Wednesday, December 05, 2012

no flo

Being an ER nurse is so damn hard. The patients are more acute these days.  I've been trying to figure out lately why the job seems so much more stressful  than it used to be.  I ask myself, is it because I'm getting older and dealing with stress is harder?  I wonder about the other nurses. I mean I have been at this a long time.  I can handle just about anything.  If I am feeling like this, how are the other, less experienced or new nurses feeling?

Most people in this world are decent, doing the best they can.  The thing is, and this job teaches you this, there are just plain mean people and there are a fair amount of jerks in the world too.  They make the job even harder.

In nursing school, you are taught "therapeutic communication".  You are told that people react to stress in different ways.  Its like you are taught, "they can't help it, they are hurting, under stress, etc.".  Its your job to take care of them and understand and if you communicate with them in the right way, you will be Florence Nightingale and they will be the perfect patient and everybody will live happily ever after.

So right off the bat, there is an abyss between what you come out of nursing school thinking, and reality.  The first time someone calls you a "FUCKING BITCH!" its a shock to the system.  This isn't the way its supposed to go.  Flo runs screaming from the building and you are left standing there by yourself. This is the point where you follow Flo right out of the nursing profession or for, various reasons, you decide to stick it out. You develop a protective shell around yourself.  You do the best you can, realizing the perfection that is expected is impossible.

You get tired, weary, angry at times. Just when you think you can't take it anymore,  someone says thank you. Two little words. It stuns you.

So to all my fellow nurses.  Your job sucks a lot of the time. I know that you hate it at times. I know you go home exhausted. You wonder why you still do it. You get angry some times.  To all of you, I say thank you.  Thank you for doing a great job under impossibly stressful circumstances.


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Tinyfeet28 said...

I don't know how you've done it for all these years. I've been an ED nurse for 4 years and it's funny how (a) I can't see myself working in any other area and (b) at the same time I don't know how I'm going to keep doing this.

I spent 12 hours in triage today and lost all faith in humanity!

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Thank you for all you do to help us patients. I have only been in an ER three times in my life and all three times the nurses were the backbone of my stay. They gave me meds, helped me to the potty, comforted me, brought me phone for calling my kids, created a safe place for me amidst turmoil and confusion, tended me better than I could do myself-that's why I had to go there. You are incredible women and men and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. The world would be a horrible place without you all.

Some of my closest friends and adopted sisters are nurses. I love you dearly.

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