I was recently discussing nursing with my grandmother. She too was a nurse "way back in the day" and she has a lot of stories to tell. Many of the stories she tells I have heard many times before. So I painfully smile and think "Gawd, not again Grandma." But some of her tales are much more interesting to me now that I'm a nurse.
She talks about the days when the nurses actually counted drips, and they had crazy duties like mopping the floor and emptying real pans that were used in patient's beds. But she certainly peaks my attention when she talks about how concerned she is about the future of healthcare. I hate to say it, but I often worry about this myself.
Don't get me wrong I love my patients, and I love being a nurse. But I don't like the fact that it appears to be more important for hospitals to have an extra chair, or fluffier pillows in a patient's room than an extra piece of equipment or a medical device we may need. I think somehow our wires have been crossed, and we have forgotten why patients come to the hospital.
A hospital is not supposed to be a fun, comfortable place. It's a place to get well and head back to your comfortable home. Patients are increasing the number of visitors they invite to their rooms, and nurses are expected to treat everyone like they're at the Hilton. It's becoming a bit ridiculous. I didn't spend years in school to be someone's waitress. I want to help people get well. I want to help them recover so they can leave and move on with their lives.
But instead of caring for patients I feel like all I do is fetch coffee and answer call bells for popsicles requests for the whole family. Not my idea of what a nurse should be doing. Now, I know you may be thinking that I should get used to doing menial tasks if I am a nurse and I honestly don't have a problem with that. But Running around getting ice cream for visitors is not my idea of nursing...Sorry, it's not!
Combine this with the fact that the rest of your time is spent doing paperwork, and I am seriously considering why I became a nurse. The enormous amount of paperwork that is required is absurd. Most of it isn't for the benefit of the patient. Instead, it's so the hospital can cover their butt and not get sued. It's quite nauseating.
Recently I went to a local supermarket and found that there was a pharmacist administering flu shots and other medications. they were also offering blood pressure and temperature checks. Since when was a pharmacist licensed to give patients injections and carry out medical assessments? Now many of the hospitals in the US are requiring nurses to have a bachelor's degree, because an associates degree is no longer enough. Yet, we keep losing our skills to non-nurses and we are expected to be okay with all this.
If only we could go back to the way things were when my Grandmother was a nurse. Granted, I know we have made huge medical advances since them, but the idea of a nurse has changed. The very core of what a nurse is has changed, slowly over the years, and I'm not sure I like it. Maybe I'm in love with the fairy tale of being a nurse. But all I know is that I would like to be the kind of nurse that has time to care for her patients. Is that too much to ask? Is this the future of nursing?
If you have a comment about this article you can add it below. I would like to hear from some of the older, more seasoned nurses. What do you think is going on here?