(Closed) Nurse Bees! How do you feel about your career?

posted 7 years ago in Career
  • poll: I'm a nurse, and it is:
    Mostly Amazing/fulfilling/worth it : (16 votes)
    40 %
    Mostly exhausting/under appreciated/a nightmare : (20 votes)
    50 %
    other, please, tell me everything! : ) : (4 votes)
    10 %
  • Post # 17
    Member
    9129 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

    Oof, this makes me scared for my Fiance who is just starting his first nursing job this week (nurse residency program for new nurses on a med/surg floor of a medium sized hospital).  I hope he can hack it!  He does well under pressure and is really smart, engaged, and charming – so I’m hoping he can charm the other nurses and doctors and get their respect.

    Thanks all, for all you do!  Truly the unsung heroes of the health care system.

    Post # 18
    Member
    47279 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    @meggs66:  Yes, nursing can be hard. But so is anything rewarding that you do. If you want an easy job with no demands on you physically, intellectually, or emotionally, don’t pick nursiing. But I wouldn’t want that job. Talk about bored stiff. I couldn’t tolerate a job like that.

    If you want a job where you can make a positive difference in someone’s life, challenge yourself intellectually throughout your whole career, go home at the end of the day knowing you have been someone’s hero, pick nursing.

    I have brought babies into the world, saved a trauma victim’s life ( no doctor availabe) , held the hand of many people dying alone, mentored new nurses to the point that I knew I would want them to care for me, supported a mom whose son choked to death on a hot dog at his birthday party by going six floors up from the ER to borrow a rocking chair form the nursery so she could sit and rock her son until she was ready to go home and leave his body with us.

    I have also cleaned up more vomit, urine, stool and blood than you can ever imagine if you are not a nurse. But I do this knowing again that I am making a difference.

    No matter what you do in nursing,if you  get burned out or need a change there is another field to enter. Pubic health, all the wards in hospitals, geriatric, research,psychiatry, outreach, street nursing,  occupational health etc. These doors are all open to you. there are infinite opportunities for change.

    I love my job and I always have!

    Post # 19
    Member
    417 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: March 2014

    @meggs66:  I work a 4/5 rotation.  This means I work 2 days, 2 nights and then have 5 days off.  It sounds great and it is when it comes to scheduling appointments, Christmas shopping and things like that.  It can be difficult though because you work more weekends then you don’t, so I frequently have family breathing down my back about how I’m never able to make functions with them.  I also have to do x number of pick up shifts a year in order to make what I’m supposed to (it varies from year to year, usually only 1 or 2 so its not that bad).

    The other option where I work is a 2/3 schedule.  That means that they’ll work days Mon and Tues.  be off Wed/Thurs then do days Fri-Sun.  The next week it’ll be off Mon/Tues, days Wed/Thurs and off the weekend.  After those 2 weeks of day shifts they’ll flip to 2 weeks of the same shifts but nights.  This one gets drop days. So they get extra time off (its not really extra if you actually map out the hours both options work by the end of the year.  They’ll both have worked the same).

    Its a decision we had to make as to which option we wanted.  I work the 4/5 and I wouldn’t work anything else now. 

    Post # 21
    Member
    438 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    The hospital I work at doesn’t usually do alternating shifts like that (they may in unusual circumstances); generally people either work 8 or 12 hour days, 8 hour swing shift, or 12 hour nights. You could pick up an extra shift on a different time than you normally work, but you would never be pre-assigned a shift outside of your normal schedule. That said, within that framework people’s schedules vary widely. When I started I was on 12 hour Days every weekend, so I worked every Friday Saturday Sunday and then had Monday-Thursday off. That was an unusual schedule even where I worked, since the hospital only requires that people work every other or every 3rd weekend (I got every weekend as part of my hiring; it was either every weekend on Day shift or every other on Nights. I chose Days). What that means is that people’s schedules are usually different week to week. After a year I was able to change my schedule to every other weekend, so my schedule repeated every other week. In my case, I had:

    2 on, 3 off, 2 on, 3 off, 2 on, 2 off, REPEAT for every 14 day pay period. But at my hospital, the 2 week repeating schedule was different for every person. Some people had 4 on then a bunch off, some had random 1 days of work…it just totally varied. People could of course always trade shifts with others, or talk to their manager to change their template.

    When I transferred to pediatrics I had to take a Night shift position. In the pediatric department where I work, they have a SIX week rotating template. That means my schedule repeats every SIX weeks instead of every two. I still work every other weekend, but now my template does things like 3 on, 1 off, 2 on, 4 off, 1 on, 4 off etc. It’s pretty random (although there is some general pattern to it, which is nice!).

