Nursing is Making My Life Miserable

I struggled through 4 yrs in college getting my degree in nursing because I wanted to help people, it was good money, and there were jobs everywhere. I got a job at a hospital right out of nursing school. All of us newbies soon realized we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We were all disillusioned and depressed. We were worked like dogs and treated like crap from the doctors to other nurses and unit clerks for everything it seemed. Everything bad that has been posted about nursing is absolutely true so I won’t repeat all of that. I went to part-time for home health. I didn’t like that either since the patients are old and lonely and want you to be their sounding board for everything that’s wrong in their life and if they can they blame you. Then I floated for a while and each floor of the hospital had it’s different cliques and way of doing things and since I wasn’t there regularly I was an outcast and dumped on all the things no one else wanted to do including the nursing aide’s jobs because after all they were in on the cliques. So then I tried OB and loved it except I started having blood pressure problems at age 23 because the nursing ratio is supposed to be 1 nurse per 2 labor patients but most of the time it was 1 nurse to 6 or more labor patients so of course you’re constantly trying to juggle all these patients who seem like they are ready to deliver at once and no doctor in sight and when they do show up they yell because their equipment isn’t where they wanted it or you’re busy with another patient or whatever. However the main reason I left was because of the constant forced overtime and call-ins. I was pregnant and knew after being forced over for the third time in a week that there was no way I would be able to juggle a family with that crazy work schedule and then I had a miscarriage (probably from the stress and exhaustion) so when the school nurse position opened up I jumped on it. I thought wow-I can be a nurse but with a teacher’s schedule-the perfect job! I thought wrong. Your pay is cut-you get exactly what the teacher’s get.

However, I didn’t care about that since it would be worth it if it was a better job. I got my school nurse certification and then my board of education credits that were required and settled in. The first thing i noticed is that it’s the same kids that are sent to you over and over for complaints that usually aren’t really there-they just want out of class or to go home and for some reason the teachers just let it happen. I’d go to the teacher and say I’ve seen little Suzy six times this week and the teacher would say well if they complain I have to send them because it may be a real problem. Well the only problem would be they were bored with class. I would call the parents and sometimes they’d care and make their kids stop. This was just annoying because in addition to the 20-30 kids I got the pleasure of seeing EVERY single day I was also passing out ADD/ADHD medicine twice a day to around 50 kids,catherizing a few kids twice a day, checking blood sugars on several kids twice a day, doing vision and hearing checks, doing first aid on the kids who got hurt and were truly sick, doing health talks, paperwork and care plans, attending meetings and my favorite- checking roomfuls of kids for lice. Lice was very rampant where I was and the teachers got very upset if someone in their class had lice which is understandable. The problem is when the child was discovered then they had to go home but the kids who had lice-well their parents didn’t answer the phone because they knew why we were calling so these bored kids would sit in my office all day long bouncing off the walls. I felt like a babysitter. There were several kids who had missed so much school they were in danger of being held back so if I had extra lice shampoo I’d just treat them myself and send them back.

However, that just made the parents mad because-well I don’t know. I’d point out that they had been sent home with lice and missed 20 out of 40 days because they parent hadn’t treated the problem so I thought I’d help them out but they’d get all upset and blame me for spreading the lice around. Yes I enjoy lice so much I try to infest the entire school. Every day I had parents literally yelling at me(sometimes so loud the principle would have to come in) for either giving their kids lice, sending them home for such a stupid problem as lice, for making them miss work to pick up their sick kid or making them take their kid to the dr (when they had a problem that needed antibiotics for several weeks and the parents didn’t want to waste time even though most of them had a medical card and it was free). I also loved it when parents would send their kids to school with a fever and then be unreachable the entire day. Also I think some teachers thought they had a medical degree. They’d sent me kids who I would check out and deem fine and send back only to come storming back and demand I send the kid home when there was no reason other than they were annoyed with them. They didn’t believe that this kid may have been laughing about getting out of their class again because the kid would put on such an act in class the teacher just knew they were dying. A lot of the teachers just acted like I was there to do their beck and call and didn’t treat me much better than some of the dr’s. I didn’t get breaks or lunch on my own-I was always interruped and sometimes the kids would ask if they could have a bite of my lunch! If I did manage to go to the bathroom I usually had someone knocking on the door looking for me. It just wasn’t what I thought it would be.

I tried working in a few different schools and the problems were always the same-maybe not as bad but they were there. It did make me feel good when I was actually able to help a few of those kids feel better or get treatment for a problem their parent didn’t know about and for the few parents that were grateful for what I did and the few teachers that were actually nice to me but those days were few and far between. I quit after five years to stay home with my kids and have never regretted it however the youngest is getting ready to start kg and we need money so I’m needing to return to work but don’t know what to do. My husband doesn’t want me to return to nursing because he knows how bad it was and doesn’t want me being that miserable again. I just hate the feeling I spent all that time and mine my parent’s money for a degree in a job I hate-it’s such a waste but the thought of returning to nursing just makes me cringe. I don’t have the money to get another degree. If the hospitals were well staffed and treated you with respect then it would be so much better. I just don’t understand why we’re treated so badly for taking care of people and keeping them alive!