When All Is Left Is My Passion For Nursing...

Nursing was never the same. As people's health care needs change, so is Nursing. It became more demanding requiring more from the nurses. This article highlights some of my day to day experiences and my passion for Nursing which propels me and motivates me to go forward with the change.

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  • Specializes in Medical-Surgical Nurse. Has 14 years experience.

I remembered when I was a Nursing student garbed in my white uniform, white shoes and my nurse cap, I was a sight of professionalism and respect. I loved it when I walked down the corridors, people would look up with respect for such a noble profession that I chose to be in. I felt the pride, the humility, and was proud to be in the Nursing school. This was 19 years ago, fast forward to where I am right now so much has changed. I am wearing a scrub with loud colors, Dansko nursing shoes complete with a blue stethoscope and four-colored pen. Gone is my white cap which I felt should have stayed in modern Nursing, a symbol of my pride as a nurse. I am no different from a Nursing Assistant, appearance wise. The only thing that sets me apart from them is my Nursing badge.

I still feel the same way about my profession these days, but in my opinion nurses have so many tasks to do than what we can handle. I have seen strong, seasoned nurses in my unit break down and cry - burned out, over worked and over stressed. Tender touch, words of encouragement, and quality time that are expected of us are being delivered in a hurried way that it felt and sounded so routine and the meaning was lost all together. The common words I hear so often at work are, "I can't wait to get out of here". And I don't blame them because I felt the same way and I work an 8-hour shift, I can only imagine what a 12-hour shift Nurse is going through.

Why do I think this way? Things I've seen and people (patients and their family) I have met who I have taken care of in the hospital and the nursing responsibilities that have grown twice or triple the number from 19 years ago are all leaving an overwhelming sense of duty for me. The old Nursing as I recall leaves most of the educational and informative part to the doctors like discussing lab results, the medications, and the plan of care while nurses focus and take care of the nursing needs of the patients like bathing, feeding, giving medications, and bedside care. I remembered saying to the family before,"The doctor will talk to you about the plan". Today nurses play a major role, so big that I can proudly say doctors will be at a loss if nurses cease to exist. Nurses have become educators, practitioners, physician assistants, anesthesiologists, legal consultants and certified in special areas.

Just the other day I was so overwhelmed at work, I admitted a 75 year old dementia patient coming from a Nursing Home for UTI. Of course the two daughters were with him and very supportive of their dad. What was supposed to be a 15-20 minute admission turned out to be almost an hour. One daughter was asking all the medications the doctor ordered and what they are for, which are the same medications he has been taking at the nursing home for 2 years. While the other daughter wants me to tell them the plan of care which I thought the doctor already discussed with them in the ER. They said the doctor did this morning but they wanted to know if something changed from their last conversation. Things like this are just an every day scenario in my work place. If it's not the patient who demands more of my time, it's the family sometimes. And I don't blame them because I would do the same for my family. But as a nurse who has 5 patients in my care, an hour spent on one patient means the other four will have to wait for their turn. If one of them has every 2 hours pain medicine PRN and calls for it on the dot, and the other has a continuous bladder irrigation wide open, these will be enough to send me in a panic mode. And we all know panic means stress and stress is not healthy at all. But for some reason nurses are expected to handle stress well.

Another scenario is taking care of a patient having alcohol withdrawal. I can't believe how a person changes from being a "nice and pleasant young man" as his friends call him to a totally aggressive, combative, and confused man. I feel my safety is always at risk when I have patients like this. I have been kicked, hit, threatened and called many profane words by a withdrawing patient, some of the reasons are just because I just wanted to give him his medications and he didn't want to be bothered or because I told him he was not allowed to go out and smoke or leave the hospital because he was not medically cleared. I and my colleague's only saving grace are the brave, highly trained Security staff who responds promptly to every code we called for violent patients. No nurse gets used to this scenario, every day is a constant battle to remain safe - may it be from the combative patients, or volatile families or from the simple sharps and needles we used in our practice.

