Monday, February 10, 2014

I got this comment on a long-ago post. . . .


http://justsaynotonursing.wordpress.com 

It's a list of thirty-six reasons nobody should go into nursing. The author is a woman who spent eighteen years in a field she hated, then went on to get a medical degree and became a medical registrar. She's in Australia.

I'm having a lot of thoughts about this. The first two were along the lines of "How on earth did you survive that long in a job you hated?" and "Why did you even bother?" (Incidentally, I emailed her those two questions, figuring that the answer to the second would be either "kids" or "money," but I'm interested in the answer to the first. I would've flang myself out the window, I said, long before the tenth year.)

My next thought was: Does nursing in Australia and New Zealand really differ all that much from nursing in the US? Yes, it's damn near impossible right now for a new grad to get a job, but our programs aren't exactly easy to get into (certain exceptions apply). Yes, some doctors disrespect nursing and nurses, but the vast majority are collegial. Yes, you run into nurses who maybe shouldn't be allowed to cross the street by themselves, but again, the majority are pretty smart. And yes, bullying happens, but not everywhere and all the time.

And then there was this: She's spot-on as regards post-graduate education for nurses. Under the heading "Don't Get Me Started" in my own personal bitch list is the fact that we *still* have "Therapeutic Touch" listed as a treatment modality, even after repeated studies have shown zero therapeutic benefit to waving your paws a couple inches over a patient's body. If we expect to be taken seriously as providers, we have got to cut the bullshit and do real evidence-based practice.

The combination of Alison's list and the comments on it (forty-some and counting) give me what the kids call All The Feels. I know it's just one person's writing. Some of it I agree with, some of it had me wide-eyed and thankful that I don't work where she did. 

My experience is, to be frank, pretty limited. I went through a highly-ranked, competitive program and got hired at a nationally-ranked research and academic facility. In twelve years I've run into only three doctors (one resident and two attendings) who treated nurses like highly-trained monkeys--and, for what it's worth, they treated everybody that way, from other doctors to their patients. My work life has been about as good as you can get, barring the brain-farts from Manglement that happen in any workplace.

What do you think? Discuss it here; Alison's blog isn't the place for trolling or extended debates.

30 comments:

Carolyn said...

I think that because she holds that much anger, and she lets it show, it discredits her arguments. As someone entering nursing school in May, my eyes glazed over by item #5. It also makes me very glad I never had her as a nurse - and I hope if my patients one day share the opinions of the commenters, they keep it to themselves.

physioprof said...

"Yes, it's damn near impossible right now for a new grad to get a job"

This surprises me, as I was under the impression that there is tremendous growing demand for nurses and other health care providers as the population continues to age.

Jo said...

Physio, there is a growing demand for nurses--with experience. Training a new grad is expensive, and it doesn't start to pay off for at least two years.

There are still places where a new grad with a BSN can get hired, hospital-wise, but there's a huge amount of competition. I'm hearing from BS-prepared RNs who are working in nursing homes, having met a flooded job market in their area. In my area, having an ADN means you're pretty much completely out of luck.

It's caused, I think, by a combination of the economy and the push toward Magnet, which requires that a facility have a majority of bachelor's-degree nurses. In any event, this is as tough a market for new grads as I've seen in a decade.

Anonymous said...

She's just wrong wrong wrong about nurses not being smart, using evidence based practice, bullying, etc. I could go on and on. In that little corner of the world where I work (Canada) nurses are supportive of each other on the job and I am continually impressed with the smarts they have. I float at a big hospital so I see a wide range of units and staff. I've been a nurse over 30 years and never regreted the decision.

bobbie said...

Wow. So much hate & anger! I hope she gets appropriate help for herself.
I'm glad I never had to work with or for her, and I'm doubly glad I was never her patient.

physioprof said...

Thanks for the info. Sounds like a tough situation for the younger nurses.

traumadrama said...

Wow, this lady insists on calling all nurses mentally ill, and after reading that rant I think she should have stuck with it because she sure fits the bill. Either nursing is completely different in Australia, or someone has an axe to grind because she just couldn't cut it...

Tom said...

Alison’s experience is not my experience. I to am a graduate with a BSN from a large prestigious university and have worked in a number of institutions including a large prestigious university hospital. I disagree with many of her reasons not to be a nurse. I would like to respond to two. One is nurses do not work hard (25). This is certainly not my experience. I stopped working in ICU’s due to the level of stress and the fact I rarely had time to eat a meal. Also, there are no role models (26). This has not been my experience. In every job I have had I feel I have worked with wonderful role models. Human, yes, flawed, for sure, but still wonderful nurses. I am a male nurse and I would like to respond to # 18, but I am biased. I can only guess that Australia is different.

