Nursing isn’t what it used to be; Working can’t change me.

 

I know its been awhile since I’ve written a post, but between recovering from a tonsillectomy and starting my first nursing job; I’ve been rather busy and plus I needed the time to gather my thoughts!

First, let me start by letting those of you who are not in the nursing field know that, nursing school and work in the field are two separate things. This might be true for quite a few fields, as we all learn to accommodate to the work environment but here is why nursing really sticks out like a sore thumb.

In nursing school we learn to be the patients backbone. Most patients are in a hospital nowadays because they are incredibly sick; hospitals these days are not keeping patients over night for simple post -op recoveries, they send them to nursing/rehab centers to recover, which is what scares me. In school we are taught to look at the patients perspective, to understand how they feel and what they are going through. To me, that is what a nurse is. We become advocates for the patients, we are their support system.

Now this is where things get tricky….; during my first few weeks, I was handling 15-30 patients on a single cart (med cart). And here are the rules:

1. Finish your med pass by noon (you start at 8am) + blood sugars and insulin

2. Answer doc questions; drop everything you are doing and get them the information they need

3. Stop what you are doing if there is a temp higher than 99 F or if someone is in pain

4. No electronic medical records; so make sure you remember to sign out the narcotics from their cardex. The count should not be off or your ass is on the line.

5. Gather vitals on who needs them.

6. Check off everything in the med book.

7. Know who takes their meds crushed or whole. (Crushing meds takes another 2 mins)

8. Find your patients if they are not in their rooms…. this requires an awfully fast walk to the other side of the building.

9. Finish morning med pass and start 2pm pass and hopefully finish by change of shift, which is at 3pm

10. Chart notes on your patients, do a monthly note, take off doc orders, fax pharmacy new med orders, report to the next nurse.

You get the point, I’m making here right? Now I am not complaining because this is the job I chose, my point here is that where do I have room to sit for 2 minutes and talk to my patient to see how they are doing? The truth is, you don’t have that time. The reason I chose nursing and the reason I actually fell in love with the profession during school was because I was able to uncover who I really was. All my life, I have seen myself tend to peoples feelings, putting myself behind them and I am okay with that. It is how I was built and it is how I am wired. But in the field where I cannot be who I want to be and I cannot give my patients the attention they need, how could I be the nurse I want to be?

I have met some extraordinary nurses while at my work place and they have years of experience. I have been told, once you figure out your routine and nook, you will be fine. Unfortunately, upon observing other nurses, I see them doing what the nursing field isn’t anymore. I encouraged one of my co-workers to further his/her degree, I saw their work ethic and I was amazed at how efficiently they dotted their I’s and crossed their T’s. They said “honestly, even though I wanted to, I wouldn’t do nursing again because nursing isn’t what it is used to be anymore”. As a new graduate I have quickly realized that.

I think I am more angry if anything at the system. I went to school in New England, where a nurses patient load did not exceed more than 5 patients. Here in NJ, it is 15-30 (in a rehab center) (7+in a hospital). I am the one these patients rely on throughout the time I am there to survive and to pick up on minor problems. If a patient is crying (even if I am told “oh she/he cries all the time”), I want to be there to comfort them, at the time they are feeling hurt and confused, so why not offer what I have? The answer is, “I can’t stick around sir and or madam because truthfully, I have 17 other patients just like you, to take care of and give medications to on time”. I mean, what kind of system is this?

I saw good nurses and bad nurses throughout my time in school. I vowed to myself that I do not want to become that cold nurse that ignores her patients because she needs to finish a med pass or write a couple words in a chart. I fear that most of the nurses that I am working with have changed. I do not want it to happen to me. I stuck with nursing because I became a shadow for someone in dire need of help, if my shadow can’t stick around what good am i? I refuse to be the one who is in and out with a paper cup of meds  and yet that is all I find myself doing because I am rushing to move on to the next patient all the while triple checking my meds because I cannot make a mistake.

The list I wrote, looks simple to the untrained eye. But if you look at it, as everything being done in a cluster or some what simultaneously, the picture might become clearer. Being a nurse is hard work and I don’t say that lightly.

I would’t be a nurse if I did not pay attention to my patients, if I did not speak to them or have a simple conversation, if I didn’t do them little favors etc. I owe my professors the most gracious thanks because through them I learned to go the extra mile. Through them I learned I should listen to my patients speak for two minutes because that is what they need to do; they need to communicate. Most of my patients spend their time alone in a room or doing activities. The individuals who are alone, just want to have someone to talk to; after all no one wants to be alone.

I recognize that I am still being a nurse while I work. I give meds, monitor conditions, change dressings etc. What I am really upset at is that there is no room for therapeutic communication, which is something I believe it truly helpful to someone who is healing. The power of communication itself is such a grand opportunity, it should be woven into all walks of life.

So, what am I doing about this? I think, slowly during my day at work I am trying to integrate my own practice into something that is so set in stone. I am noticing, that it does set me behind schedule but only by 15 -20 minutes. Now, in nursing world thats like one hour… but I’ve received more information out of my patients through talking to them then by just walking in and out of their rooms. I am better able to control their pain because I ask them if they are in pain and how much and where it is hurting. I try to clean up what I can while I am doing their meds. The  nursing assistants are just as busy as the nurses but I only wish that some could be more attentive. After all, no one wants to sit in a wet brief with food all over their face, I am sure you wouldn’t, I wouldn’t either. I am only standing up for what I believe in, whether it be quietly and on my own. I am one of the youngest and most inexperienced nurses in the field but I know what I have been taught and what I believe in should also be considered in the care of patients. I know I am doing the right thing for myself because when I am done talking to my patients, they thank me for listening, or give me a smile even if they are having an awful morning. Think about how many times you have had an awful day, where you wanted to quit…. then think about how many people you resided to… quite a few huh?! Now think, these patients do not have that. Some don’t even have a family to turn to, better yet friends.

