Being a nurse is a huge responsibility! Like many other occupations when people find out that you are a nurse they want to ask healthcare questions. Of course healthcare is so super personal, after all it is a life that were talking about! So this means that 1 single human being, in an 8 hour shift, has (literally) 15-50 (depending on the shift and nursing home) other human beings lives in their hands! I was always so envious of the super organized and focused nurses who seem to have super human abilities to complete their work. Having said that, I knew how to nurse like that but something inside me prohibited me from doing so. I’d like to say it is my big heart or my conscience but either way there is no room in a nursing home for a nurse such as myself! I’m not being caddy, that is just a fact. Let me just give you a quick story from my first week of nursing that will explain the difference between these “Super Nurses” and me.
My first week as a nurse in LTC I worked on an alzheimers unit. It was a locked floor with 40 residents for 1 nurse and 3-4 CNAs. I was working dayshift, a nurse was orientating me and we were doing morning med pass together in a common area. He was walking up to the residents and administering medications efficiently, like 5 residents to each of my 1. He finally stopped, looked over at me and said: What are you doing? Of course he must have read the confusion on my face because he went on to repeat my greeting to each resident in what I suppose was my voice “Good Morning Mr. Smith, How are you?” “I have your medicine for you” still I looked at him with a look of what could I possibly be doing wrong, He is explained to me: “There is no time to be making friends with each of them, you will never get done”. He was not being malicious he was just being honest!
I just came across an article that accurately describes LTC in the nicer nursing homes!
The Truth About Nursing Homes: David Macaray; counterpunch.org
David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is : How to Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows
I’ve come to realize lately that letting go of nursing is only a problem for me the way the thought of seeing your ex with someone else keeps you in a unhealthy relationship! The state surveyors know they are unrealistic yet nothing/no one changes anything. The administrative staff…well I’ll leave that alone. I love and respect about 95% of the nurses and CNAs I worked with! I feel that is saying a lot considering….
So, APPARENTLY Erikson was correct with his theories that missing out on things as a child will have long term consequences! Meaning: I can’t deal with the feeling of having my hands tied. That my friends is what nursing is all about! Your license is in everyone else’s hands and the things that you think you should be able to do for your resident’s just isn’t so! Well, I can’t speak for all of nursing, I’m really speaking of LTC. I’ve said this many times before but nursing homes (I’ve worked in 6 nursing homes in 2 different cities and there was one thing they all had in common: Never enough time to give everyone individualized attention!
Sooo, where does this leave me? Well, I’ll tell you where…..unemployed! Don’t get me wrong, being done with nursing wasn’t all my idea but I do feel like it’s for the best…..I just don’t know….my identity I guess….I’m no longer a nurse I guess (after 12+ years) Do I still want to be in healthcare? I’m working on a bachelors in Organizational Leadership but I won’t graduate for another 2 years…….