As a Nurse of 4 years and a Float Nurse for 2 of those, I’ve developed a very unique perspective towards this profession. With the exception of ICU, babies, and the OR, I’ve pretty much put my foot in all waters. I see how the hospital flows. I’ve also seen the demands that each area requires. And let me start by first saying that no discipline is easier than another! They all have their pros and cons. They all have their ease. They all have their extreme difficulties. But nonetheless, not one is easier than another. Period.
I say all of this because I want to change the narrative on how nurses see each other in the hospital, despite the demands. One of my biggest pet peeves as a nurse is division. I’ve watched the ER get frustrated towards the floor for not being able to just put up and receive report. I’ve watched the floor get angry when patients roll up a hot mess and close to shift change. I’ve watched IV team lose their mind as their beepers are incessant for the entire shift, and then have nurses calling them over and over again for the same reason. I’ve watched the admission nurse have tasks thrown on them that should be done by the attending nurse because everyone is spread so thin. I’ve watched the OR have 3 nurses call to get report on the same patient, without knowing one (or 2) have already called. I’ve basically seen the lack of communication, respect, thankfulness, and understanding every single day. It eats me at my core, but I know it’s nothing personal. Its a natural reaction to a lack of help, resources, and support while more continues to be thrown at you!
I want to make this clear. Nurses and Hospitals COULD NOT FUNCTION without each other. I truly believe that the lack of communication, respect, thankfulness, and understanding comes from being over stimulated by the constant demands of what modern day nursing and healthcare asks of us. You can call me a millennial if you want, but my idea of nursing was not standing in front of a computer charting for hours, passing meds, and submitting to every need of my difficult and unreasonable patient’s demands, when I haven’t seen all of my other patients in over an hour. You sometimes feel like you’re choosing the computer over the patient just to keep up. This type of nursing leads to lack of satisfaction towards this profession. It also leaves nurses tired, fatigued, exhausted, and leaving no room to really “care” and help each other out. It’s almost like they go into survival mode and have no energy to be kind, patient, intentional….and to well…CARE. They physically and emotionally can’t.
Unfortunately, I don’t know what will help change this. I’m watching nurses leave this profession left and right. I’m watching them hop hospital to hospital just to maintain sanity. Sometimes a little higher pay and a new atmosphere gives them a little energy to keep moving. But the cycle won’t end there. I don’t feel it’s because they’re unfaithful or not committed….I feel that the demands of this profession are really extreme sometimes! It breaks my heart a little bit because I know why they came into it. They care! They freaking care about people and want to be there in those hard times for them. They want to be intentional. They want to be kind. They want to help their fellow co-workers out. One year down the road, you watch that peppy smiling new grad take the wheels of that computer, and the smile becomes a little less bright as reality sets in: this job is tough. That “less demanding but not as cool” nursing job at that other hospital down the street becomes appealing because they just can’t keep up with the craziness in front of them! It’s really sad to watch good nurses leave direct patient care! So much contributes to nurse dissatisfaction: Ratios, leadership, culture/environment, system demands, scheduling, co-workers, the list goes one….and they all have to be addressed. It sometimes can just fall back to unrealistic expectations, and you can only take so much!
We are in a profession where things could go bad at ANY moment. We NEED to be united. We can’t control the business. We can’t fully control the rules and the requirements. What we can control are our attitudes. I tell you guys all of this today to say that no matter what department you are in, we all are working really hard. We’re working hard for our families. We’re working hard for ourselves. And ultimately, we want to work hard to take really good care of our patients! I know that we tend to feel overworked and under-appreciated and at times, and it feels like you just don’t have time to be patient or kind to others…..but just remember this article. Remember that we all feel the same at times. And we can choose to be thankful towards one another. We can choose to stop what we’re doing in our day to help someone else out. We can choose grace and forgiveness in those really stressful moments. We can choose to not point fingers and just accept the reality of what’s really going on. It’s not anyone’s personal fault. We can CHOOSE kindness!
This profession needs more of it as its demands increase! 4 years in, I struggle to keep up! I feel tired, and let down at times too! I love my patients and I LOVE the nurses I work with every single day, but I hate seeing division. Not just on the nursing level, but on the administrative and business level as well.
I think if the demands of what frontline nursing really is today and how its affecting us were truly understood by the ones creating and implementing the rules, things might be a little different! My nursing “prayer” is that we can stand united as a profession and support one another no matter what! This is our career. This is, for some of us, the next 40 years! I want to encourage every single nurse reading this to get get involved in your hospital. Join shared governance and have a voice. Join a nursing organization that helps advocate and protect this profession. Go to NursesTakeDC on May 4th this year with Show Me Your Stethoscope and help some amazing nurses take a stand for this profession! We need to protect nursing and better this profession for all!
Unity is KEY!
Your Heart Is Mine,