So then, why not do what we can for people who cannot even raise their hands due to paralysis or because they forgot how to go to the bathroom due to Alzheimer’s?!

I am incredibly grateful that I became a nurse, I owe it to the family members that helped guide me in the direction and to the nursing school I attended and of course myself because I believe being a nurse not only includes what you learned to do in school but who you are as a person. I hope for change to occur, I know it is impossible to completely recreate something that is set in stone, but if us nurses are really in it for the patients & their happiness then bringing change little by little can’t be that difficult.

I will continue to work the way I was trained. Of course, I have remained fair to both systems presented to me, but I cannot stand for poor nursing just because your 9ams are behind schedule. I tried following the nurses’ lead…. the guilt of not reaching out to my patients came at me like a speeding 16 wheeler. I hated it.

As I may have mentioned before, I plan to go into humanitarian aide work. I want to travel to countries that do not have the proper medical means to survive. It is my ultimate dream and I plan on carrying it out 100%, I want to live in a country for a few months to become a part of a culture that is foreign to me. No matter where I am in the world, the greatest good I can do is helping another human being (and animals but thats a topic for another post 🙂 )  There is no such greater gratitude than the one you experience after you help heal someone and that is all I need.

“Sure, I’m for helping the elderly, I’m going to be old myself some day” – Lillian Carter

– TP ❤

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My Fab Five Books!

Like any other reader, I don’t think I have exactly a “fab five”, but I guess this is to make things easier. Of course, I’ll be posting many more but to get things rolling this seems like a pretty good start. I definitely will not be giving a synopsis, perhaps a small description and if it tickles your fancy then start reading! Throughout the years I have either met someone like me who loves to read or someone who who hates it… its a hobby in my eyes; not a bad thing if you hate it either… people have their reasons, right?! So here it is (in no particular order):

Paolo

The Solitude of Prime Numbers is by far one of the grandest novels I’ve read. It was something I read recently and it immediately had to jump up on my favorites list! The author Paolo Giordano is a particle physicist, which is something I was intrigued by because you wouldn’t expect a physicist to write such a novel. He mysteriously ties in his love for prime numbers to his main characters, thus making them as mischievous as the prime number series itself. I think this is an awesome novel, it has an unusual perspective of love and I could not stop reading! Definitely worth checking out and the upside is, its pretty short so for those who have a distaste for the longer than usual books this is perfecto!

Perks

The infamous Perks of Being a WallFlower by Stephen Chbosky; why I chose this one is because I have read it three times and still haven’t got bored. I am sure most of you know what this book is about since a movie has been made but I encourage those who have only watched the movie to read the book; the insight it offers is wonderful. I find that my past relates most to the main character, particularly due to the fact that he keeps to himself. Once he discovers his admiration for friends and the like, the book takes off. One of the themes I see in this is that the human mind is an expert at subconsciously hiding what we cannot or do not want to face…. If you haven’t read it, please do!

Lipstick in Afghan

Lipstick in Afghanistan by Roberta Gately is a novel I recently finished! The novel follows a nurse who is interested in reaching out to individuals in third world countries. Lipstick in Afghanistan, definitely expanded my interests in humanitarian/volunteer work and I have since researched a multitude of projects and NGO’s. It is intertwined with the life of a nurse as well the stories that the main character experiences. It is a portal for experiencing a new culture and provides for a new outlook on those individuals who continue to deal with war and death. I believe, this novel really let me come to terms with the extravagant life I live when compared to those in countries like Afghanistan. It is something worth looking into, everyone has a life that is equal and in my opinion, if fortunate people like us can help, then its only a blessing, not for us but for those who live in war and hate.

Siddhartha

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse; In my opinion, Herman Hesse is one of the greatest writers that has walked this planet! I have read two books by him and still find myself reverting back to his writing. I will say that his writing is complex but each piece tells a wondrous story of the journey of life. For many, this may fall into the religion realm but for me it opens up a different perspective. It is the story of how a man journeys to find the religion we all know as Buddhism and what an enlightening journey it is! Siddhartha is bound with a spiritual elegance and thought provoking insight. Although, Siddhartha  is an incredibly short novel, it takes awhile to understand the writing. Hopefully, it appeals to the more kindred, humble souls out there… it definitely did for me!

Inside of a Dog

Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz. Exceptional is all I have to say. Hands down, this book is for animal lovers, especially dog lovers. Alexandra Horowitz is a researcher who digs into the psyche of a canine. I appreciate all animals and particularly love dogs. I myself, do not have any pets of my own (I blame it on my mom!), but one of my dearest cousins has a beautiful Yorkshire Terrier and she is the ultimate likable personality. Inside of a Dog, holds a lot of research and evidence based on the canines character; from the nose to the tail, everything is explained in detail. The author also throws in a few bits about her own personal canine friend, whom she loves to pieces! This book is full of information, but its worth reading because you only learn to appreciate the canine breed more than before. These are souls that cannot speak, who do not have opposable thumbs but end up expressing an unimaginable amount of love and gratitude, teaching us to appreciate our lives just as it is.

So, thats the list! I hope it can really introduce new books to those who haven’t heard of them or intrigue some of you non-readers. Knowing me, this list is bound to change, but I plan on adding different books through different posts, these are just the ones I would definitely read again without thinking about it twice!

** The pictures I have pulled from Google Images nor do I own any. (just in case those Feds come for me … ha ha)

Hope you all enjoy !

Live in the beauty of Life

TP ❤