No days off

Have you ever encountered this particular situation,

Them: “Hey, when are you off again?

You: “Well I am off tomorrow but I…”

Them: “Oh good because I need you to…”

Or my other personal favorite,

Them:How are you doing?”

You: “Whew, I am worn out! It’s been a long week!”

Them: “How are you always tired, you only work three days a week!!!” 

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?!

Let’s start with the fact that nurses work with people every day we are at work. PEOPLE. Like, human beings… HAVE YOU SEEN OUR SPECIES??? We deal with emotional outbursts, insults, violence, unrealistic expectations, death, etc. ON A DAILY BASIS! It’s not just 3 days, or 4 days, or 5 days, or whatever schedule that we work. It’s the emotional baggage we deal with on days off. It’s wondering if you could have saved that patient if you had done one thing differently. It’s trying to figure out why this one nurse hates you. It’s sitting at home thinking about the child abuse victim that you know will be given back to their parents. It’s thinking about the insults the doctor hurled at you because you weren’t moving fast enough. It’s class assignments due at midnight. It’s the kids having soccer, baseball, and basketball practice the couple of days you have off. It’s 3 weeks of laundry that still needs to be done. It’s a house that desperately needs cleaning because you haven’t had time. It’s never having an inkling of downtime.

It’s constantly feeling like you are walking on a razor-thin edge between success and insanity.

It’s stressful.

The last thing we need is to be made to feel guilty because we are too tired to hang out or because we don’t have time to be someone’s personal errand-runner.

Your days off belong to you. Every single one of them. You deserve to power down. You deserve to do NOTHING if that is what you want to do. You aren’t being “lazy”. You are trying to maintain your sanity. You are not wrong for turning down a night out on the town. You are not wrong for telling someone “no” when they start to come up with your schedule for your day(s) off for you. You are not wrong for shutting out the world temporarily if you need to. You take care of so many people, you deserve to take care of yourself. Nurse yourself back to health. Take your days off and do whatever the hell you want with them.

A nurse that doesn’t take care of themselves can’t effectively take care of others.

 

 

Broken hearted

I see the stories of school shooting after school shooting and I am so broken hearted. My heart hurts for the students that lose their lives. I hurt for the teachers that lose their lives. I hurt for all of the families and friends left to try and make sense of the violence.

I also hurt for the medical personnel that have to see the victims. The medics and EMT’s that are some of the first on scene. I hurt for the ER docs and nurses that do everything they can but still aren’t able to save all their patients. I hurt for the ICU, step down, and floor nurses that care for the ones that do survive.

You all were a part of the school shooting too. Yet, you have to put away your thoughts and feelings, your hurt and pain because there are other patients to take care of.

I thank you for your strength. I thank you for being able to endure through Hell. I thank you for going through it and still coming back to work the next day.

You are amazing.

I just wish you didn’t have to be.

Your safety matters

It's happening more and more. Medical professionals are being hurt, attacked, even killed while providing care. We go wherever medicine takes us. Caring for others is a part of who we are.

Let's learn to care about ourselves and our safety more. You are not obligated to go into any situation that you feel is unsafe for you. You do not have to deal with the aggressive visitor that has threatened you more than once. You do not have to deal with sexual harassment from your patient. You are not at work to be subjected to physical abuse from your patients. Your safety concerns are valid. You have every right to demand a safe work environment.

If you need to utilize security then do so. If the nursing staff has to be changed because the patient only harasses a particular nurse, then make that change happen. Report threats and take threats that are reported seriously.

Furthermore, be aware of your surroundings. Know where you are in your room in relation to the door. If the situation calls for it, take a second nurse in with you as your "back up". In some hospitals, security can be used to sit with the patient, if the patient is deemed a danger to the staff (the hospital I am at currently does this).

You are important. Know that your safety is important too.