Jump to content

What keeps you comming back

I am new to the web site and have enjoyed all of the discussions I have read. What I would like to know is with all of the talk of overtime, marches, working conditions, pay etc. what is it that keeps you in the profession. What is the one moment that makes it all worth while? My momment was when a 14 year old home care pt with a trach was having a birthat party on my first vist with him. He was non verbal due to the tach but had spoken in the past, and could not tolerate a passe-muier(speaking valve). To break the ice I congratulated him on his birthday and told him I was older than dirt. He started laughing and evertime I would go to his home after that he would take a deep breathe and choke out "dirt". Later I found out he was using simple words and saying "Hi mom". See Its not alway the codes and life and death that make it worth while.

I like the big umbrella nursing works under. There are many nursing roles ie, school , clinic, homecare, hospital, with many different specialties, and others. If one area starts wearing you down, try another. Nursing has a plethora of opportunities nationwide as well as many places overseas, plus travel assigments. I also try to remember the times, I thought I made a difference to someone, or even heard a thank you. Each of us has the freedom to change, adapt, or get out. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.

I have seen a lot of posts by Susy K in the past. She certainly hit it right on the spot, when she referred to some of the things people say to make your day.

I have only been an RN 5 yrs. I went back to school part time at night after work, 5 days a week. I spent my weekends studying. I started this at the age of 29, with a house and a wife. At the age of 33 I graduated. I did a number of different things before nursing, like repair cars for Nissan and Ford, do construction work, plumming, electrical, landscaping, truck driving, shipping etc etc. I always said, who cares what job you go into, because you always have the right to change professions. Granted, depending what you might want to do, would decide on whether or not you need to go back to school again?

Rule #1- I have never said "I am gonna do this for the rest of my life".

Rule #2 - Never say never.

Which leads me to the present:

Sure when Families say nice things to you, or write letters it makes your day, and makes you feel like you are worthwhile and helping a cause. However, for those of us that have been doing it for more than two years or so, its different. We realize those compliments, and verbal or written grattitudes come far apart........and they do not stretch the distance. So that alone does not keep one going. I have worked my 5 years worth of experience all in ER, whcih I thought would be great, fun exciting. 99% of the people that come through the ER (except for those whose lives you save from a true emergency), are never satisfied and look at the ER as the McDonalds of medecine. They expect you to be courteous and friendly, and they expect to be in and out in less than an hour.

Here are some examples:

Patient statement: "It's just a sprained ankle, can't you just do the x-ray and get me out of here?"

Nurses statement: "I'm sorry sir, as you see our halls are packed and we are very busy, we'll get you out as soon as we can".

Nurses thoughts: Well sir if its only a sprain why the hell did you come to the ER? To clog up one more %^&*()# bed? To make the rest of the people out there with more meaningful injuries wait another 30 miutes? let me guess it wasn't rainging out, so you thought you would come to the ER, because your ankle is not swollen, not deformed, not brusied...but you know its sprained?

Patient statement: "How long am I gonna have to be here? I only came in because I am dizzy?

Nurse: well......probably another hour and a half anyways mam. It takes that long to do the blood tests, and a CT of the head, and hget results.

patient: "well can't they just diagnose it and give me something for it? This is ridiculous!"

Nurse has time to say, "no I'm afraid it doesn't work that way mam."

Nurse should have time to say, "Well mam things like electrolyte imbalances, and infections, and strokes, mini-strokes can all cause problems like you are experiencing. Do you have any other questions?"

Nurse would like to say: "this is not @#$%^&* McDonalds, or urgent care, and no unlike what most people think, this is not the show ER and we dont get lab results and CT results back in 10 minutes."

Patients fail to realize, that while some law suites are legitimate, there are tons of bogus ones, and non bogus ones that are are won, or settled on out of court, just to avoid the whole court proccess.

Remember the man in Fla who had the wrong leg amputated? They failed to mention that the man was a diabetic with peripheral vascualar disease, and that the other leg (alleged good leg) was in almost as bad as shape as the one that needed immediate amputation).

Charting is such an essential for physicians and nurses, that it delays the "it's just a sprain" patient, and delays the "I'm dizzy patient", that takes our time away from them. Nurses, 50% charting, 50% patient care (hands on), physicians, 10% patient contact,40% charting, 40% evaluation of tests, and 10% or more of phone calls to pmds (attendings).

I would have to say, that despite all these on going issues, shortages etc.......I do like my job...and I don't ever go in thinking I dont want to be here.

