Hi everyone! My name is Kelsey. I have been a registered nurse for about 4 and half years. When I went through nursing school, it was the hardest thing in my life that I had ever done! I put every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears into that journey. When I got out, I took my first job on an Open Heart Step Down Unit and loved the thrill of getting a big paycheck, being on my own, and getting to tell people, “I’m a Registered Nurse!” I also was SUPER pumped to have a rewarding and meaningful job! I still feel honored and proud to say that I’m a nurse, but my heart towards this profession has changed a lot.
In the past 4 years, I’ve held 4 positions. I’ve worked in areas on the floor, in the ER, and in surgical services. As time has gone by, my eyes have been widely opened to the business that healthcare has become. Listen, I became a nurse because I LOVE people. I love taking care of others. I love helping people through hard times. I love talking to strangers. I love making people feel good! I was convinced that nursing would allow me to do all of these things on a daily basis. Well, it does…..for about 1 hour TOTAL in my 12 hour day.
In my other 11 hours, I’m pushing patients out the door quickly (sometimes pre-maturely) only to get more back in. I’m pushing a computer down the hall rushing to get meds passed on time, and then feeling guilty for cutting off friendly patient conversation because I have to run and chart. I’m calling patient relations because my patient has complained that his food was too cold and not what he ordered and running down stairs to get a new tray while my truly sick patient remains nauseas. (Duh, can’t mess up those HCAP scores all because of cold food!) I’m feeling guilty as my patient tells me she needs to go to the bathroom, but I have to run and give pain meds to my patient across the hall and then I get “dinged” because I couldn’t get a hold of my tech and didn’t address my patient’s “Potty” in time. In my other 11 hours, I’m essentially set up for failure because I don’t have enough time, help, or resources to safely and effectively get my job done in a timely manner. And every one of those hours I spend at least 5 minutes thinking “I can’t do this anymore.”
THIS is what healthcare is turning into. It’s becoming a business that is completely based on numbers and the subjective satisfaction of my patient. The Nursing Process is out the window. We no longer have time to Assess, Diagnose, Plan, Implement and Evaluate. Instead, we spend that time charting things that half the time we didn’t do. I think its REALLY sad that a nurse can document “dressing changed” in the computer, but I can come behind them and see that my patient’s dressing was dated from the day before. But it was charted, so she DID it, right? I think its sad that we can document on a demented patient: “patient bathed, linens changed” and it was never physically done….but it was charted, so she DID it (I totally witnessed this happen once)….I think it’s sad that we can pretty much document and say anything was done and it wasn’t. All of sudden, that patient who had normal documentation and vitals for the past day shows signs and symptoms of sepsis and we don’t catch it…..BECAUSE WE ACTUALLY NEVER WENT THROUGH THE NURSING PROCESS. We’ve been spending more time charting away from the bedside (all because we just don’t have the time) and treating the patient from documentation and not treating the physical patient. We’re so crunched for time and THIS happens. I SEE THINGS LIKE THIS EVERY DAY!!!! What if we charted less, and CARED more? Or started holding hands instead of the mouse? Chew on that….
THIS is what healthcare has become. This is SO sad. We don’t actively care anymore. We chart. Why did nursing school waste it’s time teaching me nursey stuff? I wish they would have taught me to chart faster, click stronger, and scroll quicker. I do more of that than physical care, anyways! And that’s what seems to matter more….
I LOVE PATIENT CARE! I loved being a tech and being able to spend that time with my patients, bathing them and taking TRUE care of them. As a nurse, I love getting my patients up to walk and really educating them about their diet and lifestyle changes. It made my day to have those interactions with patients and really make a difference in their life! It’s why I became a nurse….but let me tell you something.
My heart has changed. I have done really well as a nurse the past 4 years. I’ve won fancy awards. I got to be on The Dr.Oz show. I have a fun blog and get to do fun things with nursing companies. It’s honestly been awesome! And I’m super thankful for ALL of it! But slowly, my heart has become hardened towards this profession. I started spending hours after my shift to catch up on charting and documentation because I spent time with my patients. Crazy concept right? Spending time with my patients actually sets me back (eye roll). My husband started getting sad that I came home so late and was so tired after my shift, going straight to bed. I was burning myself out. Things had to change.
I now spend my days at work prioritizing charting and less interaction with my patients. I now have gotten over feeling guilty for darting out of a room quickly because I just CAN’T take on that emotional burden anymore. I’m numb to it. As my mindset and actions have changed, so has my passion. Because I’m not spending that time at the bedside like I was, just so I can chart and get home on time, I don’t enjoy my job as much. I get home to see my husband and take care of me, but my heart hurts. I think nursing has the potential to be one of the most beautiful and rewarding professions in the world, but I’m watching it be lost to the business and governmental regulation. None of those people are at the bedside or in the hospital. None of them see what they’re actually doing. Nursing is already at a shortage and guess what…..nurses my age and like me are pulling out. Because THIS isn’t what I signed up for.
I don’t want to be a part of a profession that prioritizes business over lives. Healthcare IS unique. It doesn’t have to be this way. We aren’t serving coffee or selling clothes, we’re taking care of LIVES! LIVES THAT MATTER! I still remain as a nurse, but I have left the bedside. I still love parts of my job, but I can’t see myself doing this the next 30 years….not unless something changes.
I think there is a lot of power in social media today and the internet. I know that many people and nurses will say that this isn’t the first time this battle has been fought….but guess what. This is the first time this battle has been fought with a GIANT communication tool called “social media” Stuff can spread like wild fire in minutes! Please take a stand with me to save the heart of nursing! To save this profession! And to SAVE Lives! I no longer want to see hospitals unstaffed and patient safety compromised in the name of numbers. I know longer want to see Nurses spending majority of their day behind a computer and away from their patients. THAT is not nursing and THAT is not Healthcare. And quit thanking me for being a team player for taking on more than I can handle! That’s just a fancy and nice way of covering up ABUSE!
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Please join me and thousands of other nurses in Washington DC, May 4th-5th and stand up for Nurse and Patient Safety at NursesTakeDC2017! Because this is where it starts. It starts at a governmental level so that is where we start too!
Love on your patients when you can. Be kind towards your co-workers. Managers, put GOOD people in leadership, not because your desperate for spots to be filled. I’m tired of seeing charge nurses with 1 year of nursing experience and new nurses training new nurses just because we don’t have a choice! That is not safe! This isn’t fair to the nurses or the patients either! We’ve run off every bit of good experienced nurses that we’ve had because they ain’t drankin this coolaid and I don’t blame them! But we can FIX this. We just have to be persistent and supportive of efforts like these!
I ask you guys to support Nurses Take DC 2017! Come stand alongside some amazing nurses who LOVE being a nurse and want to see this profession at its best! Hospitals don’t have a business without good nurses….let’s stop running GOOD nurses off and take a step back to see whats going on!
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Your Heart Is Mine,
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