Just Another Nurse Telling Another story

Over a decade in nursing, almost 2 in medical field. I’ve worked in ICU, home health, medsurg, neuro, cardiology, burn unit, bone marrow transplant, renal dialysis, and even a few days in a nursing home. I’ve tried and done it all. Employers love to hire me because I have such extensive knowledge. I can handle just about any situation. I have been ACLS certified since I graduated and worked in critical care in both acute care settings and through agencies.

It seems just yesterday, I was young with enthusiastic eyes. I’m now 36 and absolutely hate nursing. The only time I love nursing is when it’s me in a patient’s room with the door closed using my skills to help someone. Even that scenario can be rare enjoyment nowadays. Patients and families are more “educated” with the internet at their disposal. Many times I find myself correcting their beliefs and research than agreeing with patient and family members declarations of their new found knowledge. Many times I find them using this knowledge as ammunition against me, the beginning scenario being patient’s and families don’t believe I have the knowledge to properly care for them or their loved ones. I know it’s a defense mechanism, but sometimes a little bit of information can be extremely dangerous. So, every new patient or family member I encounter, many times it seems I’m having to prove to them my knowledge all over again. I’m tired of it really.

The only reason I keep doing my job is for the paycheck. I’ve contemplated many times going to work at walmart just to escape the horror that the nursing job gives. However, I have bills to pay and cannot afford a lower paying job.

It has gotten to such a sad state of affairs, it makes me very depressed. I get a heavy feeling in my chest every time I have to go to work. I don’t know what kind of situation I’m going to walk into. Are we going to have enough nurses for my shifts? Are we going to have any CNA’s? What kind of patients am I going to have in my large group of patients? Who is going to be the supervisor? Who am I going to be working with? Are we going to have a charge nurse? These questions are just a few I wonder about because they directly relate to the kind of shift I’m going to have. I’m a very strong person and can handle situations that many avoid, but over time it really starts to whittle away at your soul, in a way.

More than not, we don’t have enough nurses, sometimes only 1 CNA if any at all for dozens of patients. The patients expect things to happen the second they hit the call light. Management expects it too. It is an impossible situation and in the end, the nurse is to blame.

Management’s solution to under staffing and heavy workloads are time management skills and employee attitude programs and philosophies. It’s a bunch of BS because they are only out to make as much money they can for the hospital so they can get the maximum bonuses for themselves at each fiscal quarter or year. It is really really sad. Acuity tools are used but are manipulated to a hospitals advantage to attain fiscal goals. Nurses demand staffing according to acuity, so they implement a acuity tool for the nurses to complete each shift. If management doesn’t like how the numbers come out at the end of a shift, they will change it so they can save money. So a nurse will fill out a acuity ranking tool on each of their patients each shift only for management to change it again leaving the patients without the required number of nurses needed due to all patients level of care required based on illness and needs. It’s an acuity tool that isn’t an acuity tool. When a hospital says “we staff on acuity”, it’s a sales pitch. In reality they don’t. Hospital management will never admit it, but it happens everyday. If the acuity does not match their financial goals, they WILL fix it to their advantage, not the nurse’s or patient’s advantage. In the end, money is the bottom line above all other considerations. Sick.

Luckily for me, I have been working hard over the past few years to get out of nursing. It will happen soon here in the next few months.

I urge anyone who is considering nursing, don’t do it. You will regret it later. Unless you want to get into management, go for it. If you want to care for patient’s directly, good luck. You will eventually kill your self both physically and mentally over time.

It could be so much better with the right actions taken by people in power. However, business rules and dictates what is appropriate in nursing. They know what is safe patient-nurse ratios. They know how much costs should be put forth to properly care for patients. Pfffttt!! The only thing they know is how to make themselves rich while the patients and the nurses suffer. If you want to be a nurse in management, go for it, you will probably do quite well financially. However, years later, you may feel much guilt that you could have done so much more for the nursing profession as a whole. As you sit in a hospital bed as an elderly person waiting for someone to come clean up your BM, then and only then will you realize that your efforts were null.

I must apologize myself. I’ve spoken up and been ridiculed for trying to make the right things happen for patients. I’ve been told “If you don’t like it, hit the street”. This coming from a nurse in management. So, I apologize for eventually leaving the field, but I cannot help in a situation where the kings want to keep the pawns in the mud with their snouts dirty.

Good luck to any and all entering the field. For a career that deals directly with human lives, it’s absolutely corrupt. I dread when I have to go into the hospital, because I’ve seen what happens behind the scenes. At least if I’m conscious, I’ll know how to treat myself. I feel sorry for the many that will not.

I’ve even had a doctor tell me that he would not recommend anyone going into medicine unless they were born for it. He recommended going into business! LOL! Nursing is in sad state of affairs. There is a nursing shortage that is project to get worse through 2020. The way nurses are treated, there won’t be anyone interested in entering the field to fill these vacant positions. There are not enough nurses to teach in schools to graduate the number nurses required to meet the demand. But who in the end is going to care for our sick? The attitude and attention given to the nursing field is already of such low priority it will be at an epidemic point before action is taken. This field is dealt with in a reactive manner, not proactive.

Anyway, I’ve said enough. You get the idea. Enter nursing, find out for yourself. I really do hope it get’s better. I’ve read articles about nurses in Mexico having 40 patients when the norm is 14. It’s bad here in the US and even worse in other countries. Something has to happen.