Thursday, April 19, 2007

hmm, disgruntled much?

I just received an email (to a place I don't normally receive email) from obviously someone who is very disgruntled and bitter about the nursing profession. I thought I would share it with you all:

Dear Nicole,

I just found your blog and have enjoyed reading it very much. You seem like a very intelligent, idealistic person with a lot to offer the world.

However, your comments regarding the person in intake who was lamenting the way things are in the nursing profession worries me. I hope you do not get too disillusioned when you graduate and start working and you get the eye-opener that is the first nursing job. I saw you were recently taking three patients. Try caring for eight or nine, all of whom are ridiculously sick and your floor is shortstaffed. When you ask management for the staff you are "supposed" to get according to the hospital's staffing grid, they will tell you they will "see what they can do" but nothing ever gets done about it and meawhile you are left holding the bag. What are you going to do if more than one of your patients start coding at the same time? If something happens, no matter how perfectly and how well reasoned your clinical skills and decision making are, if one of those people dies it will be blamed on you, and be your fault, because "you're the nurse! Why didn't you do X, Y, Z" which of course naturally would have solved the probelem of how you are going to be in two places at the same time. And why didn't you catch the DOCTOR'S mistake in time? and don't forget about your other six patients who also have problems going on.

I am very sorry to hear about your classmate getting attacked. I hope she is OK. But please don't kid yourself regarding that psych patient that attacked your friend/classmate. People with psych issues walk among us every day, not all of them are safe in the psych ward and not all the people who attack are mentally ill. Some are just mean. My first year out of school I had a co-worker whose little old lady patient (who did NOT have psych issues btw) attacked her by trying to strangle her with the stethoscope worn around her neck during her morning assessment. And even if you are not physically attacked, you will definitely be verbally attacked by patients and their families, and often physicians. And don't forget the little old men who like to pinch butts or try to 'kiss the nursie".

Anyway, if nothing else, do yourself a favor-- go to the local courthouse and listen to the malpractice cases being heard. I guarantee it will scare the hell out of you. Just last fall there was a nurse in Wisconsin who was charged with a felony with possibility of jail time for a medication mistake. While you are young, while you are still in school, and still have time to make a change, do it. I would love to be able to recommend the nursing profession as you are right, the world does need nurses, but I cannot do it because what that nurse in intake was saying is TRUE.

If you still want to be a nurse, more power to you, but please really think about what you are doing. There are other, equally wonderful ways to make a difference in medicine. Nuclear medicine, radiology-(especially CT or MRI!) , sonography, pharmacy, are great ways to contribute to the field. But please don't buy into the imagery of what the hospital industry would want you to believe nursing is, because it is all a marketing lie. Even when you are in school- even in your last practicum- you are still so INSULATED from the realities and the level of unrealistic expectations that you will not be able to see how things really are until that graduation ceremony is a well worn memory and the celebration of passing your boards is, too. You will not see it because it is intended that way. If it was shown to people training for the profession beforehand, no one would do the job, and hey, the world needs nurses. How many nurses do you see running BACK to the bedside? Not many, I bet.

The funny thing is, I used to think the way you do about nursing.

One last thought in closing: Do the math. Literally.

Median wage of a nurse= in Florida about $24. New grads of course, start MUUUUUCH lower. MAybe $18. But start with the median.

$24 divided by the number of patients assigned to you as a full assignment (conservatively 7 on med surg) remember, you are responsible for these peoples' LIVES.
Grand total? $3.42

Yep, the hospitals are paying you $3.42 per patient per hour for all those nursing skills you are studying so diligently to acquire. A babysitter gets more than that. And the approximate base charge to the patient for a day's stay in hospital bed, not counting meds, treatment, etc= $1500/day. What's wrong with this picture???

Just a thought.

Good luck to you in however you choose. But choose wisely, as said in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.


Why this person chose to pick me out of all the 4353543 different student nurse blogs, I don't know. All I do know is that I really do not care, so please do not email me again. Also, I find it quite disturbing to think this person took such the time to write out this letter. Honestly, I didn't even have time to read all of it when I posted it. What are people thinking writing something like this to me??

OH OK, I THINK I WILL CHANGE MY ENTIRE CAREER NOW BASED ON WHAT YOU SAID!! Yeah, Mom, I decided to quit nursing school because KELLY sent me an email telling me how shitty my life is going to be? You know, I should just jump off a bridge now because my life is obviously going to suck a lot. What? Who is Kelly? Yeah, no idea.
C'mon people, seriously.
Also, I am only semester 2 and we're only supposed to have 2 patients, so when I took 3, I was pretty damn proud of myself, so please do not take that away from me, whoever the hell you are. And why do people always comment on the entry about the guy attacking my friend? And yes, I realize psych patients are everywhere, they have reiterated this point to us over and over and over and over to the point if I hear it one more time, I just might vomit.

