Sunday, September 23, 2007

A (sad) Nursing Rant

For the first time since 1982 I'm considering looking for a new job.

I've been at my place of employment this long for 3 reasons:

1. the belief that every other hospital is equally bad
2. it's a small place, I know everyone, I have a lot of friends, and I'd truly miss it
3. I don't "do" well with change

The thing is, I am being worked to death. It's one thing to do this back-breaking floor nursing when you're in you twenties or thirties. Physically, it's devastating. Back injuries abound. You barely get to sit down, let alone go to the bathroom. Mentally, it's draining. Emotionally, it's frustrating--you can NOT give the most basic care to the patients who need it because the hospital refuses to adequately staff us. I did not go into nursing so I could ignore people's needs, which is exactly what I often have to do. This is depressing. Even a few years ago things were very, very different. I could leave out of there at the end of my shift still knowing I was a damn good nurse.

But worse than anything, I am sick-sick-SICK of being lied to by the PIPs (People in Power). I mean seriously, absolutely lied to, to my FACE. I know that part of the reason I'm lied to is because--as you all know--I'm not one to keep my mouth shut. If I feel the staffing levels are unsafe, or if I *know* the acuity of the patients calls for more nurses in order to adequately attend everyone's needs, I speak my mind, I argue, I rant, I demand a fair shake. So, for that reason, PIP have a tendency to give me "lip service"; in other words, tell me what they think I *want* to hear and then turn right around and do the exact opposite.

As a very honest person myself, it blows me away when I realize I've been flat-out lied to. In fact, I'd prefer to heatr the PIPs say to me, "Well, Jen, guess what? We're screwing you again! Yessirree, we are NOT sending you any help, we're gonna work you like a Hebrew slave once again and yes, your patients will suffer for it and there's nothing you can do, so have a nice day, toodle-oo!"

I rather hear THAT than a line of bullshit--and frankly, that's all I've been getting these days. The old "oh yes, you'll be getting help tonight, isn't that wonderful" and then POW--"haha, just kidding, screw you."

So screw me outright. SAY you're screwing me and let me be pissed off. I will get over it. Lying ENRAGES me! I feel betrayed at best, manipulated at worst. Plus--and I sooo hate to admit this--it hurts my feelings. Yes, it does. Once I get over the shock, I'm like, why would you lie to me? I never lie to you! And then I feel all miserable and pathetic for taking it personally when, really, the PIPs don't *care* about my personal feelings, so why do I give them so much power over me? Like anything else, it's a business. They're in the business of making money and one way to do this is to cut the staff...and cut it...and cut...and cut it some more...which is why, if you're a patient--unless you're dying--you might be lucky to see your nurse twice a shift. It's not just a matter of not having the time to make you a cup of tea. If you're incontinent, you might be laying in a wet bed (or worse) for several hours before anyone has a chance to get to you. If you're screaming in pain, you might have to wait for a pain pill. If you just want someone to sit and talk to you for a few minutes, forget it.

The sad thing is, there really is nothing I can do about it.

So yeah, I'm looking around. I will never, ever do floor nursing again--I'm too old, too crabby, and no other other place will be any easier--but there has to be something out there for me.

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