Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What I thought/What I said

The interviewer asked, "What's making you want to leave your current job?"

I'm tired of watching my coworkers coming in, looking defeated.

I haven't had a sit-down lunch in six weeks. One of my coworkers weaned her baby early because she couldn't get anybody to relieve her so she could pump breastmilk.

Our acuity increased at the same time our director cut our staff, so there are delays in care that I find unacceptable.

We've been rebranded a "step-down" unit, so none of us will get critical-care raises or credit, but we're still taking CCU patients. We still float to the CCUs.

The attitude of the administration to our unit is "do more with less; you're nothing but big whiners." When the director brushed off legitimate concerns with the response that we were "jibber-jabbering," I died a little.

I showed up at six yesterday and started working immediately, because there were three admissions at once and none of the resources or help we were promised were available.

We're having falls and bad patient outcomes as a result of short-staffing, and we're getting disciplined for them.

I can't get a damn MRI statted because I can't find somebody who can monitor a patient on a drip in the tube.

Our manager refuses to back us up when things get dangerous.

The doctors I work with recognize the problem, as do the nurses in other departments, but still nothing is done.

I'm exhausted from not eating, not peeing, not taking a day off, and the rest of my life is suffering.

Although we stand in solidarity as a unit, the director is telling his bosses that there are a few bad apples spoiling the whole bunch, and that getting rid of them would fix the problems.

Which is why, I guess, that all but one of us are looking for new jobs. And that one person is reconsidering.

Because when you have a wife who's on palliative chemotherapy, even a potential gap in insurance coverage beats working here.

The training and education we were promised hasn't materialized.

We're used as a dumping ground for VIPs, when actual sick patients are pushed to other, even more crowded units.

We've won awards and have certifications out the wazoo, but the things that made those certifications and awards are gone now.
Yet we're still expected to make do, somehow.

And if we stand firm on staffing grids and patient safety, we're written up and our patients are moved elsewhere, to make room for the aforementioned VIPs.

I dread coming to work every day. The only thing that makes it possible for me to sleep the night before a shift is Benadryl. And bourbon.

I'm terrified that something horrible will happen, that a patient will die or be injured, because we don't have enough staff.

That almost happened last week. A patient with a sudden neurological decline had to be transported to the operating theater by two doctors, because we were short nurses to monitor him.

I miss the days when I could leave work and not ruminate on possible mistakes or oversights I might've made.

I miss being a nurse rather than a combination unit secretary, patient care aide, phlebotomist, janitor, social worker, and engineer.

Broken equipment stays broken for months.

Our infection rates are up and our patient satisfaction scores are down. We've been told we can be disciplined for both.

I loved this job for years, and fought really hard to keep just this thing from happening. I'm incredibly proud of the work that we do and the outcomes we've had in the past. We've done it all together, as a group of very stubborn nurses, in spite of--not because of--our managers and administrators. I'm tired now, and I want to back off and not fight every single day for basic safety and resources.

"Well, I've been doing the same thing for more than a decade, and I felt like it was time to branch out and broaden my skill base."


Unknown said...

I was able to read this on feedly but cannot read the part you were thinking on here. If I select and highlight, I can read it. Can it be fixed? I would love to share this.

JAB said...

Like x 1 million

Jo said...

Salem, I did that on purpose. Um. . .I'm sure you could do some sort of magic to C/P and change the color of the font, but the original is how I meant it to be.

Sorry. Call it (she says, sweeping back her cape) the Demands Of Art. (thunderous applause, lights go down dramatically)

Unknown said...

God I hope this isn't where you are at, but if it is I'm sending you a big heap of what ever the heck support and Love you can over the interweb.
Sounds hideous :-(

messymimi said...

Everyone working your unit deserves that better job, and to leave that management to learn their lesson. Sad that it will come at the expense of the patients.

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

If it is any tiny consolation, after 15 years in tertiary education I could write a similar theme - perhaps less life and death, but still an exhausting treadmill of trying to maintain standards while working harer and longer... and the stdudents are less motivated or appreciative.
The times - they are a changing"
I want to get off but I cant.
I refuse to believe it is because we are aging - I think all ages are being confronted with economy driven needs.
I do feel sorry for your patients - because I know you want and are able to potentially give them better care and you just can't.

Silliyak said...

Well played, hope you land where you are appreciated and compensated

Just My 2¢ said...

Jo. I sympathize with you. It's tough to work for an employer that doesn't value you. After the last train-wreck, I launched a consulting business to avoid working for another business. Several of my clients are dysfunctional organizations and my experience has become very helpful...

So much for my cunning plan, tho.

bobbie said...

Hugs ~~~

Nurse Dee said...

Awww that's rough! And I'm sure that the ONLY reason that those nurses stay are because you have a great group of nurses that back each other. I know that's certainly the case on our unit! And it sounds that way to me about yours. It stinks but when you stand in solidarity and no one listens, how can things change? Clearly all of you are standing together to try to get things to change but the stupid people above you aren't listening. I would feel powerless and defeated - I feel for your struggle. I know you're a great nurse and you love BEING a nurse. If you wanted a different profession you would have gone that route - stupid that they're trying to make nurses into the "other" job areas (as you mentioned)

Cartoon Characters said...

I used to change jobs/areas/hospital/country every 2 years, just to keep work interesting. Also it prevents getting in a rut and eliminates fear of change.

Cartoon Characters said...

btw, love the way your thoughts show up .... then ....blank!

cowango said...

I fear this for so many of us. We are not quite where you are but Admin doesn't get what it takes to run the floors without incidents. You can not just simply declare that everyone be more efficient. And safety depends on a certain number of qualified souls to look after the patients. Onward and upward. I rely on benadryl too.

Anonymous said...

I hope you're able to find a new job, and that every other nurse on your unit can, too. Preferably soon and simultaneously.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping that you're posting about this at all means you've landed a new job, and said new job will be better.

Dr. Alice said...

I wish you best of luck. It's sad and frustrating that your unit's great track record is being undone through bad management. I know you did, and always will do, your best.

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

My sister the nurse left for many of these same reasons; as a patient I fear what awaits me should I need to use the local ER. One of only two in town is about to close... which means all these issues will come up at the remaining hospital sooner than later. Thank you for the head's up.

Hope you find a job that allows you to be the nurse you are.

Emily Schulz said...

That is a terrifying truth about some nursing units. Unfortunately so much is out of our hands and the best thing to do is leave for our own protection...Someone in authority needs to step up and be advocates for the patients as well as all the hard working nurses.

WorldNursingJobs said...

Took me long to figure out what your gonna say, haha! Nicely done, so neat! Good luck!

Unknown said...

I love what you said, so wonderful!