RehabRN said...

Two words: F*&*ed up.

Yes, Alison appears to need psychiatric help, but is using blog therapy.

I had another life before nursing, and yes, a lot of nursing is a mess, but when you look at the alternatives, you're shoveling proverbial (and literal) excrement and stress no matter what.

To each her own, but I thank my lucky stars that she is not a nurse. If I ever get one like her and I'm a patient, I'll go AMA before I suffer in her unit.

Just my $0.02...

NurseyPants said...

Where I come from we have an expression, "there's a lid for every pot". It seems like she was never in the right place to begin with. Too bad she wasted 18 years trying to make it work. Glad she found her calling finally. I'm sure she knows from her years of experience that nurses don't necessarily respect doctors either, and that we don't believe having MD behind your name automatically means that you are smart or make the best choices for the patient. Furthermore, as far as I can tell doctors are strangled by manglement just as much as nurses are, and on that note we are all in this together whether we respect each other or not.

You can find rants like this for nearly every profession -teachers, policeman, bus drivers, sales, psychology, social work, etc. Even Mother Teresa confessed that maybe she may have made a poor choice in her vocation as a nun. Anybody who goes into a career believing it will create eternal happiness is a fool - no matter what you do you have to deal with people, and people are stupid and frustrating.

I think because she made the wrong choice for herself she has to assume that everyone's making the wrong choice to make her feel better about it.

Cr0w$c@lling said...

She's accurately described 2/3 of the profession. The other third is awesome, but she's spot on about evidenced base practice and lateral aggression. Nursing has no greater enemy than itself.

Anonymous said...

She gonna be really disappointed when the halo effect is off and she realizes just how fucked up medicine is. The health care industry is a jacked up place.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts on that link? I think a patient has just arrived in Drama Room 2, brought in by Waaahmbulance. Chief complaint is "I'm a terrible nurse and my coworkers don't respect me, therefore I hate my career and so should you."

Amanda Landers said...

Wow...bitter party of one.

Pretty sure that every career has a few Alisons. You spent 18 years in a career you hate...who's fault is that?

Amanda at Health Career Compass

Jessica said...

Wow. I can't imagine being that bitter about a profession and staying in it for 18 years. For the record, I've been an LPN for 14 years and will be getting my degree and RN license in May. The program I'm in wasn't easy to get into, and it's all evidenced-based. I've been calling around to hospitals, and they're all wanting me to apply before I graduate so I can start right away on a temp license. love being a nurse. I'm thanked all the time by patients, their families, and even doctors. Management is a royal PITA on occasion, but it's doable. Like you said, "All the feels" from that blog. I'm glad she's finally found something she enjoys, but it really makes me wonder about the differences between nursing in the US and other countries.

thursdaynextgal said...

That was...frightening. I'm not a nurse, but am a HUGE fan of nurses and all they do. Reading that was kind of like realizing my worst fears as a health care consumer. I am terrified at the idea of people like she describes being in charge of myself and my loved ones when we are at our most vulnerable.

m'pet said...

"Alison's blog isn't a place for trolling"

Er...

differentjo said...

This just made me really sad. Sad for this women who wasted 18 years of her life, sad for her patients, coworkers and students who had to put up with her attitude, and sad for her family and friends who have to live with such a negative person. I think the only bright side is that this that this woman is no longer a part of the nursing profession. I'm sure her patients, coworkers and students are much happier. Her family on the other hand....

Wade said...

Geez! I agree with her so MUCH! I have been basically trapped in the nursing field since 1995 and most days I can bare it but too many days I want to load a high powered rifle and eliminate all the problems I come across.

Every time I have a young person express they want to become a nurse I make sure and give them the talk and spell out how it really is.

Yes, most nurses are idiots and seem like they actually try to kill the patients. Interns are slightly worse and one day when they cart me away in cuffs it will be from beating a dumbs intern unconscious with a dirty bedpan.

Lack of respect. Abuse by hospital leadership. Piss poor attitudes from patient family members, rude docs and what the fuck is a nursing care plan good for...

Graduate education is worthless and nursing theory is about as useful in my daily life as the shit I get to wipe from the obese alcoholic who does not have insurance but hits the call bell and yells "room service" every ten minutes.

