Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Is it possible to hate a job because you love it so much? Does that even make sense?

I love being a nurse. There is not a doubt in my mind that this was what I was meant to do (besides being a mother). I get HUGE fulfillment out of it. I love the connections I have with my patients. I love it!

But...I hate it. I hate it because there are so many different aspects. You have multiple patients, all the patients have numerous diagnoses, consults, orders, labs, tests, etc. So you juggle all of this, and of COURSE in the meantime, things will go wrong. A high potassium here. A low magnesium there. This patient has a high heart rate. Her blood pressure is through the roof. Did you know 606 is ready to go to OR? Where is the EKG? She was supposed to have an EKG done first, and there isn't one. Ma'am? I'm thirsty, will you get me some water? Hey Laura! You are getting an ER in 612 and they are on the phone calling report. But as soon as you are done getting report, Dr. Hateful needs to ask you some questions about your patient.

This is the part I have issues with. There is one nurse. And a million "issues". And since there is only one of me, there is no way I can address all these issues at the pace that the patients want them addresses. So while you FEEL like you are working your heart out, you have patients tell you "I waited 20 minutes for this!" "Did you know my call light has been on for 6 minutes? Does it even WORK?"

This has been the craziness I have had at work for the past 3 weeks. Tonight I felt a change. I had difficult patients, but I wasn't being pulled in every direction. I got all my work done, and I felt good about it. Then 5 PM rolls around and I find out I am getting an unstable patient, comfort measures only. Low blood pressure, high heart rate, high respiration's. Not good. She was okay when we got her in her room. When I went to check on her an hour later, I was putting an allergy band on her arm when I noticed her skin was cool and clammy. Uh-oh. We get some vitals as we watch her take very slow respiration's. The blood pressure wouldn't register. I watched her take her last breath. I had to call the daughter to inform her that there had been a change in status and she needed to come back. The daughter shows up and I have to tell her that her mother has passed. It was heart wrenching, as I knew it would be, and my voice cracked when I said it. I'll never get used to that.

The daughter thanked me. And as I was walking out, my other patient thanked me. She said she appreciated how attentive I was to her. She said it was the best care she has ever had. Granted, I bet she said that to everyone. Earlier in my shift I sat with my patient and let her tell me how her son died unexpectedly a few months ago. My terribly confused lady across the hall who would yell and scream would grab my hand and quiet down whenever I'd go in to see her and caress her hair. These are very little things compared to the other things we deal with day to day. But if there is one thing that keeps me from becoming burnt out, it will be THOSE moments. The moments where I know I made a difference to someone, even if it's small.

I do love my job. I do. I was meant to be a nurse.

1 comment:

Laddu said...

I'm a nursing student and it's so reassuring to know that there are veteran nurses out there who feel overwhelmed.