If I didn't choose Nursing as a profession, or if someone just talked me into getting the course done, I wouldn't be here in this same profession for 14 years now. My first year as a nurse was so stressful that I thought I would quit. It was my passion for Nursing that cemented my decision to stay. The extra ordinary scenes, people, and experiences I encountered and learned from this profession can't be compared to anything in this world. Only in Nursing I've gotten to glimpse the many faces of reality of life - the rich, the homeless, the substance abuser, the cancer-stricken, the dysfunctional family and the well-supported ones, the psychiatric patients, and the convicts. The reality that we all get sick no matter what your status in life is. I am honored and privileged to be given the chance to take care of these people, because through them I learn to appreciate life, I learn to feel compassion, to feel hate, to feel gratitude, and to feel valuable. Through my care I can touch people's lives. I can make a difference in each and every one of them even in a short span of time that I took care of them. For me, Nursing is not only a profession but a vocation...it is a calling. One of the most rewarding and sweetest words I ever heard from my patient was ,"Well done. You made my stay in the hospital so pleasant. I wasn't afraid anymore because people like you made me at ease."

14 year(s) of experience in Medical-Surgical Nurse

2 Articles   23 Posts

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Nurses need to ban together, without fear, and take our profession back. We live it, work it, give our all to it; we know what works! Nursing has changed in the last 20 years; but we cannot allow patient care to stay in the back seat. Isn't that what we went to school for, work for....etc? Patient Care; Nurses need to speak out. Work with the "powers that be" to be able to continue caring for our patients. Be proactive! Thanks for your article!

deny121375

2 Articles; 23 Posts

Specializes in Medical-Surgical Nurse. Has 14 years experience.

I totally agree with you. We need Nurses to step in and be proactive when it comes to patient care.

FloridaBeagle

217 Posts

Specializes in Peds, Neuro, Orthopedics. Has 3 years experience.

Deny: I agree with everything but the nursing cap. The last thing I need is to wear something that will make me hotter/sweat more as I run around like a chicken with my head cut off! All my patients make fun of my headband that I have to wear to soak up the sweat: what they don't realize is my sweat would be all over them without it.

This post reminds me of the face of one of my patients when she realized I wasn't going to engage in chit-chat with her. Every attempt she made for small-talk I re-directed to my assessment questions, because I have to quickly get through her to get to the other 5 patients, so then I can do the med-pass, so then I can chart, and then assess again and then chart again, and change the diapers of my 2 total care patients multiple times, call a dr about a critical lab result, and on and on and on. It's not that I didn't want to talk to her, it's that I couldn't. There. is. no. time. Period. Ironically, one of the things we're scripted to say is, "Is there anything else I can do for you? I have the time." I never follow the script because I have an ethical problem with flat-out lying to patients.

iluvivt, BSN, RN

2,773 Posts

Specializes in Infusion Nursing, Home Health Infusion. Has 32 years experience.

A q w

deny121375

2 Articles; 23 Posts

Specializes in Medical-Surgical Nurse. Has 14 years experience.

Beagle62: My friends don't want the nursing cap too, I think I'm the only one who wants it back :) And you are right, it's not that we don't want to talk to our patients, we couldn't because of the reasons you cited. I am a people person and it gnaws me inside out when an 80 year old patient really wanted to tell her story but I couldn't stay. I feel I am neglecting a part of what a nurse should be so I can get out on time and not get in trouble for staying over time:(

deny121375

2 Articles; 23 Posts

Specializes in Medical-Surgical Nurse. Has 14 years experience.

iluvivt: What is A q w???

iluvivt, BSN, RN

2,773 Posts

Specializes in Infusion Nursing, Home Health Infusion. Has 32 years experience.

Hi I don't even know myself how "Aqw" even got posted unless I feel asleep while reading with my lap top on top of me as I often do! I do agree with everything you said though.