The only true sense of satisfaction that comes from being a nurse if when you convince some doe eyed high schooler to aim higher and get a degree in something useful like forestry services.

RehabRN said...

I was rereading your post today, then saw this article on trolls. Thought you might enjoy!

http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2014/02/20/inside-the-minds-of-internet-trolls/

Heidi said...

Huh. Welp, that certainly gave me all the feels too. Even made me cry, and spend a night at work feeling really depressed. But after re-reading it a couple of times, and paying close attention to the intellectual content of most of the commnents, I realized it's just another anonymous rando spewing ugliness on the internet and I shouldn't waste any more of my time on it.
Glad she's found a job that makes her happy, although really, is she the kind of person who will ever truly be happy?

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I'm glad this woman is not on the same continent as I. What a miserable person. I have been a nurse for 21 years, and have worked with many wonderful nurses. I am about to finish my masters to be a nurse practitioner. I have worked over the years with many fine physicians and nurse practitioners, and I have to say, the NP's are by far more thoughtful, better listeners, practice good pragmatic thinking and don't feed their patients bullshit when they don't know what's wrong. Nursing has its place, and here in the US, Nurse Practitioners aren't going away any time soon, and as more and more patients receive good care from them, they will only become more popular. Her intelligence is evidenced by spending so much time doing something she hated. 'Nough said.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling you are afraid that there is a lot of truth to her story, which is why it makes you mad to hear her say it, LOL! All I can say is, you'll see!!!

Dmitriy Levin said...

I can only hope that Allisons blog does not sour the feeling of nursing school adn nursing for people that like what they do. She is an unfortunate case of "should have been a doctor in the first place", a person that becomes a nurse for whatever reason and then ends up going to medical school while trashing nursing along the way. There have been plenty of people that have been nurses that became doctors and did not go about their business the same way that she chose to. I feel like if one is having as many issues as she described you would not stay in your profession for 18 years and certainly would not stay in medicine after the fact. As much as I would enjoy tearing every piece of her argument into tiny little molecules I am just going to say a couple of positive things about nursing. I love my job because: after all the long shifts I have friends/co-workers to enjoy an after shift drink with, I feel satisfied when my crash and burn patient walks out of the ICU, I can see a new nurse making connections between things learned in school and real nursing practice, I can find a nurse friend any where in the world, I have more opportunities than any other profession, it has provided me with a free education and continual intellectual challanges, I know that I am making a difference.

There are people in this world that will make a bad situation worse, dont let them make your life miserable too just so they can feel better.

INGRID said...

I'm studying nursing in Australia and this is my two cents on the situation here: I think it's easier to get into Nursing school here, judging by the quality of some of my cohort, and down the line, this may lead to disillusionment in those whose passion for nursing wasn't as great. The universities take in far too many students (my year alone has over 300 students), and around 40% of new grads aren't getting jobs.

Anonymous said...

That was ten years ago, hjen someone said there was job security in truck driving and nursing. Now it depends where you live and who you know, and how hard uou work.

Anonymous said...

Just tried to follow the link, and the blog has been deleted.

Sandra Dee said...

I love your little place in the world, and because I have such a romanticized view of Canada, and the lovely people I've been fortunate to meet and know over the years who are Canadian , it doesn't surprise me a but that you have supportive colleagues.

There's a different culture in the US, and I know I'm being presumptuous in the correlation to the overall attitudes of a country to the individuals who treat each other a particular way, but it's something I think should be considered.

Anonymous said...

Wow! kudos to her for making the decision to changer her career choice after so many years. It is just sad to know she invested so many years of her life in a job she hated so much. I love being an LPN and I am currently trying to complete my RN. Nursing is a very demanding and stressful job. nurses put up with tons but knowing she stood by her old job for over 18 years and hated it, I am sure she is doing just fine with her new career choice.

Anonymous said...

I have been an RN for 34 years and an LPN for 4 years prior to that. I have mostly hated it but enjoyed working with people (mostly) and most everyone tells me I must really like what I do because "it shows". I would have rather gone into art, but back then, it wouldn't have paid the bills. I am also thankful for the knowledge I have gleaned being a nurse. If nothing else, it's a useful occupation that keeps me out of the MD office (mostly). I don't think I would talk anyone else out of going into nursing, nor would I rant on a blog about it to the point that would make people wonder about my sanity. And, even though I would have much rather been doing something else other than nursing - I don't consider it a total waste of my life. :)