    I guess my point with this elaborate post is that even in the same hospital, schedules can vary drastically. You could be doing alternating shifts like the above poster who works both nights and days, or you could just do days, or nights, or any kind of combination that the hospital that employs you does. I know in the Portland metro area where I work, at least 2 of the major hospital systems stick to an only days, only evenings, or only nights template.

    One of the realities of working in nursing though (at least in a hospital setting) is that you may not have much choice in your starting schedule. You’ll be surprised at what you can manage, though…I was terrified of nights, and while I will be applying to a (pediatric) day position on my unit when one opens just out of personal preference, nights really isn’t so bad and is a lot more manageable than I thought! (Plus, at my hospital, there is a decent pay differential for evening and night shift…the extra money is pretty nice!)

    Post # 22
    Member
    9681 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    I am reading a lot of posts about folks who don’t care for their choice of profession. My dad is currently in the hospital and you can tell it is the prevailing attitude. When someone is so ill they could die the last thing they need to deal with is a mean bitch. I don’t mean to suggest any of the bees are mean bitches, but the nurses who are attending to my father are. He’s such a sweet man and it breaks my heart. I have said to a couple of them, perhaps you need to consider a new career choice if you are going to speak to sick people that way. UGH.

    Post # 24
    Member
    4854 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    @meggs66:  The futility of trying to care for people, the politics of healthcare, just allll the bullshit. 

    Post # 26
    Member
    145 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    Nursing can be… Both amazing and fullfilling, AND at the same time exhausting and completely mentally/physically draining.Most of us find it completely worth it.

    Nursing does take a special person to do it well, I believe. There is of course the text book learning and skills, but the people part; the kindness and enduring, that is something you either have or don’t. Yes, there are patients or families who are unkind, rude, demanding, unfair, and maybe dont realize their pain medication is delayed b/c you were just doing CPR on your other patient, or that you’ve now been at work for 11 hrs and havent had a drink, restroom break, or food. Those are some days. But other days are taking care of amazing people, who for them ,being sick or having surgery or trauma, is NOT an every day thing. It is a nurses job to help these folks through fear, anxiety, pain, and eventually recovery from whatever they are going through. And as a nurse, we have what I consider a priveledge to go through these very vulnerable times with patient and families. And we can truly make this experience , be it childbirth, traumatic injury and or death, or routine surgery a positive or negative experience. As PP mentioned, when a nurse becomes burned out, or bitter, which can happen, it can deeply impact the patient & family, which is completely not fair to them. There are many directions one can go in the field of nursing, so personally, I feel if you are tired of , or dont fit in one area , you have the ability to move to other areas. Nursing has lots of clinical areas of practice (like OB, home health, rehab, surgery, trauma, ER, peds ) but also lots of non clinical settings like education, research, quality improvement etc etc.

    Yes, sometimes our field could be described as “soul crushing”– politics, finance, are a big part of what is a very complex system. We live in a time and place where technology and science tell us of infinite possibilities, treatments and cures; while at the same time resourses are very FINITE. Hard choices must be made, and sometimes you are a “just a part of the system” . However you can be a part of what makes a system better, and still make a difference doing the best you can with what you have.

    I have been in healthcare as a nurse for 12 years, and only recently began as a nurse practitioner. I don’t regret becoming a nurse. There are somedays that I wish I worked in a field that wasnt quite so life or death– there are people in my life who truly dont understand why I didnt get a meal break for 12 hrs– yes it IS required by law; but IF you have a severly ill pt and no one to relieve you , you just don’t eat. End of story.

     

    A good poem I often see my peers post on FB

    Somebody asked:

    “You’re a nurse? That’s cool, I wanted to do that when I was a kid. How much do you make?”

    The nurse replied: “HOW MUCH DO I MAKE?” …

    I can make holding your hand seem like the most important thing in the world when you’re scared. …
    I can make your child breathe when they stop. …
    I can help your father survive a heart attack. …
    I can make myself get up at 5 a.m. to make sure your mother has the medicine she needs to live. …
    I work all day to save the lives of strangers. …
    I make my family wait for dinner until I know your family member is taken care of. …
    I make myself skip lunch so that I can make sure that everything I did for your wife today is charted. …
    I make myself work weekends and holidays because people don’t just get sick Monday thru Friday. …
    Today, I might save your life. …

    How much do I make? All I know is, I make a difference.



    Post # 27
    Member
    4854 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    @meggs66:  There are many reasons why attempting to care for the public, by and large is futile. One of the very least is if they appreciate it or not. If you’re concerned with appreciation for your efforts, healthcare should be completely out of the question. 

    One of many reasons why it’s futile is that our healthcare system focuses on management of symptoms, not cause of disease. We’re forever using band aid care. 

