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Really disappointed with the reality of nursing.

Posted

Specializes in Med-surge, hospice, LTC, tele, rehab.

Anyone else feel the same?

When I was in nursing school, I was so excited to get finished and get a job. I thought I would enjoy doing nursing tasks all day...meds, IVs, injections, dressing changes, catheters, charting. I was so proud to tell people I was becoming a nurse. I would be making all of this good money. My job would be exciting all day long. I would be helping people. I would get respect...

But 5 years later, ha! What a joke! Don't get me wrong. I am grateful to have a degree. I am grateful to have a job in this bad economy, but nursing sure turned out to be a disappointment. I never thought that I would be worked to death the way nurses are. I never thought I would be talked to like a dog the way I am by patients, their families, people from other departments, and some doctors. I never thought bosses would be so quick to stab you in the back and try to get you in trouble. I thought I would be a valued employee and appreciated for what I did because I am a nurse who truly has a heart, cares about my patients, likes to get along well with others, and work as a team.

Instead, as a nurse you are treated like a peon. You have a team of 6-8 patients and are running like a mad woman to take care of all of them properly while your boss sits on her butt looking for any one tiny thing you might miss (while not offering to lift a finger to help you). Families sit in the room watching you like a hawk assuming you are going to hurt their family member. Griping because you have to turn people with skin issues or check for incontinence. Griping because you have to change an IV. The other day I had a family member sitting there watching me like a hawk as I had to change the patient's IV. Mind you the patient was an obese lady with huge arms and had had to have deep lines in the past. She said to me very rudely, "You get ONE stick, then somebody else is gonna do it." Then proceeded to stand and watch me with her arms folded across her chest. Excuse me, since when does the family dictate my job? :mad: That really burnt me up. Fortunately I got her IV on the first stick, but I have to take crap like that from people or I would probably be written up by my manager. I never thought nursing would be like this. When I visited people in the hospital before I was a nurse I had respect for the medical staff and would never dream of talking to them the way I am talked to.

You are blamed for everything. Doctor comes in late today? Nurse is yelled at about it by family. Doctor changes a medicine and doesn't tell the family about it? Nurse is grilled about it. Lab wakes you up early for blood draw? Nurse is yelled at about it. Doc orders stat MRI at 5 pm on a Friday? Nurse is yelled at about it by Radiology. Assistant doesn't check patient for incontinence while nurse is trying to start an IV in another room? Nurse is yelled at about it by family. Medicine is late from pharmacy? Nurse is yelled at about it. Dietary doesn't send up a food tray for a patient? Nurse is yelled at about it. We can do nothing right. It has really been disheartening. We go into nursing to help people and instead are treated like crap. I can honestly say that nursing is the job I have felt I have been the least respected in of all the jobs I have ever had. It has just been very disappointing. Maybe I am just venting because I have had a bad week, but just wondering if anyone else has felt this way? I WANT to like nursing because I spent all of this time getting this degree and getting licensed but wow. :crying2:

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

I am sorry for your frustration. I am positive you will find people to commiserate with here. I hope it gets better.

littlemammanurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in PP, Pediatrics, Home Health.

Unfortunately family members don't see the other sides of the picture.They just expect the nurses who they see walking and running around the unit to wait on them hand and foot.Its hard I know I have felt like this :( I have had family members tell me that they used to be a nurse and everything I did, I did wrong!Its so disheartening to be treated this way :( Keep your chin up and remember why you became a nurse!

NurseFrustrated

Specializes in Med-surge, hospice, LTC, tele, rehab.

Thanks RN2BDFW. Not all of my days are like this but unfortunately it seems it is this way more than not. Maybe it is just the hospital I am in where it is so bad. I am actively looking for another job and have had a few interviews and offers. Maybe it will be better elsewhere.

In a very hard field like nursing where you went into it with the best of intentions and to help people, it would just be nice to have a little bit of appreciation once in a while rather than be griped at constantly.

I know people are sick and don't feel good. I know that family members are worried but that doesn't make me their punching bag. I have been a visitor too with very close people in the hospital and I don't treat the medical staff like crap. In fact, I don't treat people like crap in general. What a concept! lol

walk6miles

Specializes in ICU of all kinds, CVICU, Cath Lab, ER..

Welcome to the wonderful world of nursing (I am not being sarcastic). It is a world of highs with significant periods of lows.....family interferes (have you run into the family that says "don't give mom any pain medicine because she falls asleep and we can't talk to her"); patient lies to family and to nurse so nurse looks like the fool. Somewhere in the middle of the chaos, a bright shining moment of personal achievement slowly shows itself.

