Career, Personal Development

Bedside Nursing and Moving Forward

Sooo I was initially going to write a post on expectations. But I decided not to. Instead, I decided to write about being charge nurse on my unit, why I like it, and why it’s further solidified my decision to leave the bedside once and for all.

First of all, let me say, bedside nursing is NOTHING like what I thought it would be. It was not at all what I expected. There is no amount of money that I can be paid that will give bedside nursing a deep sense of satisfaction to me. I like my coworkers, I like my supervisors. But I don’t like the staffing ratios, I don’t like the “blame game”, how everyone is trying to avoid responsibility and is looking for someone to blame and many times it is you, the nurse, who they will blame. And I don’t believe that the patient (or their families) is always right. There’s a lot of stigma that revolves around the healthcare world. We have ambulance chasers who post adds on television encouraging people to file lawsuits over hospital and patient care errors. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. People do make mistakes and sometimes justice needs to be served. There are the patients who are pleasant but then lie to their family members about you and the care you provided. They’ll say they were cleaned or washed or their linens weren’t changed, even though you did all of that one hour ago. And there are those people who abuse the healthcare system, who use nurses as servants and slaves. Who will call you in to feed their family member and instead will just cross their hands or pick up their phones and text, not caring that you have another patient who is literally about to die if you don’t tend to them. If you don’t come in right away, and their family member’s food tray is collected, they will call you in again to yell, curse at you, and complain that their family member was not fed, was starved. They will say that feeding them was your job, not theirs and this is neglect. And maybe it was. But the neglect came from you, the family member who did not want to help their own flesh and blood. Who after all is said and done, still refuses to take their family member home and care for them, still refuses to get involved in their care at all whatsoever. Where were you? I don’t like bedside nursing much at all.

I was allowed to be in the role of Charge Nurse because, even though I dislike bedside nursing, I still do a good job at it because I keep my mouth shut, smile, and do my job. I get to help run the unit. I coordinate schedules with the doctors, social work, unit clerks, and the nurses so that they can all have meetings at the same time. I create an assignment for the incoming nurses and ensure that the nurses currently working have a fair assignment and that their day runs as smoothly as possible. I check the rooms to make sure that we have adequate medical materials and that every nurse that has special drips and tubings and medical devices had all the equipment they need to ensure safe patient care. I spend more time away from the bedside than I do at the bedside. And I love it. That’s what I love most about it. Less direct, hands on patient care, more managerial work.

So this actually has me thinking about my career now. Because knowing that I dislike bedside nursing and direct patient care, has me thinking about my desire to go to graduate school and what I would like to pursue. I know that I will not, at all, miss bedside nursing if I decide to pursue a different career (like say, as a writer), but what is it that I want to do then? I would like to be a writer. To tell stories, to share what I’ve learned in this life, to explore the areas of philosophy and how they apply to real life; hence, why I created this blog. But I’m not sure I can generate income from a blog. Maybe this all ties back to my lack of confidence. Or maybe, I’m afraid to dream because I don’t want to get my expectations up and hear myself say, “this field was not at all what I expected” with a sad face and a sigh of disappointment. What I DO know is that I don’t ever want to feel a heavy burden of obligation to anyone or any organization again. And I may need to diversify my life and my portfolio if I want to experience the rich life and sweet nectar that life has to offer.

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