    I often do not have the equpment I need to do the job the best we’re possible of doing. We’re not giving the best level of care we could because of the poltical nature of healthcare.

    Patients generally do not give a flying f*** about their own health. You run yourself ragged trying to help, and they do not follow the doctors orders, or make any changes or even bother to know what their condition is or how to manage it. In some cases they are not able to, but in the majority the are actively ducking out of their own are. Then they come back, time and time again, looking for why they still feel like crap. They will not take the answer and become angry when there is no magic catch all or pill.

    You inherently work in an invironment where there are very different approaches to patient care. Some very unprofessional and undignified. You have to watch while someone is treated poorly. Many people have different technical approaches to doing their duty, some outdated, unsafe etc. You have to watch while people do things wrong. Then EGO comes into it. My God, you will not believe the ego of HCP’s. Everyone knows better than everyone else, is more educated, has been doing it longer, BLAH BLAH BLAH. In the meantime, your patient is not getting the best care he/she deserves and your workplace is getting more and more toxic by the second.

    In some cases, where a patient is terminal, and they are forced through treatment that is giving them no relief and they do not want, well.. I don’t know how to tell you what that’s like to watch.

    AND I’m not even a nurse. I am an allied healthcare professional. They have it FAR far worse than I do. 

    It takes an exceptional human being to take on nursing and health care. I would recommend that anyone considering a career in public health care consider it incredibly carefully and not go into it blindly. 

     

    Post # 28
    Member
    637 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: February 2014

    So without getting to emotional and fired about about this I will just say I love and hate my job For many reasons. I’m not sure if a certain peronality fits into it better Han others, but Mine changed completely. I used to be a sweet nice passive girl and when I started everyone at work said to me, don’t worry that’ll change. And it did. You can only be verbally abused, emotionally and physically exhausted for so long until you start hardening the eff up and get on with it. 

    I hardly feel sympathy for anybody anymore. And when I do, it’s because I genuinely care they’ve got cancer, or their father is having a heart attack – these people and their families deserve this “attention” over people whove had a sniffle for a few days. I know it sounds like common sense but when people think they are “sick” they want your attention and they want it now.

    argh, this was more emotionally charged than I wanted it to be. So I’m going to leave it there.

    this blogger puts it perfectly

    http://ercrisis.blogspot.com.au/2010/02/born-of-frustration.html?m=1

     

    just fyi: im an emergency registered nurse.

    Post # 29
    Member
    417 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: March 2014

    @meggs66:  HAHA, I do feel like a zombie usually my first day off.  I try not to sleep too late that day so that I’m still tired at night and can go to bed at a reasonable time to revert back into normal time.  You’re mind gets used to it, but I don’t think your body ever really does.  Some people love night shift, and some hate them.  I just tolerate them.  I find now that I tend to start feeling physically ill around 3 in the morning.  It always passes though, its just an hour of feeling like garbage.  Its odd to eat in the middle of the night when your body has technically shut down and you know you shouldn’t eat but you do cause you’re hungry.  I gained a lot of weight because of this (your go to is almost always junk food and caffeine lol).  At the same time, I’ve tried to work 4 straight days and that is hard too.  Its just basically finding a happy medium.

    Post # 30
    Member
    714 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2014 - Jacksonville Inn

     

    @HappySky7:  This! I’m a monitor tech in a busy ICU and applying to nursing school. It’s so draining on all of the staff trying to save people that can’t or shouldn’t be saved. I’m tired of seeing folks in their late 90’s go through a code blue just because someone in the family feels too guilty to make them DNR. It’s hard seeing patients in the ICU for months on a vent only to die. We just had a patient on a vent for over 100 days who died suddenly and it was very hard on all of the staff. I think this is the hardest part, working hard to save people that cannot be saved and watching the level of suffering they endure because of it.

    Post # 31
    Member
    5221 posts
    Bee Keeper

    I became a nursing assistant when I was 18, and was a nurse by age 21. I am now 36. I was a medical nurse most of my career. I worked in skilled nursing/sub acute units and did home care on the side. I am now a psychiatric nurse, and I enjoy it. Psych nursing is the best fit for me. Honestly, I don’t recommend the field. Its not that you don’t have those fulfilling moments where you feel like you’ve made a difference, but those are few and far between. The changes coming to health care mean that there are more liability issues and less money in nursing. There were many nights I went home in tears, because the business end of medicine over rode the people end of it. And that is the way it is and will be and is only getting worse. Doctors and nurses don’t decide medical treatment……insurance companies and regulatory agencies do. Ultimately, only you can decide what is best for YOU. I recommend taking a six week CNA course and working as a nursing assistant before you go on to nursing school. It will give you a taste of what its like to work in health care.

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