Somewhere and somehow, the nurse finds meaning to her work. And then the physician comes in and it's off to the races again.

I especially loved the statement "keep my mom alive until I arrive". Compound the beating you are taking on a daily basis from HR who I believe should have no say whatever in the intensive care unit and the beating you are giving yourself (I should have, maybe I could have.....).

Early in my career my head nurse gave me good advice: make your nursing satisfying to you; do not count on other's opinions of your nursing - keep the good part and let go of the bad.

Wish you luck; sorry I can't make it any more rewarding.

wsuRN09

Specializes in Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes. Has 4 years experience.

One thing I have learned in my short time being a employee, is that it doesn't seem to matter what job you have, there will always be some sort of BS you have to put up with. I had nasty coworkers when I was working in fast food during high school; a lazy, backstabbing boss when I worked retail during nursing school; and now as a nurse, I deal with a lot of the things you mention. I don't like it and know I never will, who would? But I don't do it for them, I do it for the patients who know how much I've done for them and they show it. It can be really hard, but that one "thank-you" in a bad week, makes it all worth it.

DroogieRN

Has 2 years experience.

I have been an RN for all of four months, but I can heartily second lots of what you've said here. I work days and nights, but love nights because families, docs and admin are usually home snug in their beds and I can just do my job without all the "help." :jester:

...and when I have to do anything beyond hanging an IV or giving pills or something of that nature, if the family is there and making things difficult, I send them out of the room. My patient has the right to privacy and I have the right to do my job without interference. I am nice about it, and have had only one family member say something -- she said, "No other nurse makes me leave." I just smiled and said, "Every nurse is different. Now if you'll excuse me for a few minutes, I'll come get you when I am finished here."

Maybe it's because nursing is a second career for me (I am 45) and I've raised a husband and two children, but no one yells at me more than once. I give patients some leeway, because they are sick, and sometimes the family, too, if the situation is particularly stressful. But docs, etc.? No way.

I agree with you, though. We nurses are worked like rented mules, only with less respect. It seems like whatever anyone can do to make our jobs more difficult, they do it. I am pretty sure I have never worked this hard in my entire life -- it is mentally and physically exhausting, and I sometimes find myself thinking, "What on earth am I doing here???" And then, like this past weekend, when I stayed late to help my elderly patient to the BSC for her first BM in 4 days, after I'd given her a little warm juice/cold juice cocktail, because she was so miserably constipated, and she took my hand and said, "Thank you so much, honey. No one understood how miserable I have been. I just know the Lord sent you to me today," well, it's those moments (even when poop is involved -- lol!) that sustain me.

Good luck to you!!! We are all in this together. :heartbeat

aileenve

Specializes in Med-surg,. Has 18 years experience.

The problem is not enough staff!!

LTC isn't quite that bad as far as families go , for the most part, ...but there are those that wonder where Mom's slippers went when you have someone on the floor, bed alarms going off like crazy, Dr's calling about orders, short staffed, administrators who DON'T "get it"..ect...ect... you do get hit, spit on, and called names from time to time though. Then there is the sad flip side, Families who NEVER come to visit their "loved ones" --days , months, years, go by, and that is depressing also. I didn't think that was what I signed up for 21 years ago, but here I am. ..Good luck to you OP.

enchantmentdis, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice, ONC, Tele, Med Surg, Endo/Output.

Yes, you are right. Nurses are treated like absolute garbage. I would love to kick family members out of the room, tell the patient you are so obese, which is why you are here. I'd love to tell management that the reason they are in management is because they were treated badly as a staff nurse and are happy now that they can treat their own staff badly. There is no organization that supports or protects nurses. The BRN is for the protection of the patients; lawyers are there to protect the patient and penalize nurses; unions are there to see nurses get more money, but do not help when nurses are in trouble with management--they become ineffective and side with management; & HR is there to assist management with firing nurses. Doctors unload on nurses because they can't offend the patients. All other employees are enjoying the fact that if they make errors, are late with tests, food, etc... the nurse will be yelled at. Nurses may require anti-insomnia meds, anti-anxiety meds, or even blood pressure meds just to deal with such a horrible profession, but cannot take them because management will say the nurse is impaired if a patient notices a nurse is tired or a bit slow. Drug screens are done for any little thing right now. I just got another job where if you have a car accident, hurt your ankle, or even suffer a needlestick the routine practice is an immediate drug screen of the nurse.