Now, it is 7am and I need to go dry my hair because I have class at 8 am and an exam at 12pm. I hope I pass so I can make
$3.42 an hour!!! wow, what a dream.


ChiaLing81 said...

I feel for Kelly - sounds like she's burnt out. Honestly, nursing is not for everyone. I hope she's found something more rewarding to do.

And taking 3 patients IS a big accomplishment!

Proud of you out here in L.A. =)

Sarah said...

There will always be nay sayers. Maybe Kelly doesn't have what it takes.

Be proud of yourself and keep up the good work!

Julie said...

I wonder why Kelly picked on you? Those of us who are long time nurses could all find plenty of negatives to help bring students down out of their idealistic world, but it is wrong to do so. Nursing, like anything is what you make it. It is a wonderful profession, frustrating, tiring of course it is, but it is also extremely fulfilling. Don't listen to her Nicole, I have a feeling you will never in your worst nightmares turn into a Kelly!

Labor Nurse said...

I agree... Kelly is clearly burnt out and bitter about her experiences. Which, BTW, are not univeral to nursing.

There are places like Kelly describes. But given the nursing shortage, a new grad can basically pick and choose their first position in the field. You'll be able to find the right place, which would not be where she worked.

The other issue is that we need nurses; when nurses in the field start feeling and acting like Kelly it does nothing to help solve the problems that she is facing. It makes them worse. We need nurses who will stand up to situations like that and change it. We need nurses to be advocates for themselves, not nurses that will drag the profession down.

Good for you, Nicole, for not allowing her comments to skew your feelings about your chosen profession. More power to you, and I am highly impressed with your ability to take 3 patients in your second semester.

Zain B. said...

Don't worry about what others tell you - if it's in your heart to be a nurse, then stick to it darl! And if in the future you decide, God forbid, that nursing is not for you, then be proud of the fact that it was through your own trials and experiences that you made this discovery; not through avoiding someone else's mistakes.

If every younger person who is just starting their life took onboard every bit of so-called 'advice' given by someone who has had more experience, then they may as well just stay at home and not have experiences of their own. Every profession has its ups and downs - these are all relative and depend on who you are. Ok, so what if you're getting $3/hour or whatever for each patient? When Kelly puts it that way, you could argue that a classroom teacher of 30 students only gets about 85cents/hour per student.

Kelly is obviously unhappy with some choices that she has made in life; but she should realise that you deserve a chance to decide to have your own experiences and make your own mistakes.


TwinMamaLinda said...

Hi Nicole. I am graduating May 19th and will take the boards to get my RN. I graduated with my LPN last year and have been working on a med-surg unit - I have had funny, quirky and sometimes downright strange experiences at work. I have had the administrators not really "get" a problem ... but I have NEVER had any cause to be as bitter and burnt as Kelly.

Now, I know you are saying, but it was only a year ... but I have had horrible nights where I left crying, I have refused assignments that were unsafe, and I have gotten exhausted to the point of being downright slow to move. The real part I want you to know is that there was never (ever) a night I doubted my desire to be a nurse. Period.

I agree with the other nurses here - Kelly needs help. With so many other options available - why does she stay in the situation she is in?

You did a great job taking 3 patients in second semester! Take pride in your accomplishments and let unsolicited advice slide away. (It will be practice for mother-in-laws down the road!)

Keep up the good work! Trust yourself and take good care!


Max said...

Yep, I think "Kelly" has proved her point, not all the mad people are in Psych wards...Some it appears are emailing student nurses!


5west said...


don't listen to what other people say. follow your passion and pursue your dream. i've been a nurse since 1995 and some days are tougher than others that's life. keep your head up, we need more people like you in the nursing.

S. Williams said...

Nicole: Nursing unlike some other professions is a calling. In your heart there is a desire to become a nurse. It is stressful. But, working in a retail store can be stressful. Making a difference in peoples lives is admirable and rewarding. Some people see the money hospitals are offering and the bonus and all of a sudden "they are going to nursing school". It does not work that way. You do not all of a sudden want to become a nurse. Follow your heart....and you will find your dream. Good Luck in school....Just remember nurses are educated everyday....listen to other nurses that have been working for a while. It is amazing how much you will learn. Nursing school is only the begining. Your true learning experiences, will come from your patients. S. Williams/ Florida

Cathy said...

Don't let this crazy unhappy woman discourage you! There is of course a grain of truth in all her complaints but there is so much more that is WONDERFUL! I have been a nurse for 23 years and I currently work in our local ER...everyday a new patient and my co-workers are the best..we practice TEAM nursing so there is always someone to bounce problems/concerns off of. You go girl and you get out there and make a difference. I KNOW you will!