I don't usually post about my job. It's kind of just a side thing in my life. I work hard, think I'm pretty darn good at what I do, and am proud of it, but don't really think of it as defining me. Lately though, I can't take it. It's getting to me. Not in the emotional way you would expect, though I have those moments, too. No, these days, it's more like What was I thinking when I signed up for this?! Here are just a few reasons why:
1. Rude patients. Yes, I know you're very sick and feeling crummy, but that does not give you the right to cuss at me, spit at me, and call out for your f'in nurse (!!) at the top of your lungs simply because you need your pillow fluffed or can't figure out how to work the TV remote.
2. "Poopers". Yep, that's what we call 'em and it's kind of a bad night when you get one in your assignment. Or three, like this weekend. It's even worse when they weigh 300+ lbs, can't get out of bed, and are in isolation. It takes three people (with stomachs of steel) dressed in hot isolation gowns 20 minutes to clean up the mess that's happening, oh, every hour or so. Multiply that by 12 or 13 hours and you're adding up to lots of fun. And yes, sometimes we start laughing and are slightly hysterical, but really, what else can you do in situations like that?!
3. Confused/ agitated patients. I hear bed alarms in my sleep. Please, Doc, can we have something to calm her down? Yes, I understand you don't want to sedate her... no, it's a very busy night (see above) and we don't have enough staff to watch her one-on-one... What? Just deal with it? Okay, I'll give you a call when she falls out of bed and breaks her hip.... Better yet, why don't you come in and take care of her for twelve hours and then you may change your mind about the medication...
4. The blame game. I love paging a physician multiple times regarding an urgent matter, finally getting a call back after 60-90 minutes of "biding time", and then getting berated for not calling sooner. I also love having a patient with a heart rate in the 180's, emergently calling a doctor for orders, having him tell me, "We'll deal with it in the morning." Excuse me, Bud, did you hear what I just said? Did the phone line cut out? He won't be here in the morning if we don't do something NOW. Calling his chief for orders, then when the first doc gets in hot water, having him claim, "The nurse never told me his HR was 185." Yeah, you're right, I was calling at 3 in the morning just to shoot the breeze.
5. Tight budget. Yes, I know in these difficult times everyone has to work around a tight budget. However, when my hands are breaking out something terribly and starting to scar because I'm allergic to the gloves we use, don't tell me that nitrile gloves "are too expensive". Let me get this straight. You want me to donate $20 of each paycheck to the hospital's Fine Arts Fund, but you won't spend a little extra money to buy me some gloves that don't give me a rash?! Seriously? And when a tight budget also means I'm taking care of an unsafe number of high acuity patients simply because you have to think about budget this weekend and can't afford to call in another nurse, then I think you can throw your budget out the window! It is my nursing license I'm working under, and if I don't have time to do my job, I may miss something important and someone may suffer because of me. Most importantly though, every patient in these beds is someone's father, mother, sister, child... someone's world, and they deserve the best care I can give. Sometimes it's not all that great if I'm stretched to the max with too many patients.
If you took the time to read to the end of this, thanks for letting me rant and rave a little bit. Is this what is meant by blog therapy?!