NurseFrustrated

Specializes in Med-surge, hospice, LTC, tele, rehab.

Thanks everyone for your replies. It's good to hear how other people feel about this. Believe me, I don't want to complain about my job. I want to have a job I like but it seems in nursing, it's next to impossible. Enchantmentdis, I couldn't agree with your post more. :yeah:

That's why I left the hospital. I am in home care now and it is A LOT better.

Ayvah, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Specialty. Has 10 years experience.

One thing I have learned in my short time being a employee, is that it doesn't seem to matter what job you have, there will always be some sort of BS you have to put up with. I had nasty coworkers when I was working in fast food during high school; a lazy, backstabbing boss when I worked retail during nursing school; and now as a nurse, I deal with a lot of the things you mention. I don't like it and know I never will, who would? But I don't do it for them, I do it for the patients who know how much I've done for them and they show it. It can be really hard, but that one "thank-you" in a bad week, makes it all worth it.

Yes, of course there will be 'office politics' everywhere, but the difference with hospital nursing is that you are dealing with pain and possibly life and death, and so many FIXABLE (hello management) things block us from being able to always do our job. No one will die if you forget to give a hamburger to a customer or double charge someone for a shirt, but short staffing in a hospital is directly related to deaths, along with people being in more pain, longer than they need to. Many of the issues the OP mentioned can be made better with better staffing.

This is why i became inactive or some of the reasons why that you have listed. Its sad we get in to nursing thinking one thing then reality hits and we find we're trapped or we feel trapped in a field we didn't want to be in then when we try to break out of the field it's like pulling teeth. I wish you luck on whatever you decide to do. I have kept my license active but i work in a factory even that has it's draws. I guess finding a happy medium that makes us happy is what we seek in career and life. These are my thoughts use them as you wish

I too am feeling disillusioned. Came home yesterday in tears due to the pace of the day. Frustrated because I can never get done on time and it is brought to my attention. I feel I do well with the pt.s but there just isn't enough staff to help when you need. Something needs to change with the system. If you have an ounce of pride in you it is difficult to sacrifice pt. care. I guess we may have to in order to survive. You are not alone in your frustration.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

Thanks everyone for your replies. It's good to hear how other people feel about this. Believe me, I don't want to complain about my job. I want to have a job I like but it seems in nursing, it's next to impossible. Enchantmentdis, I couldn't agree with your post more. :yeah:

This is a very inspirational poem from an R.N. named Melodie Chenevert.

This poem beautifully portrays what nursing means to me and maybe should be on the application to nursing school!

Being a NURSE means..........

You will NEVER be bored.

You will ALWAYS be frustrated.

You will be surrounded by CHALLENGES,

.........SO MUCH TO DO AND SO LITTLE TIME.

You will carry IMMENSE responsibility and VERY LITTLE authority.

You will step into people's lives and YOU WILL make a DIFFERENCE.

Some will BLESS you, some will CURSE you.

You will see people at their WORST and at their BEST.

You will never cease to be AMAZED at peoples capacity for LOVE, COURAGE and ENDURANCE.

You will see life BEGIN and you will see it END.

You will experience resounding TRIMUPHS and devastating FAILURES.

You will CRY a lot.

You will LAUGH a lot.

You will know what it is to be HUMAN and to be HUMANE.

Nursing is not everyones cup of tea........I do think there is a lot of reality shock when nurses graduate and enter the real world. The shock I blame on shcools for not preparing the grads on what it is really like out there. IMHO I believe nursing instructors should have bedside experience to better portray the realities of nursing. It's a great profession don't give up too easily. We all hate our jobs one time or another but there are good aspects as well as bad in any position. The best thing for me has always been the patients............I have met such amazing people.....living history.

Edited by Esme12

nerdtonurse?, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, Telemetry.

People who don't the job don't understand. They think we work in "Grey's Anatomy" when the reality is a lot more like "Barney Miller."

It really sucks to be the world's punching bag. That, unfortunately, usually comes with the job of being a nurse. I recommend finding a new job, getting a change of scenery, you know? I'm now a hospice nurse, and if your heart is in it, I highly suggest that field of nursing due to the great amount of respect, gratitude, and love you receive from families and patients. I haven't once been grilled, yelled at, or disrespected since starting my job as crisis care nurse with a nation-wide hospice company. I've only had the job since April, though. But I am truly happy in this role. And I pray you find that niche in nursing and in life that fulfills you.

Much love,

~Sara~