may feel more comforable and still, as I was on the PICU, I still have made a difference in someone's life experience.
For example, I did a couple of TAH, BSOs today. (and 2 BTLs). That is pretty much the final portion of an era for a woman's reproductive life. She can still be very upset, even if it was her idea.
I want to make sure people believe that they are not just "the next case" I try to make them feel like a VIP.
The question is often asked "why do you want to be a CRNA?" and as I read your post tonight I "felt" your answer- I could see myself answering in a similar way. I will be starting school in the fall and for me, it is hearing things like this that whisper "you're doing the right thing" -Thanks for sharing!
New CCU RN,
I don't know anything about bedside nursing in the units yet, but I can tell you how I feel about bedside nursing on the floor. I've only been an RN for 1 1/2 years and I already hate it! I have 8-10 patients each night on the average. I found out early on that the floor is not where I want to be, but for financial reasons I have to stay on the floor a bit longer before I can transfer to the ICU. I love the people I work with on my floor, which makes it much easier to get through every day.
The things I like about bedside nursing on the floor: the occassional "thank you" I get when I do somethig good for a patient; also I enjoy the nice families and family members. That's about all that I enjoy.
Now, for the other side of the coin....the things I do NOT like about bedside nursing on the floor: All the whiney patients and CONSTANT complaints. Everything is my fault, even if it's a nurse before me that caused the discrepancy, dietary that sent the wrong food, or lab that had to stick them twice because they "lost" the blood somewhere. It's my fault. Family members get on my nerves, too. They wait till their family member is in the hospital to try to be a hero. They want to "take charge" and "get things done around here, dammit." Family members are always standing at the desk just waiting to spring on you and gripe about something all the time!!! Each patient thinks they are the only patient you have, and do not understand that you also have 7 others who equally want your attention. "Thank yous" are few and far between and usually come insincerely from some drug addict that you've just medicated with yet more Morphine. Nursing does not seem to be a respectful profession anymore. Patients gripe and moan about everything. I get cursed at daily by someone, and patients/families do not think twice about treating you badly. Patients do not trust nurses like they used to, either. They've become more knowledgeable about the medical field, disease processes, etc. and question just about everything that is done to them. I guess that is supposed to be a good thing, but because I have 8-10 patients, I do not have a lot of time to sit and explain every little thing to them. There's also not enough time to get everything done. I also spend a lot of time cleaning up a prior nurse's mess, where he/she has not finished/done certain tasks, orders were put in wrong and not caught by the nurse, or when I see the patients, things do not match from what the nurse has told me (Ex. nurse told me the patient had a NG tube or foley and they were not, in fact, in place). Doctors on the medical floor do not greatly respect nurses either. They think we are all pretty stupid. But, like G8rlimey and London 88 said, after making a suggestion to the MD about what I think should be done, they usually write it. That makes me feel a little better. I've heard doctors treat the ICU nurses better, though, because they're not "stupid" like us medical nurses are. That irritates me to no end. I work my butt off for my patients, am a strong patient advocate, too, and I am definitely NOT STUPID. I'll be in the ICU, soon. Does that make me instantly "smarter?" Just a thought. Anytime we get an ICU nurse to the floor, we end up helping them a lot because they don't know what to do with all those patients!! I don't blame them. 2 patients would be nice to have, I don't care how many tubes they have coming out of them. I can do anything with 2 patients.
Basically, that's my take on bedside floor nursing. It's pretty awful. The only thing that's helped me make it through is the people I work with. They are great. Everyone on my floor is burned out, and morale is low. That's when I decided not too long ago that I had to do something else, and I looked into becoming a CRNA which sounds fantastic to me! I would love the respect, the fact that you deal with one patient at a time, and the autonomy. I'm excited! I will make it! I'm only 25, and I've come to realize that 40 more years of this will not work for me. I'll be a nutcase by then! I hope I haven't offended anyone by the things I've mentioned here. A lot of it was venting, and I'm glad that New CCU RN asked the question. It allowed me to get a lot of stuff out of my system. Some people could probably do a lifetime of bedside nursing with no problem, but not me! I'm sure it's not quite as bad in the ICU as you're only dealing with 1-3 patients, families, etc. I don't mind cleaning poop, etc. I do that now. I'm just sick of all the griping and moaning all the time. In case that wasn't bad enough, I guess our manager didn't think we knew how patients felt, because she made us watch a video called "Through the Patient's Eyes" which was none other than a gripe session from more patients! Enough already! I've had it!
