On any given day, I am assigned at LEAST four patients. Four patients to chart EVERYTHING on. Four patients to pass meds on. Four patients to get cleaned. Four patients to chart on. Four patients to be fed. Four patients to pass meds on. Four patients to basically watch over their LIVES! And oh ya, did I mention four patients to chart more on?! Four patients is ideal in the nursing world, and not the norm, but even four patients is extremely consuming!
Here’s the catch (literally). One (or more) of these patients are a fall risk. They have an altered mental status and could climb out of bed at any given moment and fall. When that bed alarm sets off, so do you! It’s an Olympic sprint to the culprit! Also one (or more) of these patients may be on isolation for x,y, or z. That means in layman’s terms, I’m going to be spending twice as much time in this room, and if anyone or any of my other patients needs me or help, I’m useless (Insert Adelle’s “Hello”). One (or more) of these patients will most likely be either a difficult patient or have a difficult family member who seems like their motive in life is to make your day miserable.
We all Know the CRAZY Nursing can Be and Negative Attitudes Don’t Help!
A nurse’s day is absolutely CRAZY. We all know this. We understand what it means for a nurse when a patient goes into new onset A-fib. We understand what it means to get a “frequent flyer.” We understand what it means when a nurse is taking care of a patient who wants their Benadryl and Dilaudid undiluted. It means that they are literally in for a hot mess of a day, starting new drips , dealing with unreasonable expectations, and call bells ALL DAY LONG! It basically means hold your bladder and hold your hunger, and using “going to the bathroom” as a break by sitting on the toilet in peace and quiet until your phone rings again because it’s the only one you’ll get!
So we have this mutual understanding of how difficult our days are, right? So why am I telling you all of this? I have recognized (along with many others) how I see nurses disrespecting each other and carrying around bad attitudes! It has been a chronic issue that I have witnessed since day 1 of becoming a nurse: nasty interactions and disrespect. I’m not perfect, but I truly can’t wrap my mind around how hard this profession can be, and how mean the nurses can be towards each other and others in it DOING THE SAME THING THAT THEY ARE!
We all know this is hard! We all know that we WORK so hard! There are nurses out their currently fight for safe staffing ratios (including myself because I refuse to let nursing’s heart be stolen by the business of healthcare) that WILL eventually help lessen this load!I get that we are spread SO thin and asked so much of. So why do some continue to belittle, point fingers, snap, and disrespect others, making it all worse? This isn’t rocket science. We all came into this profession because we care about people. And if you’re not here for that reason, then I encourage you to find something else you enjoy! This job isn’t easy, and bad attitudes make it harder. Not only for yourself, but for others around you AND the patients!
My Surprising Expereince!
I was on a unit the other day, that I was not anticipating going to. I got floated last minute. Typically, on an overtime day, I’m supposed to be called and asked if I want to be called off or go to a different unit in need. Had I known which unit I was going to be floated to instead, I would have asked to be called off. In the past, this unit was known for its negative attitudes (with some) and always being short staffed! It was NEVER a pleasant experience. Nobody wants to work on a unit with bad attitudes and no team playing! I actually had an emotional breakdown because so much had been going on! I would have rather stayed home with my husband and enjoyed the beautiful weather, than work overtime on a “rough” unit, if I’m being honest.
I ended up staying and got through my day. To my surprise, I had the most supportive group of nurses that day! They all knew that my emotions that day were not my norm. They identified that I needed a little TLC and supported me all day! I still had a heavy load of patients, but the kind hearts and positive attitudes around me were a GAME CHANGER! I was so taken back and THANKFUL for these beautiful souls that day. Had it been a day working with negative people and no team playing, I would have drowned! Anyone would have! It actually made me think that I wouldn’t mind doing it again in the future if it remained that way.
A Positive Attitude is the ONLY way!
Any day with a positive attitude is a good day! I’m so tired of nurses snapping on the phone for having to give another report! It’s not their fault you’re getting the patient! Hate the game, not the player! Just take report, be kind, and keep swimming! I KNOW how hard it can be, but don’t take it out on your colleague! When you see a nurse downing, lend them a hand! Don’t just ask if they need help. You will know. FIND a way to help them! When you’re handing off or receiving report, have each other’s backs! If someone didn’t get to something, you have 12 hours ahead of you to help! We all know how hard our days can be! If someone’s just lazy, that’s another story, but otherwise pick up where the other left off! There’s nothing worse than a painful shift change handoff report! Yall KNOW what I’m talking about! We’re all in this together!
We Can’t Control The Business, but we CAN control Our Attitudes
There is so much more I could say about this topic, but I think I made my point clear. We hear so much about nurses eating their young, and how we want to feel more supported and appreciated in the workplace. Why don’t we start with each other? This job is too hard in its nature for us to be making it harder for each other! We can’t control the business, but we CAN control our attitudes. We can control how we treat each other. We can choose kindness, and doing the little things to help each other out. Think about the things that would be helpful for you, and do them for others! I know we are racing against time, but one small kind action for your colleague multiplied by the 8-12 nurses there, equals 8-12 more appreciative hearts! Being appreciative makes you want to pay it forward to others. Paying it forward and appreciation creates a cycle that benefits the unit in a whole, and makes for a better working environment for all!
We have the potential to change this game around for ourselves. We all know how hard each other works. Choose your attitudes, and choose your words wisely! Check yourself before you wreck yourself! We need to be taking GOOD care of each other! Nursing is a TEAM effort! This attitude and positive outlook on your job will not only make you feel more confident and better about yourself, but others will want to help you in return! Nurses need to be taking care of each other because we know we can’t always expect it from “above.” Unity is key. This is how we win, guys.