I dont feel as excited about going to work as I used too. When I started there, and for the 1st 2 1/2 years, we were like a family with a lot of continuity. Everybody helped everybody, and you could say anything to anybody without a problem. Since then there has been a complete trunaround on nights twice, and evenings once +. Things are not the same that way now. Dayshift? Mostly people that have been there since Julious Ceasars death.

We haven't had a lot of problems with staffing other than nights. So I haven't been through that yet (in the sense that the floors and units deal with it).

While 5 yrs ago a busy night was to see 37-40 patients a shift, 2 years ago it was 42-47 a shift. With closings of two of the areas major hospital systems in the last 16 months, now 47 - 60 people is a busy shift with 42 the average. They are adding 4 more beds to our ER, and want us to staff those also with the same staff we use currently.

The additional use of agency nurses in the ER, has caused an uproar among staff. Why, because the hospital did not pay out premium pay for additional time, unless over 40 hrs a week. Well......for those of us who are full time (72 hrs per pay), we dont want to come in on that extra day for the same pay. For those of us part time 40 hrs per pay, they choose part time for reason, and that was not to work more hours.

They started giving us premium pay ($10 an hour extra after the bitching, and excessive agency use.

The bottom line its a constant battle to get things where nurses feel they should be. The War is never won, only battles are won and lost. Health care, fireman and police all have to work weekends and holidays as part of their job description.......for regular pay, and someone else controlling the numbers of available help. Is healthcare something that help should be cut back on??? Should we not get O/T for working Christmas day or eve, whether or not it is extra?

Benefits -You would think healthcare individuals would have great benefits........but they are for the most part no better than anyone elses?

Pensions suck - we get like 800 a month after working for a system for 25 yrs.....what a bargain eh?

Hearing about the Taco belle employee making 20,000 a year kind irks me? when new degreed nurses start at about 28,000 yr? The garbage man.......ooooooopsss waste sanitation engineer that makes 60,000 a yr, and the UPS man that makes 50,000 a yr, etc etc all irk me. I ask myself? Why not work for UPS? Not sure........personally..I still like my job and have some hurdels before I move on.

I can vouch for Suzy K though.....I know many......who don't know what they would go do? How to start another career after being in nursing so long? The entire medical system, and future lack of nurses is at stake. Thats what the rpoblem is. I know physicians not near retirement, ready to quit and try other things.

There are so many issues......its not just one thing......hope this sheds some light on the subject.

CEN35 (Rick)

Hi. What keeps me? The opportunity to work in different areas of nursing that keeps me from getting totally frustrated with nursing.


Specializes in LDRP; Education. Has 7 years experience.

What keeps me is partly - too scared to start a whole new career and for the times when I really connect with my patient.

For the times when I feel like my heart is not in it, and I'm actually very tired and annoyed at being there, and despite this my patient and her family call me an angel for doing what I do, and that I must be a very special person with a kind heart.

Boy that was humbling.


Specializes in LDRP; Education. Has 7 years experience.

Omigod Rick - you had me laughing hysterically with your post!!!! I always knew there was a better description for the ER than what it was - the McDonald's parallel was just too much!

That's why I find the show ER so entertaining. I love how they deliver babies and don't even bother to call upstairs to OB!

Your ER stories remind me of when I worked as a physician answering service after hours while in college. I swear, I was able to tell you when the phones would ring and not ring. If there was a Packer game on, the phones were DEAD. As soon as the game was over, the phones would ring non-stop about complaints such as a "cough I've had for 2 weeks" or "dizziness" or one patient even told me that she could not move at all. I wondered silently how she dialed the phone.

Rick, you made my day. I like you.


Specializes in Everything except surgery. Has 27 years experience.

I stay because nurse is what I am, not just what I do. I'm someone, who has what my mother called a "soft heart". Thank God, because I can have a very quick temper. But when I calm down, I think about how that person was probably feeling, and why they may have did, or said whatever. And I could kick myself for causing them stress. So when "some" patients strike out because they don't feel well, or they have stressors no one is aware of, or their family members are rude, and nasty. I found if I agree with them, and apologize, they soon calm down, and just about all of them leave smiling. You can't please everyone, but I try to put myself in their place, and "try" to understand were they're coming from. It doesn't always work, and sometimes what I'm saying in my head isn't very nice.

But the rude ones, are totally outweighted by the smiles, the hugs, the handshakes, the cards, and tears I see, when someone goes home, no matter what setting I have worked in.

Also, everytime I see a patient, or family member, I see myself. But for the grace of God, there go I. I just want to do it without feeling gulity all the time.


This topic is now closed to further replies.

By using the site you agree to our Privacy, Cookies, and Terms of Service Policies.