So….I gave my notice at work today. At a place where I have served this community for 20 years.
All day, I have teetered between angry, and sad, and worried. And I have grieved.
My question is this….
What the hell happened to health care? To nursing?
When did we stop caring for people?….and start caring for money?….and administration?
When did it become ok to let people that we know – using our extensively trained, medical judgement – are sick and in need of our services, walk out the doors of our ERs with no help?
When did I, or will I, become someone who will clock out after my shift and be able to go home and rest easy….knowing that – while I may have seen 30 patients in one shift, I really only saw 15 because I provided half-assed care the whole time?
Nursing was created in a time when there was no technology. Nurses did nothing to REALLY save lives. We cared for people. We comforted them. We, in moments when people had no one to be close to, made people feel like they were the most important thing in the world….to US. We bathed people, and cleaned wounds, and held people’s hands, and wiped people’s asses. We may have stopped someone from bleeding to death, but I promise you, after that person lived….or while they were dying, we were emotionally there with them. Giving a part of ourselves to them.
THAT is the nurse I want to be.
I get annoyed, and stressed, and overwhelmed. We all do.
But, let me make one thing clear….
If you are the queen of England or the homeless drug addict down the street, it’s not YOU that I’m annoyed with. Not really. Unless you are someone who feels that you’re more important….entitled….then, yes, it’s you.
I, your nurse, am annoyed with the fact that I CAN’T take care of you the way I want to. I’m not allowed to. I have to do a million little tiny things to do for a few, very insignificant, people so that this hospital can stay open. So that you can have a place to go when you,or your family, are sick or hurt.
And, most likely, I’ll keep doing it. Day/Night in and Day/Night out. Because, even though it’s not what my heart wants….it’s the closest thing that I can give you.
I may not have time to hold your hand.
I may seem rushed when you’re trying to tell me stories about your grandkids.
I may get frustrated when you tell me that you’re tired of waiting to be seen, and you just want to go home.
But don’t be mistaken. It’s not you that I’m frustrated with.
I’m frustrated because I want to hold your hand….
And hear your stories….
And I want you to stay and receive the care that I always dreamed of giving.
But I can’t make that happen.
And it breaks my heart.