Friday, March 02, 2007

Just Me Venting

I think I am suffering from a major case of burnout. It happens a lot to people working in the medical field. I guess it was only a matter of time it happened to me.

I have started looking for a different job. One that still utilizes my license, but allows me to distance myself from working in a primary caregiver position. I feel like I have been sucked nearly dry of empathy, which makes caring for people a hypocrisy if you haven't got the love there to give. I got into nursing years ago because of what I took to be Divine guidance. That voice, that urged me to switch careers (I was a computer systems analyst) from fixing computers to fixing people, has grown silent and no longer provides me with the motivation to put aside the daily aches and pains of both the physical and mental requirements of the job. These personal burdens have been building up over time.

The only thing I hear now is "you've done enough". As jaded as I feel, I can't be sure that what I am hearing isn't just me projecting my thoughts. I no longer feel like my personal coach is there rooting me on. Instead I feel like the athlete who is being retired before he personally was ready for it. Like the athlete I've got a bad wrist now from lifting that aches all the time; I've got a bad knee that makes getting up off the floor embarrassing at times; my back aches after 12 hours sometimes so bad that sleep is nearly impossible. Like the athlete it really gripes me to admit my body is falling apart on me for the love of the job.

It doesn't make it any easier to try to hold on and ride out what could be just a storm when my work environment has gone to hell in a handbag either. Management in all their wisdom made the decision to expand our unit by placing an additional 20 beds on the floor below us. With that comes the worry that "something will happen" and the staffing by numbers will create a disastrous situation in an emergency. With the expansion also comes a staffing shortage which means that those left on the main floor have seen an increase in workload. Not to mention that finding aides willing to actually work is nearly impossible and we find ourselves more often than not being required to do total care on 4 to 6 very ill bed bound patients basically by ourselves for 12 hours at a time.

Our unit handles the sickest of the sick. We have all the super bugs including the flesh eating ones. We have cardiac and renal failure patients, patients paralyzed and suffering from bedsores that require surgery to fix, and diabetic patients with limbs rotting away to illustrate just a bit of what my fellow nurses and I deal with daily. I don't think I am alone when it comes to feeling burned out. We have had in the past a fairly high number of nurses call in sick at any given time. That is another major gripe of management. Although we accrue days off and sick leave new policies have been made to force us to work whether we physically or mentally are up to the job. So much for quality nursing care. As one nurse said, "We can either laugh or cry". She wasn't smiling when she said it either. You get the picture.

I just hope I can hang on long enough to actually line up another job before I walk away from this one. The only thing holding me back at this point is my personal responsibilities to my family to provide for them. The supervisor that directly manages the staff has of late found that his efforts to supervise are being micro-managed. He is well liked by the staff and was seen by a everyone as a godsend when he came to us, but he is becoming more of a puppet jerked on a string daily and we know that. If he leaves that will probably be the last for me. Without him as a buffer (and trust me he has been a buffer) from direct management I know in my heart that for me it'll be the final straw. Because of the leadership we have now, which is in your face and at times unbelievably unrealistic, tempers are flaring all around. So much for a great working environment.

Words of advise anyone? If not, prayers would be greatly appreciated for us all. With that said, thank you for allowing me to vent.

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posted by Is It Just Me? at 11:59 AM