It actually hurts my heart to write these words today, but I really don’t think I like Nursing that much anymore. I’m still head over heels in love with being a nurse, mind you, but what the actual profession has somehow morphed itself into … that’s who I’m not getting along with so well lately.
And I think it’s time I’m honest enough to finally talk about it.
The fact that I’m sitting here this morning even thinking these thoughts not only makes me terribly sad, it also has me incredibly angry, as well. And the frustrating part is that I don’t even know who to be mad at.
All I know is that there is some faceless, nameless someone way up high in the hierarchy of the global healthcare world who has decided that this is okay.
And, contrary to what some may believe, it is not our management doing this to us, nor is it even our greater hospital systems. No, it’s coming from much higher than that.
And somehow they’ve gotten to make this decision.
The one that says we can do this.
That we are physically able.
That we somehow superhumanly possess the cognitive ability to juggle all the fine details, all the constant decision-making, the never ending interruptions that go into the day-to-day battle of holding multiple people’s lives in our hands.
And that is the true bottom line, you know. There is no other.
These patient’s lives are literally depending on their nurses to be their very last line of defense. We are their advocates. Their literal voices, sometimes. And their protectors, always. Protection against deterioration. Infection. Falls. Even protection from themselves.
And, God forbid, we are also their final defenders against the horror of medical errors. Human mistakes. Because the reality is that all these caregivers serving in the trenches with me are just normal people. And we mess up sometimes.
Just like everybody else.
We’ve just been called to a profession where that can absolutely kill somebody. So we walk around with the pressure of this weighing down on our shoulders. All day, every single day.
Yet somehow there’s that someone out there who has decided that it’s okay to stretch nurses to the point that this critical bottom line becomes blurred from our vision as we hurry around trying to be everything for everybody.
And they’ve also decided that not only can we do (and be) all of this, but that we can actually keep doing more.
But that someone is not the one who has to face these patients and their families. They’re not the one who has to see the look in their eyes when your phone rings again and again and again while they’re trying to talk to you. Or while you’re trying to actually take care of them.
This faceless, nameless someone is not the one who has to struggle to hide their frustration at this all day long.
They are not the ones who are held accountable for everything that’s happened not only during our own shifts, but also for every shift before us. They are not the ones who have to answer the doctors about why something never got done. (I can guarantee you it wasn’t simply because they chose not to do it. Believe me.)
That someone is also not the one sitting there charting late that night feeling like a total failure as they think about all the things that they just couldn’t get to that day. All those things that were high on your list that morning, but slowly got sifted down through all the constant re-prioritization that the craziness of the day required.
They’re not the one who looks around them before finally clocking out to see their colleagues also still sitting there, doing the same thing, thinking the same thoughts.
They’re also not the one who listens as a doctor tells you that he really needs you to keep a close eye on this patient. They’re not the ones who feel that gut panic as you wonder just how you’re supposed to be able to do that with the load you’re already carrying? They’re also not the ones who at that very moment watches as their new admission rolls onto the unit from the ED. They’re not the one who knows what this means.
This faceless, nameless someone is not the one trying to be a positive light for their patients and work family, all while trying to mute that defeatist’s mantra playing through their own mind: “I just can’t do all this. I can’t. I just can’t.”
And they’re definitely not the ones who have to go home at night and try to sleep after 12+ hours of this.
I may sound overly dramatic today, but it’s been that rough lately. I personally have no plans to walk away anytime soon, but I do fight thoughts of wanting to escape. And it’s not just me, I see it in every nurse I know, both seasoned and newbies alike – and no matter where they work. We’re all truly struggling.
Somehow this nameless, faceless decision maker thinks that nurses being constantly pulled in so many different directions won’t somehow just pull us apart one day. That it won’t just rip each one of us right into tiny, little shreds of absolutely not being able to care anymore.
And finally just not being able to come back.
And some just don’t.
More and more, in fact. They don’t come back.
And somehow that someone has also short-sightedly decided that each and every nurse who walks away is not a terrible tragedy to the patients, to the morale of their nursing colleagues, and to every, single one of us who may ever be sick one day.
Because, seriously, if so many keep being driven to this point of walking away from a profession they once loved, then who’s going to be left to take care of all the sick, the broken, the aged? Who’s going to be left to take care of you and me?
Honestly, it’s my faith that keeps me going back. I’ve shared countless times before about how Jesus spoke my name and called me to “Come, follow” him on this nursing journey. He has led me to this point, and I know he’ll be faithful to sustain me through whatever task he calls me to.
My battle is to keep my eyes focused on HIM and not to be knocked around by any troubling doubts and circumstances that may surround me. He’s not going to let me fail. I know that. My prayer is that you can walk strong and tall in that knowledge, as well, my friends.
By the way … if you do happen to know who that faceless, nameless decision-maker is – the one who’s so busy wearing down all the good nurses – please let them know for me that their “more and more and more” mindset is really, truly not okay. Not for any of us.
Thanks for growing with me. ❤
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)