Beyond The Bedside

Nontraditional Nursing Resources for the Empowered Nurse

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Nursing Outside the Box… or Floor

Posted by beyondthebedside on July 7, 2008

Let your ideas take flight.

Let your ideas take flight.

I don’t know about you, but as a nurse, I’m tired.

I’m tired of having to “make do” with the way things are in nursing. I’m tired of having unreasonable workloads, new computer systems that are full of redundancies and constant short staffing foisted upon us by administrators who have not donned a staff uniform in years, let alone had to take a full patient load. I’m tired of decisions that directly affect me being made be people who don’t understand or don’t care how it will impact those of us who have to live with these decisions.

I’m tired of never having enough time to complete the  work assigned, and worrying that something crucial will be missed because of being so busy. Tired of the verbal and sometimes physical abuse from patients, administrators, and doctors.

Hospital Culture

Have you noticed that the entire hospital structure is geared against the nurse? If you need a medication, you have to wait until it is convenient for the pharmacy to bring it to the floor or profile it into the Pyxis computer system, or you have to wait until it is convenient for the x-ray team to come (or you have to send someone from your floor to get it done, even though your staffing is already woefully thin).  Or for the convenience of the lab, the business office, ad nauseum.

Meanwhile, a thousand things need to be done.  With eight, nine, ten patients or more there is always someone or something pulling at you from all directions.  Just when you start to get caught up, a crisis happens- someone’s blood sugar or blood pressure drops, an elderly person on high falls risk starts to wander out of bed or God forbid, someone codes.  If you ask the other departments to expedite something, they treat you as if you are unimportant even though you are the one there trying to do something to help the patient. Of course, if anything happens you are held responsible, accountable.  You should have done this or that. You should have caught this, or known that. How could you not have divided yourself up to be everywhere and everything?  You should have done more. You’re a bad nurse. It’s your fault.

What is wrong with this picture?

Don’t get me wrong.  Accountability is good, it keeps us doing the right thing.  As professionals, we should be responsible for the decisions and actions we take as part of our scope of practice.

But let’s be reasonable about things.  If we are to be held responsible, then so should administrators who cut costs and threaten patient lives by cutting staff.  By not replacing staff when they quit from sheer exhaustion or are fired because of not being able to keep up with the unrealistic expectations. By cutting supplies.  Or increasing documentation requirements even while increasing caseload.

Nurses are human beings and deserve to be treated as such.  Our patients deserve better than a harried nurse who is only able to spare a few moments of time before needing to rush to complete the next task.

Modern Thinking For Intelligent Nursing

Modern nurses need modern ways of doing things. Gone and buried are the days of blindly following doctors’ orders and leaving our brains to sit at home. We use advanced technological skills and knowledge to assist patients that come to us sicker and in more dire need. We are the ones who are there for the patient when the doctor leaves to make rounds on other floors or other hospitals.

We make critical decisions on a daily or even minute-to-minute basis; decisions that can profoundly alter the course of pur patients’ lives.  Our decisions can literally make the difference between life and death for those under our care.

So why do we continue to accept the status quo?  It is not just our working conditions that are at stake. It is the lives of the people we care for.

Why do we continue to take it?

Don’t.

Turn That Nursing Cap Into a Thinking Cap

Educate yourself. There are other options out there, options that don’t mean you have to leave nursing behind.  As intelligent nurses, we can create new paths and learn to do things in a different way.

As nurses, we are natural born leaders.  We pave the way for a healthier community through our efforts to educate the public on ways to optimize their own health.  We are creative, passionate individuals who are clever enough to devise improvised solutions to clinical challenges, often because we have no other choice when supplies or equipment, or staff are in short supply.

Why not take this ingenuity to the next level?

Other nurses have taken this bold new step, forging ahead to start their own business, invent new products or to contribute in other fresh new ways.

The mission of Beyond the Bedside is to help fellow nurses stand up and say NO to the way things are run, to explore alternative solutions and nontraditional jobs. We want to find some sanity for the nursing profession.

You don’t have to be a slave to the system.

Let’s explore our options together.

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