The 10 Truths of the Nursing Profession
Throughout my nursing career I have worked in many capacities too numerous to mention. I've become a staff educator, assistant director of nursing for a 500-bed facility, CNA/red cross training, long term care supervisor and charge nurse, hospice nurse and, most recently, started my own advocacy business. I've learned the most valuable things in life from my patients and all these years, the nursing system has left certain marks in me that those on the front line will be able to recognize. These marks and also themes have never changed and I find it my obligation to illuminate other nurses on the truths of our profession.
I am a fierce patient advocate and in nursing, the patient always comes first.
It is an honor and a privilege to minister to the sick, as they allow us into their lives at such an intimate, trying time.
Nurses often treat each other terribly, as does management, and this negativity trickles down from the top and, of course, that negative energy transcends on to the patients receiving care.
Nursing has become a business and for true humanitarians it becomes extremely difficult to work under monetary motivation.
Nurses are afraid to speak up for fear of being fired, something we've all witnessed far too many times.
Few nurses stay very long at a job because nursing burnout is high and there is no motivation to stay without a union to protect you or a pension plan to help you secure some kind of future.
Nurses have no recourse for grievances and no support groups. By the end of a career, many nurses are physically ruined, mentally exhausted and emotionally tapped out. I have witnessed so many nurses pass from strokes and heart attacks because of the constant stress along with broken marriages, relationships, etc. The stories go on and on.
Medicare is broken and Medicare scrutiny has gotten completely out of control, creating so much paperwork that RNs rarely deliver hands on care and have become, at best, pencil/paper pushers leaving the hands-on work to LPNs.
Did you know that Long Term Care (nursing homes) are second most regulated only to Nuclear Power Plants? That fact is absolutely mind boggling, but if you saw the amount of paperwork left for nurses to do, you would be just as "blown away".
No one but no one talks about this stuff. I have long since cancelled my subscription to two popular nursing magazines. They are written by nurses who haven't been on the front lines in years. These are the nurses who have 20 initials next to their names, signaling all kinds of credentials that for many of us, mean absolutely nothing. Their articles are Fluff and Stuff and rarely if ever get to the heart of anything... maybe a heartwarming nursing story here and there. Meanwhile, so many nurses are leaving the field broken, frustrated and frankly lost.
If I ever hit the lottery or came into some kind of money that would allow me to leave my job, I would work to restore what nursing should be. Certainly, nurses would be 'unionized' and there would be plenty of support groups available for them. For God's sake, no one speaks the truth anymore, and if you can't admit the truth, then you can't work on the problem.
To all of you nurses out there – may God bless all of you. Your rewards are those you receive through the eyes of your patients for whom you made a difference.
In a world filled with greed and disregard for our fellow man, the world starts not with someone else, but in our hearts first, because we are the world. We can change it one nurse at a time.
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By: Sue Heacock
When most people visualize a nurse, the first thing that comes to mind is the hospital nurse. Although hospitals typically employ the majority of nurses around the globe, there are many other career paths for a nurse to stroll down! I will give you four of the nursing jobs I've had before:
School Nurse. Despite what you may have heard, this fast-paced nursing career is not just about band-aids. School nurses face the special challenge of being the "only game in town", medically. He/she is responsible for a large number of children with a variety of physical and emotional health issues. I worked as a school nurse for seven years. Among some of the diseases I worked with were Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes, Asthma, and ADHD. Another facet of school nursing is the medical emergency. I tended to compound fractures, heart attacks of adult staff members, and severe allergic reactions. School nurses often have no back-up when awaiting 911 assistance. Perks you ask? First, you are never lonely or in want of a smile! I was also fortunate enough to coach basketball and sponsor a volunteer club for students in the school I worked in. The work is tough and challenging, but definitely rewarding.
Clinical Research Nurse. I worked in a Phase I clinical research facility. This type of nursing involves pharmaceutical companies testing their potential product on humans for the first time. These are drugs being tested for approval by the FDA.The work involves receiving a protocol from the pharmaceutical company and identifying research participants fitting the protocol criteria. The project is planned in great detail. This type of research involves blood testing at certain intervals. For example, you may have 20 participants that need blood draws completed exactly 15 minutes after the new drug is administered. This involves precise timing between the drug administration and the blood draws. Protocols often call for many blood draws at certain intervals over a 24 or longer hour period. The facility I worked at was a 24 bed facility for pharmaceutical protocols requiring close supervision, certain diets, and multiple blood draws over several days.The challenge of this job is obvious! Although the drug has been tested on animals, one does not know the reaction it will have on humans. Dealing with rapidly changing situations is part of this job description!
Plasma Center Nurse. My first job out of nursing school was at a plasma center. My work involved doing initial and annual physical exams and drug screens on plasma donors and handling medical emergencies. Like school nursing, you are often the only medical staff there – other than the phlebotomists - and must react quickly to medical emergencies.
Occupational Health Nurse. I have worked in this capacity for the past four years of my career. This position involves nursing in a business environment. This could be a factory, an office building, a financial center, or any other business that employs Occupational Health Nurses. I have worked at Motorola, Perdue Farms, and Ford. All three positions differed in their challenges and duties. You will need to know OSHA policies and procedures, Worker's Compensation laws in the state in which you practice, and FMLA regulations – for starters.