Nurse – RN trained to save your butt not kiss it

Lately, I am just glad to have a job. My job is stressful and I am under appreciated if not appreciated at all, along with all my coworkers. There are times I feel as though I would like to quit, but nursing is all I know how to do and I do it well. I can fathom starting over again, but as what? I would need a job with a salary comparable to the salary I make currently and I am at a loss for what I really want to do with myself. I go through the motions and I do not get over involved in things. Most days I leave work feeling overwhelmed and as though I could have done a better job.

The nursing home where I work sets up staff for failure. What goes on there now is pitiful and I have unfortunately seen it before when I worked at the hospital. The management team has been told to cut budgets and what happens is staff gets cut. The staff that gets cut is the long term nurses that have been there for years and make the most money. It starts out like a witch hunt, going after overworked tired LPNs and RNs and focusing on every omitted detail and every tiny mistake. They get reprimanded to a point that they are let go and they have to start over. At least the hospital staff was honest and stated that it was do to budget cuts that they were letting us go and offering or not offering us positions. The honesty does not make it any better. Then the ones who hang on, they are “hunted” and harassed until they quit. The dollar, huh?

I get tired of being short staffed. I am a RN supervisor who is in charge of the building on 12 hour nights. Yes, 2 days is all I can stand nowadays and has been for years. So I get to work and instead of properly supervising the house like I am supposed to I can not leave the unit because I am on a cart and passing meds, doing treatments, etc. I get there at 7pm and I can not get out of the rehab unit until nearly one in the morning because of notes and taking off orders that 7a-7p didn’t take off. I also have to help out the 11-7 nurse with chart checks and some documentation because if I did not, that poor girl would not leave until after 8 am. I do all the incident reports in the building only because if I do not they will come back over some minutiae that was not written. I have to sign off on this nonsense so I may as well do the doc in duplicate mind you because everything has to be done on computer as well as on paper. And paperless documentation was supposed to eliminate paper?

I spent 3 years getting an Associate Degree to lock doors at 1230am and unlock doors at 530am. I get to bring in the newspapers, too. I pretend to be a central supply employee as well because whatever is not stocked on the unit, I get to go to the basement and fetch. The basement looks like something out of the Saw movies only with brighter lights. I get to run around and deliver O2 equipment and pass out cups to the CNAs so they can fill them up. I also pretend to be staff development by filling in any call outs that come in. I like the early call outs so I do not have to bother anyone at 500am with my “It’s me, your favorite supervisor calling to see if you want to come in to work because we had two call outs” speech. I can call to bother them at 8pm instead. Then I get to deal with the boo-hooing when no one is willing to come in and work for a lot of aggravation and little pay.

What about your patients? you may ask. I say what patients. I don’t have time for dealing with their needs because I’ve got 30 of them to deal with. I don’t have the time to say hello or how are you. I just get to say, I have your pills. I’m the one who deals with the complaints, the crazy families that can’t deal with their loved one’s demise or change in health status. I get to be called stupid and my nursing judgement is challenged by ignorant family members with bad attitudes. I get to come up with excuses why mom or dad’s problems weren’t handled all week long. I’ve decided that taking the honest route with disgruntled family members is the best route. If their loved one’s declined to the point that they may need hospice and a DNR, then that’s what I tell them. I pass them off on management on Monday too and put a band aid on a bullet wound, so to speak.

I had my CNA’s told by the administrator not to “bother” the nursing staff with things like helping to lift, transfer, or pull up a resident. I have to answer call lights for the CNA’s because 2 of 4 of them is off the floor at lunch and the two that are left on the floor are actually working. I put people on bed pans and turn and diaper them and then I get shocked replies that I’m the only nurse they’ve yet to see do that kind of stuff, and the person’s been there for a week. I don’t have the answers to make things right, because if I did I’d have my bachelor’s degree and I’d be the big mahoff behind the desk in the office who gets to be in charge. And who wants to deal with that? It’s worse than locking and unlocking doors and playing fetch in the saw like basement.