Monday, March 19, 2012

the old you is dead, the new you is alive, but tattered

Being a nurse is like going through the stages of grief.

You finally graduate from that Godforsaken nursing school and you passed the boards and you actually have a job! Yippee! So what if its rotating D/N. You begin the grieving process...

Stage one: SHOCK AND DENIAL. You go through orientation and things go OK, you are ready to be on your own. Or at least you thought you were. You quickly figure out that you don't have enough time in the shift to accomplish what needs to be accomplished, espescially if something goes wrong. You go home exhausted, made more so by rotating shifts. You can't believe it, what they told you in nursing school has no practical application to the actual daily work of a nurse. You tell yourself things will get better. They don't

Stage two: PAIN AND GUILT. You realize that you have just spent four years to do a job that is actually impossible to do. Now what? You have all those loans to pay off, you have to pay the bills. You find yourself saying: What have I done?!!!

You begin to feel guilty that you can't do all you are supposed to do for the patients.

Stage three: ANGER. You start to get pissed off that they expect you do all this stuff and you don't have time. There is never enough staff. You start to get a little burned out.

Stage four: BARGAINING.You tell yourself, maybe I can change things, I'll join a unit committee.

Stage five: DEPRESSION, REFLECTION, LONLINESS. You keep complaining to your significant other, family members, friends about how bad it is. They lose sympathy for you. They tell you to buck up, you're making a living, stop complaining.

You start to feel lonely. Nobody understands or they don't care, you tell yourself. You ask yourself, whats the use? I work really hard and I'll never get it all done. By the way, the comittee? Accomplished nothing, they rarely do. You quit it.

Stage six: ACCEPTANCE. You start talking to other nurses. You realize we all feel this way. Its some consolation. You have since got married and a baby is on the way. You can't quit now. You begin drinking (guffaw). You accept that the job is what it is, pretty much out of your control. You do the best you can. You develop a tough exterior. You'll need it in this job. You get onto evening shift, making life a little easier. Pretty soon you've been a nurse ten years and can't believe how time has flown by.


Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Thank you from one who was unable to do the schooling and appreciates what you all have learned and keep learning and practicing every single day. Nurses are the most important member of the health care team and my sister retired as an RN a few years back.

Sara said...

Thank you for writing this.

EDNurseasauras said...

...then in a moment you are 36 years in. Your kids, who grew up accepting that you were obglitated to work every other weekend and holiday, are grown up and gone. Your spouse is fed up with hearing about your job. You start blogging. Sometimes you think about retiring but cannot understand how it will be enough $$s to survive.

Angry Nurse said...

You just summed up my career sans the baby and tacking on an additional 15 years.

hoodnurse said...

Um, is it normal to alternate between 2 and 3?

BeebsyRN said...

Wow, wow, wow...thank you so much for putting into words exactly how I feel...I thought it was just me...when I am drowning (which is like, 99.9% of the time), I look around and wonder why nobody else seems stressed out or are they showing people pictures of their vacation or shopping for flat screen tv's, while I can't even find the time to go pee?? I guess I need to try to motor on to stage six, which is likely where the photo sharing, tv shopping nurses are... :-)