Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I woke up at 2 am, the usual time that I seem to start sweating and throw the covers off. But this morning I could not get back to sleep. My mind was cranking along with the gut-ripping dread of going back to work today.
I kept going over in my mind the thoughts from my talk yesterday with a former coworker who is also getting out of nursing, and watching the tears spill down her cheeks as she described how hurt she was by her coworkers in her current job who backstabbed her, lazy nurses who would sit at the desk and gossip, complaining about my friend taking too much time with her patients.
I am sad that it's not about giving good patient care. It's about who talks to whom and what they say and who believes it. It's about how a gang of people can bully their way into someone's life, health, and total existence and damage or ruin their livelihood. My friend is an excellent nurse, far better than the other nurses she worked with. That's what happens if you stand out, if you're praised by the patients, if you insist on being thorough and conscientious.
By 4:30 am I wasn't sleeping and I decided to get up and run. I have to be at work at 8:00. I made coffee and got my butt out the door by 5:15 and ran for an hour in the dark streets. As I was running through one neighborhood, I was in an absolute fury, venting out loud to no one in the dark. It occurred to me that if someone heard me they'd probably call the police and think I was off my meds...
I've had half a dozen conversations with other nurses in the past week since I got back from Arizona and keep hearing similar things, about the things that have been done to them, about the things that were the final straw before they quit, and the things people said about them: calling them lazy because they can't get their call lights (because they were taking time in a room with another patient) and other people have to answer them, can't multitask, spends too much time in the patient rooms.
Yesterday as I listened to my friend talk about the suffering she witnessed in the patients and their families, and how she felt at a recent patient memorial, and why she does the things she does in her nursing practice because she truly cares about those patients, it makes me wonder, is there any humanity left out there?
How do people live with themselves? How did we get to this point where we care so little about people?
I'm absolutely dreading the day, and I know I'll be wiped out by the end of it, but here goes...the first of my last 5 shifts as a nurse in the corporate world, I hope with all my heart...