The Nurse on the Other Side

When the time comes, how do you want to be treated?

Every nurse will one day find themselves on the other side of nursing.

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You are reading page 13 of The Nurse on the Other Side

OCNRN63, RN

5,978 Posts

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.
Cricket183 said:
I too am a retired RN. (It still hurts to see that in writing!) I have spent the past 10 years in and out of the hospital more times then I care to count. I hate being on the other side of the bed. The overwhelming majority of my experiences have been positive, but there have been a few negative ones as well. I seldom volunteer that I am a RN although it usually eventually does come up. (Either just in general conversation or because I use medical terminology or a family member--usually my mom--will mention it or even once because I accidentally signed a consent form in the wrong spot out of habit.)

I think the problem some people are having issue with is not that the OP had a negative experience (I think we all understand that it can and does happen) but that the OP (1) fails to take accountability for her part in that experience, and she (2) conveyed that experience with a lot of speculation and judgement attached to it. In the OP she imagines the nurse talking about her with colleagues behind her back, rushing to look at her face sheet to see her "MSN" title, and failing to look through her chart to see her history and reason for admission--all speculation. The OP has no idea whether or not these things actually happened. In her own words she imagined them happening in her mind.

It kind of reminds me of how I was taught to chart. Stick to the facts and convey only what actually happened. Had the OP done so and not taken literary license then perhaps people would not have responded so negatively.

Just my thoughts/opinion.

Now to the OP. I'm sorry you are sick and I'm sorry you had to retire before you felt ready. I know firsthand how bad that sucks. I was only 38 when I got sick; 40 when I was forced to go on disability; and now at 48, I still have a great deal of difficulty accepting that my nursing career may be over. When I am hospitalized it is always an acute reminder to me of the career I had to leave behind and of the environment I once thrived in. I feel twinges of jealousy when I see the nurses performing tasks that I use to do and it makes it even more painful that they are performing them on me. I become acutely aware of how my body has betrayed me and of the things I can no longer do. I wouldn't wish that on anyone and I'm sorry you are having to deal with it.

Cricket, I understand how you feel. I got sick in 2011, and by 2012 was permanently disabled. I miss it. My former co-workers have been so supportive, but it's not the same. Even worse, I had just found my niche after close to 30 years in nursing.

Cricket183, BSN, RN

1 Article; 237 Posts

Specializes in Oncology (OCN). Has 20 years experience.
OCNRN63 said:
Cricket, I understand how you feel. I got sick in 2011, and by 2012 was permanently disabled. I miss it. My former co-workers have been so supportive, but it's not the same. Even worse, I had just found my niche after close to 30 years in nursing.

OCNRN63,

I'm very sorry your career was cut short. I am guessing by your user name you found your niche in oncology? That was my niche too. I was lucky enough to find it right after graduation. It was quite by accident as when I went to school I had always pictured myself working NICU. I loved oncology. I had just received my OCN about a year prior to becoming sick. There was soon to be an opening for unit manager of the oncology department and I had every intention of applying. It was my dream job an I really think I was a very good candidate. Unfortunately, I ended up going on disability two months before my manager retired. I still have difficulty accepting my forced retirement. I haven't let go of the hope that I will one day return to nursing although given my current health & age it is becoming less and less likely that will happen. Just recently I have started entertaining the idea of contributing to nursing in a different way (through professional writing). I just feel I still have a lot to offer.

Gamecock73

33 Posts

If the OP's point was to demonstrate something wrong is happening with patient care, I would certainly agree.

I purposely do NOT tell any medical staff that I am a nurse when I am undergoing care. While it worked out for the best for me five years ago, I don't do it now. (I couldn't escape the fact that I was a nurse then, as two of the nurses responsible for my care after breast cancer surgery graduated with me.)

My most recent experience with health care on the other side of the stethoscope was, well, eye-opening. I showed up to day hospital with a severe facial injury sustained from a fall. (I had asked the receptionist to please have the surgeon send over an order for pain meds prior to surgery. She assured me he'd be over soon from the office and the staff could always call to get an order for something, which I knew already.)

One after the other, the RNs I encountered passed the buck. "Oh, when you get to the holding area, they'll give you something." "The anesthesiologist will give you something after he comes in to talk to you." "The nurse will come back in and give you something." By the time some kind nurse wandered by to see my chart stuck outside my cubicle, I had my head buried in my hands, crying. (And I don't cry over pain. If's I'm crying, my pain is a 20 on the 0-10 scale.)

The most shocking thing? No one assessed me. I have no doubt they were competent nurses, but no one listened to my heart, or lungs, or checked my pulses. All because I was a "walkie-talkie". They had no idea I was a nurse.

I had a patient the other night who was a "walkie-talkie" who happened to be a pharmacist. (If any of the day shift nurses had the time to slow down and talk to her, she might've clued them in.) She expressed surprise at the fact I ACTUALLY assessed her, head-to-toe. I didn't know that she was in the medical field until then. "Do you know that you are the first person to do that?", she asked as I removed her socks to check her heels. I initially thought something was wrong with what I did, but then the patient explained that no one had checked her pedal pulses, listened to her heart/lungs, or removed her socks to check for wounds. And she'd been through 3 very experienced nurses before me, the kind I would rank above me.

Am I the greatest nurse? No. Will I ever be better than average? I sure hope so. But it makes me wonder about the rest of the profession when people don't even try to do the basic things. Was OP wrong in her experience? Maybe, as a lot of it comes down to perception.

And this is where the all-hallowed HCAPS come into play.