Nursing…..I am disillusioned

I am a senior nurse in a busy emergency department in London, England. I am so happy to find nurses from other countries who face exactly the same shit as I do on a daily basis. This is really helping me to make a big decision. Nursing appears to be crap across the globe and I think its time for a career change.

I have only been qualified for four years post degree and I initially enjoyed working in the ER. I rose through the ranks quickly and unfortunately arrived at a senior post that coincided with British Government targets to get all patients seen, treated, discharged or admitted within four hours of arriving in ER.

British ER departments are financed by public money as is the entire health system. We have few beds, appalling facilities but have to deal with patients who feel they have the god given right to behave and treat staff, nurses in particular, in any way they like. In Britain, this behaviour is commended by our managers and politicians as ‘PATIENT RIGHTS’.

Managers who have no clinical background parade around in my department telling me and my staff how to do our jobs in order to meet the target whilst earning three times my salary with none of the responsibility.

Doctors in England firmly believe they are God and currently only write a diagnosis on patients notes whilst the nursing staff have assessed and actively treated the patient for the same diagnosis before they have even been seen by a doctor with no thanks or extra payment. British nurses happily do this claiming it is an extension of their role but I see it as cheap labour taking on jobs that doctors no longer want to do.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the clinical aspects of my role and enjoy looking after genuine ER cases. Unfortunately only about 30% of patients that come to my department on a daily basis require emergency care. The rest are too lazy or stupid to self treat or access their family doctor. I am tired of not being able to have a cup of coffee or not urinating for over fourteen hours because each time I try to go for a break I am stopped by an irate relative complaining because his wife has not got a ward bed yet. Or a jumped up doctor who is only six months out of school shouting at my nurses who have more experience and ability then he will ever possess.

In England, nursing staff earn 15% more than the cleaners in the hospital setting. Dealing with death, trauma, complaints, political targets and interprofessional differences…..I’d rather mop the floors. Thanks for listening!!!

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