The chaos of nursing tends to get to me at times. Those who have the distinct pleasure of either living or working with me get a front-row seat to seeing just how much this chaos absolutely drives me crazy some days.
I go to work all shiny and eager to help my patients, but then I leave that night feeling like a dingy, dented-in ping pong ball that’s been whacked around for 12-hours straight. Ouch. The burn. Not pretty.
Most of the stress we deal with as nurses doesn’t really come from the patients, though. More often, it comes from what surrounds them – the coordination of their care.
While we do our best to keep everything peaceful inside their rooms, there is a nonstop blur of activity happening outside our patients’ doors that they’re probably not even aware of.
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Specialists, therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists, monitor techs, case managers, patient care techs, and countless others are trying to ensure these patients have safe recoveries and successful re-entries back into living their lives.
Well … guess whose job it is to keep track of all of this? Yep – that responsibility belongs solely to the RN.
It’s like balancing spinning plates. Multiple wobbly, precariously-perched-on-crooked-sticks, frantically-spinning plates. For five different patients. At the same time. This is where all the phone calls come from. This is where most of the “right now” comes from. This is where the unbelievable chaos comes from.
So not only are we constantly trying to keep these patients safe and alive, we are also responsible for keeping the progression of their care on track, as well. We have to keep these patients pressing ever forward. Towards healing. Towards home. Towards life.
I don’t know if this is funny or sad, but as I’m sitting here writing today, I’m already starting to feel the need to heal from all the chaos – and I haven’t even worked my scheduled weekend yet. It’s only Friday, and I’m already craving Monday. This is not like me. This is not good. Not good at all, Debi.
I’ll be honest. Sometimes it’s really difficult to even think about going back in there and doing it all again. Especially when the shifts have been as rough as they’ve been lately. And especially when I’m not feeling my strongest. And, believe me, these last few days … they’ve not been my best.
But, guess what? They haven’t been my worst, either.
And I just, right here, right now, at this very moment, internally pulled myself together, and talked myself back around to looking forward to going in this weekend. Just like that.
Because I chose to.
Maybe the shifts will be terrible. Maybe they won’t. It doesn’t matter because either way, our amazing God is leading me there … sustaining me there. They can’t help but be a blessing somehow.
And besides, regardless of the chaos, the bottom line is I love what I do. I love where I do it, and I love the team I do it with.
We come together every morning – we start our day with prayer. We laugh our way through the craziness. Sometimes we cry. Sometimes we rant. Okay – a lot of times we rant. But we help each other. We build each other up. And we hold each other up.
Thank you for our team, God.
I also love my patients. Before I’ve even met them, we’re already connected. God gave them to me for that day – how precious. And their families, as well. They’re all going through so much – their stories each leave their imprints on me. I’m changed inside from our time together.
Thank you for my patients, God.
They teach me that everybody has a story worth hearing. They teach me that everybody loves in different ways. They teach me to not judge where people are at right now in life, but to learn from what led them to this point.
They teach me the importance of meeting their eyes or holding their hand. They teach me the value of connection. They teach me the precious worth of slowing down and simply being there. Just be there for them, Debi. And they teach me that there’s so much more to nursing … to life … than merely balancing spinning plates.
Thanks for growing with me.
“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)