Monthly Archives: November 2012

Nursing is a War Zone

I have not posted anything for a while. I have stopped doing travel nursing, due to personal circumstances that are not allowing me to do it at the moment. I recently got married, and until we get everything sorted out with his immigration papers, it is easier to just stay in one place here. So, I have been renewing my agency contract at the local hospital here. I also recently applied to the LTAC facility here for a secondary PRN job. I desperately need a change. I have been experiencing maximum frustration with medicine and nursing in general, particularly here in this area.

Lately, moral has been in the dumps. And for good reason. It seems as though the hospital wants to eek out more and more from us, until we are wearied to the bone. I recently floated to the medical unit. I started out with 6 patients. discharged three of them and admitted 2. I felt like all I had time to do was run down the hall chucking meds down people’s throats and keep moving. Everyone wanted a piece of me. There was no time to do anything. I could see why nurses get so frustrated and short tempered. You feel like a pill and paper pusher. This is not why I got into nursing. I got into nursing to care for people. to educate them, to help them, to provide compassionate care.

The next day I was back in the ICU, large and in charge. I started out with 2 patients, and quickly was tripled. We ended up moving out 4 admitting and transferring 4 in. I transferred a patient out to another hospital with an OB team. It was chaos. Hell really. Flash pulmonary edema, drips, codes, just…hell. I did not leave until 10:30 that night. It occurred to me that day, that I was in a war zone. We barely have the equipment needed to do our jobs properly. Doctors scream at us, curse at us, even hit us at times. Administration piles it on higher and deeper. I often feel like I am barely keeping my head above water. I have nightmares about work. Administration does not back us, doctors belittle us, and everyone exists in a state of fear. You never know when you will be written up again, who will be fired on a whim, and most people do not know that a better way exists.

So, you ask, why do I stay? I adore the people I work with. My coworkers are lovely. They make me happy to go to work. I love being a nurse, and I feel like I make a difference almost everyday, even in some small way. And right now, I am not in a position to go anywhere else. At least not until things are more settled at home. I am just afraid that this place is stripping me of my passion for nursing. I do not want to become bitter and jaded. I do not want to become cowed into not speaking when things are wrong. If it is shit, it is shit. candy coating it, just makes it candy coated shit. You cannot change what you do not acknowledge.

I am also frustrated by some of my younger coworkers, who have never worked anywhere else. I feel that they have unrealistic expectations. It is always up to the mysterious “they” to fix everything. “They should give us more help” “They should treat us differently” “They should fix these problems”. It is what it is. When the shit is hitting the fan, screaming about it and having a temper tantrum refusing to accept an assignment is not going to solve a thing. Demanding more help when it just is not available won’t make a difference. Yes, it sucks where we work. No question about it. So what are you going to do about it?

These same nurses, do not seem to get involved. I do not see them going to staffing meetings, or nursing congress, or doing anything to try and make things better. In my humble opinion, the only way we will ever have things better, is to be more self directed. For the nurses in the trenches to set the standard and the goals. We need to come together and come up with creative solutions to fix our problems, and present them to administration. This will give us back a sense of control, and in the end be a lot more effective then temper tantrums. Perhaps we will even be able to solve some of our issues. But you know what? If we don’t try, we will never know.


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