It has been a rough week. I have been working everyday since Friday, so today marks Day 7. I have been in orientation since Monday at this new hospital I am going to be working for on an as needed basis. Basically I tell them when I can work and how long- and that’s the end of that. I was originally applying there to get a full time job to be closer to home, but after getting the offer, realized it was no where near what I am making now. Much to my surprise, I am very much learning a lot from my first week. I haven’t worked for a Catholic Hospital before. It is also a community hospital, so many of their patients are from the community- which is MY COMMUNITY. Their orientation is so different from what I’m used to having worked at my fair share of hospitals. This is the scenario of what an orientation means to me: walk in to class. They show you how to use the IV pump. What are the policies and procedures. Policies of sick calls and PTO. Raises and when do you get them. Lab draws and who does them. What are my RN responsibilities. Schedule. Computer systems. Charting. You get the drift. On my first day at this new hospital, we were met by the CEO of the hospital. He stayed to give us a lecture for about two hours on why smiling is important. How one smile can change someones life. Personality and leaving your bad day in your car before walking in to work because the patients we are taking care of are having a far more worse day than I could possibly be having. How if taken into a different environment, everything we do to our patients would be illegal. For example: We walk into their room or walk in on them while they are doing the dirty deed or taking a shower. We tell them when they should take their medications. We tell them that we have to draw their blood. We tell them what test they have to go for. They can’t wear their clothes, but instead a patient gown. They can only have a limited number of visitors. They can’t eat pork or french fries. We basically take away their autonomy. The world has changed from a caring perspective to a type of world where you cover your butt so you don’t get sued doing what you do. In turn, the emotions that come with nursing are taken away. The time that used to be spent with the patients are now spent getting all the right paper work done. Making sure we are documenting every possible detail. Paying attention to every detail. Making sure we report every little bit of detail even though its importance may not seem worthy of attention. We have so many paper work to fill and things to do that are related to the patient but not done with the patient in their rooms. This hospital is now currently holding seminars for their nurses on how to be empathetic and holistic. In truth, that is the definition of nursing. That should be why nurses want to be nurses- because they have a natural ability to be caring and nourishing. In today’s society, however, masses of people are trying to get into nursing school. There are long waits for very few spots. They graduate and become nurses, and the end result most of the time is that these people are not natural healers and empathic people. They don’t care if their patients die. They don’t sit there and hold their hands or talk with the family. They don’t get spiritually attached and forget about their patients soon after their shift is done. They don’t care if grandma is being abused. They just want their shift to end. That has been the result of the studies being done now and why so many patients are no longer satisfied with their nursing care. This trend along with the busy-ness most RNs have that are more related to covering their license in case of suit. There is so much legality and politics tied in with everything. DNR or not. Do we treat or should we leave them be. Nursing has lost its essence.
This is the very thing I knew I wanted to do since the day I can remember. I graduated elementary and high school and went right to it knowing from the start that this is my calling. I feel like I am great at it and that I am empathetic and caring. I cry and have my emotional moments. I remember all my patients who have dies on me. There has been less than a handful of my own, but I have seen many deaths being that I am working on a very critical floor. I’m very emotional, though I don’t show it to my patients. I go on my car ride home talking to my husband to release and then let it go the minute we walk into the door. I think what I have learned from this is that being in the same hospital for the last 7 years may have boggled me a bit. There are many new nurses who have come and gone or who have stayed and are still here who have a negative impact on how nursing really is. People who have previous bachelor’s degrees and all of a sudden became nurses. Many of them are great, but many of them also went into it as a security blanket. It has taken some aspect of it away from me. Going on this orientation and listening to all their speakers have really changed me in some ways. They have brought me back to my foundation and I am starting new again- this is a vow. Not to say that I am a horrible nurse now, but I definitely have room for improvement. This first week has taught me to see and feel from those on the opposite side of nursing- and that is to be a patient. It’s not very easy 100% of the time. By them making this first week a highlight of what nursing means and what nursing is not was really emotional for me. Many of us were tearful and very grateful for all the lessons we learned this week. There was a group of 30 of us who were in awe of all the things we learned. Lessons not about the physical aspect of nursing as a job, but what nursing is as an emotion and spirit. I think I used to be that nurse until slowly it was being drained out of me by all the alcoholics and drug abusers that come in to be treated. By all the harassment I receive from uneducated young adults. Homeless people who want to be so demanding. All the death and dying people I have seen. Old and cranky patients who yell at you for every possible thing. Unappreciative family members and the list goes on. After this week, I can see through the other side and realize that it is never easy to be on the other side. I don’t know their stories and why they are the way that they are. They may be total a-holes for no reason, but I can’t take that away and judge the other person who may have a reason behind it all. More importantly, I can’t put hundreds of incidents together to say F this- I don’t care anymore. To every patient, I matter and I can make a difference. Kind of corny and too dramatic, but in all honesty, we got to take it back to the roots. Next week is the real orientation. This weekend I’ll be at my other job revamping myself. I can’t jot down every single thing I have learned in this first week of orientation, but we all felt somehow changed by all the speakers, educators and patients themselves who showed up. What better people to educate us on what really matter than the patients themselves. BRAVO!