Turn The Pressure Up!

As nurses, we have to deal with an awful lot of pressure in hospital settings on a daily basis.  Nursing is not for the weak of heart, but for the individual who has a certain resilient character about them to bounce back and do what you have to do to keep your head above water, help keep a patient alive, and get them well enough to get the hell out disease-care settings.

Nurses who cannot take the complex pressure of working in modern day healthcare usually spend a couple or a few years there (if they do) and run out the door as quickly as they came in.  Many of the strong survive (or maybe they feel they have no where else to go) albeit sometimes walking sideways or limping,  hardly breathing, popping a list of medicines to control chronic disease, and the likes.

Healthcare is suffering from many challenges and the buck seems to stop directly in the lap of nurses.  Since nurses are the largest body of healthcare professionals at these institutions on a whole, they spend more time with the clients.  This offers nurses the unique luxury of having to bear heavy steam from the institution, administrators, monitoring agencies outside of the institutions, patients, doctors, let’s not forget the dear client’s family members, and the media.

The pressure of working hard and giving your best often under unsatisfactory-under-staffed condition makes a good nurse on a rough day sometimes wear a twisted smile.  You know how important that patient Nurse Satisfactory Survey is, right?  So drop whatever you are doing and quickly answer that call light–in a timely manner (this usually means immediately).  Even if  your are running around trying to save another pt life in another room.

Nurses are pressured to get all documentation done as you finish doing a procedure which often isn’t possible because the patient next door needs you, the doctor, pharmacist, or lab is on the phone, or you are needed by a family member inquiring about their loved one.  One could even be interrupted and called to the phone by an all-seeing eye lurking in a remote part of the country pressuring you to chart those wrist restraint you didn’t have time to chart the past hour.  Oh, and don’t forget JCHO, OSHA, and The State could be watching you too.

Time is of essence and oftentimes very fleeting in a 8 or 12 hours shift.  At the beginning of a shift, a nurse decides the priority of the day, and manage these first.  Sometimes what’s more important will have to wait as quick second because the little cute ole lady next door may call you, “Honey, come hold my hands,” for a bit of re-assurance.  These usually are the moments that help a good nurse pause from all the pressure, breathe, and for a decent second remember to remember our humanness.

Their is also the pressure of running to a code on time, giving medications on time, calling the doctor with a critical lab or event report on time, doing acuities on time, changing a dressing on time, running to the IV pump on time, getting an EKG on time, clocking out on time, etc, etc, etc.  There is sometimes so little time even in a 12.5 hour shift to do so much.

It’s no wonder there is a high burnout rate in the profession.  But those of us who survived and are still surviving working in a not-so glorious but very rewarding profession, it’s time we turn the pressure up a bit more and try to re-invent this joint industry through promoting health.

Maybe we can put a DENT in the system and  in a population that is getting sicker and sicker (keeping us running the hospital floors like we’ve lost our minds), including ourselves.  We can do this by teaching healthy habits classes and helping a potential client become more responsible in making better choices when it comes to health.  Let’s get our own health into good shape and start offering our communities healthier choices.  A little community activism can go a long way.

One of the major complaints we make among each other is that we wish we had more time to teach and share the bit of knowledge we have about health, and how to help prevent hospital re-admission, with our clients.  Nurses are oftentimes busy running in the units and wards trying to beat time restraints placed on them by the institution which sometimes leaves little time to teach prevention to a client exiting the door to go home.

C'mon! Let's put a little dent in the system.

Many folks get re-admitted into the hospital because of lack of knowledge of living a healthy lifestyle and not thoroughly understanding their medications and their diagnosis.  This is one of healthcare’s major challenges.  People are oftentimes rushed in and rushed out of these settings.  The pressure stays on the good nurse because she is usually the last face the client sees, and in the few minutes she/he tries to discharge a client, she may have others calling her, an admission trying to come up to the unit, or one of  the madness I earlier described.  Yes!  Pressure, pressure, pressure!

OYE!  If you can make time for an hour out of the weak to invite your neighbor and some friends over to share snippets of information on how to stay healthy, you will feel very rewarded.  There is so much  that people do not know when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.  If you don’t have a clue either, well, take that one hour a week for a few months to learn more and get yourself engaged in healthy activities (let’s run this world) and making healthy choices.  Share the information you’ve learned in your community, at your church, with your running group, in your family and home.  This is a good ground to tackle the mess healthcare face.  If you have other suggestions, please drop us a note or a comment.