WARNING: This is a full on rant. I’ve done my best not to use my blog in this manner, but I have cracked.
I came home tonight and literally googled “jobs for people who hate people”. I don’t hate people but I need out of my nursing job because stupid, selfish, entitled, people who think hospitals are hotels and medical staff are wait staff are making my actual MEDICAL JOB IMPOSSIBLE TO DO- YOU WIN!
A twenty year medical person is leaving because my pay is capped, others’ raises are dependent on your “satisfaction” and this is not just the patients’ but also visitors of the patients’, we are under staffed (32 patients to 1 CNA in my ICU) nurses tripled, and our patients in and out averages 14 on PMS. I NEVER get a break in 8 or 12 hours, I can’t pee, and once a week or so my phone rings for 8 hours straight. There is a CBT on “alarm fatigue” but that does not apply to the constant ringing of phones. A long time ago I gave up any kind of routine, goals of patient care or unit orderliness. I no longer try to plan my shift, arrange times with other nursing staff to get care done, or make any promises of help what so ever. I am only there as a “noise abatement officer” or a “runner” or a “customer service person”. Never mind that I have grabbed slippery bloody babies from doctors, escalated a Tele patient’s distress to the charge nurse when the primary nurse was ignored, saving that patient’s life, or performed chest compressions in an elevator from the neuro floor to the ICU (the patient survived) and I was the one to ring the alarm on the neuro floor, never mind that I got RSV from an abandoned infant that I held for 8 hours, or all the hands that I have held while someone died. My 20 years in 5 facilities, home health, and my own grandmother mean absolutely nothing.
Let me clarify, this NOT when we are “slow”, or grandpa has died and 8 people in the room should have water and Kleenex while they cry, or the wife that needs a cup of coffee at 8 am when she comes to fetch her husband to take him home, or the person who is diabetic and has been sitting in the ER with their family member and needs juice Pronto! No, I am talking about unnecessary requests on already ridiculously over-loaded nursing staff.
So, sure, let me drop what I am doing when I am the Health Unit Secretary AND the CNA AT THE SAME TIME for TEN rooms and get YOU, a visitor, a friend, not family, out in the lounge where there is a drinking fountain AND a kitchenette, a glass of water because you don’t want to drink from the fountain, take the elevator up a few floors to the cafeteria, or go to the restaurant a few floors down and get it yourself. You aked me “where can I get water?” I told you- and you stood there staring at me. Oh, I’m sorry, you weren’t asking where to get water so you could get it yourself, you were asking so I would make the assumption that I should wait on you. It’s not about a glass of water, it’s about an ICU healthcare worker, dropping what they are doing because you don’t want to take care of yourself. You seem entitled to what you want. My other recent favorite was a young mother holding her possibly four-year old in front of me while I was the secretary for all 32 beds (why a 4 year old was IN the ICU I don’t know), anyway she asked for orange juice. I said that the person she was visiting was not able to eat or drink. She said “no, I need the juice for him” and nodded to her child. So, you think I should drop what I am doing in a 32 bed ICU and walk to a kitchen to get orange juice for your child, for free. It’s NOT the orange juice, it’s the demand and expectation that I drop what I’m doing to do something that is your responsibility and that you seem to feel you should just have it for free. I’m tired of this “give it to me” attitude of not patients, but visitors. GET IT YOURSELF. Get your own coffee, water, or juice. Bring a sweater! We run out of linens- you may not deplete the blanket warmer of blankets- THEY ARE FOR PATIENTS!
Lastly, this week a family member was upset when we wanted to do dialysis on their loved one at a time they didn’t want because “friends may be coming to visit and they didn’t know when, so could we do it when visiting hours were over?” There were several problems with this one. One, this was literally a life saving measure. So, visitors possibly visiting at an unknown time, trumped treatment necessary to keep the patient alive. Okay, then. Two, we have open visiting hours- my hospital thinks that visitors walking around our ICU 24hours a day is just fine. People actually move into the room with their loved ones and just live there. So, no, there is no time when there aren’t visitors. Three, the dialysis nurse was on-call. So, you want us to call the young nurse with a baby, in at your convenience, not when your primary nurse has her labs and is ready for her patient to have their dialysis, and preferably not too late in the evening.
I have few issues with my patients. I am sick of their friends and some of their families. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF I AM THERE FOR THE PATIENTS. I AM A HEALTHCARE WORKER NOT A WAITRESS, BABYSITTER, OR MAID. If I am sitting down, I might be the secretary paging a doctor, I might be in a chart looking for an electrocardiogram order for which I HAVE TO DO because I am ALSO the EKG tech, or calling for your loved one’s meal; don’t ask me to waitress in the family lounge.
LET ME DO MY MEDICAL JOB, if you don’t, I will leave the profession because I am sick of you. I am very very good at my job, your loved one is safe with me, but I guess it isn’t about them, it’s about you. My bad.