When we get close to the end of nursing school, we start to understand the meaning of prioritization. When we get out of orientation at our first job, we know how bad at it we are. Over the next few years, we begin to find it easy. Obviously A comes before B. I mean who wouldn’t know that?
(the nurse you were a few years or decades ago, but that’s for another day)
The thing they never taught you to prioritize in school was the needs of you and your coworkers. Nobody really emphasized compassion fatigue or unsafe staffing. Nobody told you that the administrators of your healthcare organization would use your kindness against you. Nobody told you that you would be whipped with words like ‘team player’ and ‘letting the patients down’ when the staffing is low.
They didn’t mention in the interview that while you are earning a pretty good amount of vacation time, you would never be able to use it for more than a few days at a time because of their failure to maintain a decent staffing level. It was never suggested that anytime you became ill you would be expected to work that way, or be told how you let the team down.
Nobody mentioned that your ‘liberal raises’ would be non-existent. The salary at which they hired you would not significantly rise, and you would have to job hop to get decent money. This is because they do not care about you as the person, the NURSE that you are. Retention of employees costs money. They tell you how bad the economy is, the CEO collects his four million dollar bonus, and you worry about buying Christmas presents.
Time to prioritize, Nurse. If your patient were dying you would start chest compressions. You would ventilate. You would call a code.
What are you going to do while your profession is being abused and taken advantage of? Are you going to stick with your ‘calling’ and refuse to help yourself? Or are you going to unite with Nurses all over the country and make changes that will make you, your coworkers, and your patients safer, happier, and healthier?
Why is this so hard?
We need to forget our differences. I mean completely forget them. The healthcare team is made up of those who are democrats, republicans, libertarians, straight, gay, hispanic, black, white, asian, married, single, men, women, LPN’s, RN’s, APN’s, CNA’s, and any other difference you can think of. We need to be united by the one thing we have in common, the love of our patients. The very fact that we have dedicated our lives to daring to care for strangers.
So stop concentrating on what divides you. This is not all about you. It is about the profession you love. So love it. You know what you need to do.
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