Your frustration with bedside nursing is obvious and I applaud your recognition of the need to get away from it. I have not been a bedside nurse for years and wouldn't begin to equate my experiences with yours. That being said, don't expect things to be better as a CRNA. Everyone in the operating room likes to blame everything they can on "anesthesia". I have seen blatent surgical mistakes turned around to being "reaction to anesthesia". All of us in this field, from students to CRNAs and even anesthesiologists can tell stories that would make a best seller. So don't expect the problems to go away if you become a CRNA, they will simply change.
While I don't believe in pop psychology, I must tell you that you may want to consider a profession where patient care is not involved. Anesthesia may not be the best option. I have noticed that nurses tend to complain a lot and are not much interested in solutions to their complaints. That is not something we see much in anesthesia, where professionalism, along with knowledge and skills are requirements for sucess.
Hopefully, you were just having a very bad day.
While I appreciate your advice, I have to disagree with you. I went into nursing because I love people and want to help people. I have always been someone who likes to know I'm doing a great job. I like to always do the best job that I can. That's just me. When patients and families are always griping and complaining, it makes me feel like I am not doing a good job. Ever. It's pretty discouraging to me. I've also always been a very positive person, and I feel like the constant griping and complaining, whether it be from patients/families or staff, is making me feel pretty negative about the profession. What they fail to tell you in nursing school is that nursing is a thankless job, where people want you to wait on them hand and foot like they were at the Four Seasons Hotel!
I don't know what it is like to be a CRNA because I'm not one, but just imagine a day where people are coming at you from every angle complaining about some petty thing all the time, day in and day out. Eventually, it begins to wear on you. You are correct in that if being a CRNA is very similar (people griping and complaining day in and day out, upset about their jobs, upset about their care, etc.) maybe I should not pursue that, as I do not want to return to an environment with more constant negativity. I can't imagine that it would even be close to the same, however. Every CRNA I've talked to said they love their job, and I cannot imagine that they all would if it were so negative.
I still like to help people, and I enjoy being around people. I decided to make the change because I am unhappy about the environment in which I work, and this aspect of nursing as a whole. Just having to take care of and be responsible for 8-10 patients is stressful enough without all of the griping to go with it.
I figured I needed to either get out of nursing altogether or go into another area of nursing. Because I enjoy and want to help people, and because I worked entirely too hard at becoming an RN to just quit and go into something else, I looked into the latter option. Because nursing is such a volatile and varied profession, I decided to check into another area of nursing. Granted, I do not know firsthand what being a CRNA is all about, but based on all the information I reviewed, Nurse Anesthesia seemed like the best fit for me! As I read others' reasons for desiring to become a CRNA, I realized their reasons were very similar to mine! I am not denying that being a CRNA has it's challenges (as does every other nursing area), I'm just saying I feel like becoming a CRNA is a better fit for me.
I'm NOT afraid of the challenge of becoming a CRNA and I realize from reading this forum that it is very hard work. Although, I don't know what it's like to be a CRNA, I realize that it, too, has its challenges, but I feel like I would rather have those problems then the ones I have now. What I AM afraid of is working the rest of my career where I am. I wish I could say I was just having a bad day, but what I've described to you is a very accurate picture of where I work. I'm unhappy and need a change.
In response to your quote:
"I have noticed that nurses tend to complain a lot and are not much interested in solutions to their complaints"
As you can see, I am interested in a solution to my complaints. I am looking into another aspect of nursing. I am willing to do something about my unhappiness. That does say something. I don't want to simply be just another complaining nurse. That is NOT me, either. I like to be positive, but the experiences I have had so far have not allowed me to be very positive. I'm ready to move on and do something that makes me happy. I heard someone say before "The hardest part of nursing is simply finding your niche." Boy, are they right.
Thank you for responding, Yoga CRNA. I do value your advice and opinions. I hope you do not take this the wrong way..I just disagree.
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