Friday, July 1, 2011

Why it's called a Practice

We all have been to a doctor at some point in our lives. From our first day on earth to our last, it is a doctor who stands up for us. When I chose to become a nurse, it was because I knew to become a doctor I would have to leave a large part of my empathy outside the patient door. I doubted I would be able to do that day in and out and chose to do the 'lesser' job of nursing instead.

I knew that most doctors look down on nurses, even though it is the nurse that either carries out or is responsible for the doctor's orders.

I never regretted my choice and I still miss my work as a nurse to this day. Ironically one of the things I miss most is the work I did helping the doctors directly.

Could I have been a doctor? Without a doubt. But I'm proud to have been a nurse and would go back tomorrow if I could. What scares me the most about my former profession is the lack of quality nurses there are left in the workforce.

I hear horror stories of good nurses being railroaded, new nurses getting discouraged right out of the gate and seasoned nurses quitting due to stress. I think these are more horrific than the ones I hear of so called bad nurses because without the majority of nurses being the caring empathic souls they have always been, the field is heading for disaster.

The malpractice industry is booming and doctors and nurses are struggling to hold on to their jobs. I used to think that the main problem was colleagues that were in the medical field for money or glory. But honestly I don't see why anyone would stay in the medical field for such nonexistent means. They would be better suited for claims lawyers or some such leech on the medical community.

Not that I hate lawyers. Far from it. Just as I do not dislike doctors, or excuse all nurses. I'm just saying that the real problem as I see it is overworked and underwhelmed professionals in the medical field as a whole. I think that this all started with idealistic nursing students that thought they would float along the halls being graceful and gracious and some gorgeous Doctor would take notice and save them from their 9-5.

There are several things wrong with that way of thinking. First, nurses never float, they run. They run full out all day in shoes that are made to absorb shock and prevent falls, not be fashionable. Second, most are short tempered and shorter vocalized than anyone else on the planet due to the demands of getting your needs communicated fast and efficiently. Third, almost all med students are working on fumes, getting no sleep and learning to abuse the system they are sworn to protect just to make it in. Those that are well slept and not abusing meds (legal or not) are already in committed relationships. And lastly, I have never met a nurse with a nine to five schedule. In fact I spent almost all of my time with nurses, including holidays while working alongside them for several straight shifts.

The moral? The problem with our medical teams is simply the same problem with every other system in America. They are completely an exhausted resource that is running on empty, no longer disillusioned with their efforts and quickly loosing humanity.

Of course, this IS an opinion blog, so that is just my opinion. I have been taught to never bring up a fault without a solution and therefore I would be remiss to leave out that most important opinion. The positive one.

To afford a change in the medical field or any that is suffering it's effects, You must first understand that even the 'man' at the top is only human. The administrators need to be made to 'see' the reality and start putting forth real concerted efforts to increase satisfaction in the workforce. We all need to be more understanding of one another and do a little more than our share, but not allow ourselves to become burned out at both ends.

We also could do with remembering that it's called a 'Practice' for a reason. We should always be growing, adapting and accepting of those around us. To all those brittle soldiers still out there plugging along in the medical field without a care or thought for your fellow man, please try to get back to your humanity and see your patients with patience and new eyes again!
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