Ever since ZdoggMD gave us his thoughts on the ZVlogg yesterday, I have been considering the implications of our present situation from a wider camera angle.
The healthcare system we are currently operating in is completely broken. We are expected to triple document everything in the black hole EHR. We are taking care of more patients, rounding hourly with almost no support staff, and giving bedside care that is reminiscent of a hotel concierge. We are exhausted.
And if an error is made or a ball is dropped, we are often crucified. Because we are ‘easy to replace’. Or so they think. Mostly because they have no real and recent connection to the bedside. Some of ‘them’ have never actually used the EHR as part of their practice. They have never had to live with hourly rounding. And when they were at the bedside we still had support staff.
The retention of experienced, calm, and knowledgeable nurses is completely undervalued by the healthcare system. New graduate nurses are our bright and enthusiastic future. However, someone has to help them along and give them the benefit of their experience. They simply have no idea how nursing and patient care actually work. The utopia of nursing school simply does not exist where actual patients are involved.
I have precepted and mentored. My mentors were wonderful people who are still in my life. I have no idea what the mortality rate would have been if I had been dumped in the ICU with my nursing school knowledge and my enthusiasm, but it would have been tragic.
Like medicine, nursing requires a heck of a lot of on the job training. While nursing schools often talk new graduates into believing that they are ready for entry-level patient care, they are incorrect and the rest of us know it. You must have training and advice for everything from time management to how to make the IV pump stop beeping. In response, the experienced nurse is given the satisfaction of knowing he made a difference in nursing, and sometimes a dollar an hour. Also, a heavier assignment ‘because there are two of you’.
Thanks for that.
So, when you throw all of these things together. the gumbo you have prepared is a disaster. It is like breaking a pitcher, and then attempting to fill it with water and expecting it to function optimally. There are too many negatives, not enough positives, and the integrity of the structure is crumbling. We are told that we are ‘tough and can take it’. And we feel like complete failures when these overwhelming assignments rise up and swallow us. When people get pressure ulcers, or aren’t cared for well enough. When people die of neglect.
Not Fair. Not Responsible. Not Morally Right.
Not Nursing’s Fault.
What can you do to change these dangerous practices? How can you make sure the public knows they are in danger? How do you send a message to healthcare organizations that they will have to put that seven figure bonus they had earmarked for the CEO into direct care staff salaries instead?
Join SMYS For Change by clicking on this line. Besides a National Rally, we are planning rallies at State Capitals to bring awareness to the public. We are working on local issues. Let your voice be heard.
Join the Rally for National Nurse to Patient Ratios by clicking on this line. This is where the DC Rally headquarters live.
Encourage friends to join these groups and become active. Notify your local media that staffing levels are unsafe. Network with local nurses at one of our meetups. ORGANIZE A meetup!
Nurses are awful at advocating for themselves. Be the change you want to see in the world. Change the culture of nursing for your patients. You will never be sorry.
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