Care for the Caregivers

 

When it comes to writing down our own truths we’d rather put a needle in our eye. At least that’s what I’ve seen when nurses spend their day collecting, recording, gathering, or charting data but, can’t be bothered filling out a report that accounts for our own needs. 

We’re great at helping others figure out where it hurts but when it comes to our own pain we shy away from telling our own truths about what’s wrong with our profession. Over and over when I ask nurses to report missed meals, bullying, or safety issues, they say: “But nothing ever changes,” or “That’s the way it’s always been.”

Yet as scientists, we know that everything is in a constant flux of change. Transformation takes time and effort. It needs guided action or change tends to lean towards disorder.

It’s a matter of whether you want to be accountable for creating the change you’d like to see or if you’d prefer to float aimlessly down the river allowing change to take you where it will. Everything that happens is the result of past, present, and future choices, and believe it or not choosing to do nothing is still a choice.

Some things seem to take forever. It took ten years to get staffing ratios instituted in California and that was after the law was passed! Like watching grass grow, the process of change can be incredibly tedious. Today we reap the benefits, as nurses flock to California from all over the country because they want what we have: mandated rules that demand safety for our patients.

I know it’s hard after a long day of pumps beeping, call lights buzzing and multiple admissions to write down the issues that challenged your ability to give safe patient care; but, if you don’t document, it didn’t happen. Patient safety depends on Nightingale’s proven worth of data collection. Otherwise nothing changes if nothing changes and hospitals will continue with the status quo unless we as nurses direct our practice to take care of ourselves as well as our patients.

How much trouble is it is it to give voice to what’s bothering you?  Your truth is the most valuable tool you have to affect and maintain positive changes. Whether you have an issue with unsafe assignments, missed meal breaks, or bullying: please tell me your story or ask a question that concerns your clinical practice.

One truth in nursing I’m happy still remains the same, is that nurses want to be proud of the care we give our patients. We want to ease the suffering of hurt and heed the call of a higher law. Together we can make a difference.

The Nurses Nurse

  2 comments for “Care for the Caregivers

  1. March 2, 2012 at 3:40 am

    Thanks Rita! I can remember when my coworkers would clock out then go back and finish their charting. INSANE! Meantime management is clueless about the true work conditions and how at risk our patients and ourselves truly were. Finally we united, clocked out when we were DONE with documenting and spoke to management. It made such a difference when the nurses worked together and got over their fear to expose the truth. I hope the Ventura County nurses will support each other, get over the fear of retaliation and speak up when work conditions are inadequate. The opposite of fear is LOVE! Take care:0)

    Like

    • March 6, 2012 at 4:01 am

      So many nurses think that giving until it hurts is the way to go. Unfortunately, we have created a monster that doesn’t value our profession.

      Like

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