I’ve not really ventured into a blog post like this before, it’s quite personal to me but it is something I’m really passionate about. I hear nurses getting bashed left, right and centre and I know there are some absolute horror stories out there HOWEVER, majority of nurses are pretty hardcore. I’ve wrote and deleted this hundreds of times in fear of being too negative, I’ve tried to be as positive as I can be but this is real life and I wanted to share our side of the story.
I first started my nursing training back in 2011, I was 17 and a half, boy did I NOT know what I was letting myself in for. I qualified in 2013 and started my first real life nursing job in January 2014, where the realisation finally hit. Which brings me to now, three and a half-ish years qualified as a nurse after three years of training and I want to quit my career altogether already. Why?
1) Zero appreciation
We don’t do it for the thank you’s, honestly we don’t. Well I definitely don’t. But it’s so difficult to have motivation to continue working hard on what feels like an impossible amount of tasks when rather than being thanked for the hard work we’re already doing, we’re being complained at for the very few things that aren’t being done that are totally out of our control. I understand the frustration, I really do. But, the NHS is so short staffed that it’s SO difficult for us. I wish people could understand that too.
For those of you that have good things to say about nurses and appreciate the hard work that goes in to our job, you da bomb! No but seriously, people like you are SO appreciated.
Wow, the pressure. I’m 23, and the amount of responsibility I hold in my hands on each shift is actually quite scary. If I’ve not had enough sleep and if I’m slightly tired or if I’m starving cause I’ve not managed to get a break yet or if my tummy hurts because I’m dying to pee but haven’t quite had the chance to break off from my impossible amount of tasks I need to complete, I’m on absolute edge that even those smallest of things will distract me and I’ll miss something or I’ll forget to do something. I finish my shift terrified that I’ve missed something and wondering what would happen. Realistically, the next nurse would just pick it up for me (that’s the good thing about 24hour nursing) but then I feel guilt ridden because I know how busy they will be and I’ve just added to their impossible list. Do you catch my drift? The pressure is probably the hardest aspect of the job.
However, in the long run when you’ve saved someone’s life all of that pressure can be well and truly worth it. Swings and roundabouts and all that jazz.
3) Family life
Now, I’m quite lucky to be in a job that’s flexible and I can kind of work around my family especially now that I’m only working part time. But, previously it has been hard. Sometimes I would have gone nearly a week without spending any time with my family and to some that might be heaven but to me, family is SO important and no job is worth taking that time away from me. There’s no clock in, clock out time in nursing. If you get to shift early you get up and help because you know it’s dang busy and a lot of the time you finish late, sometimes an hour or two because again, it’s just sooo dang busy. And if you have a family member waiting to pick you up, well I guess they just have to wait. It’s hard.
However, having an understanding family and appreciative of what you do is a HUGE help. If you’re a family member of a nurse, health care assistant, doctor, domestic or whoever in the NHS and you appreciate them, you are also the bees knees my friend!
4) Cruddy hours
Nurses do a mixture of long days, early mornings, late nights, night shifts, weekends, bank holidays, on call. There’s no choice, you do what you get given. We work Christmas, new year, Easter, all the holidays. That’s what 24/7 is folks. I currently work 12 hour shifts and it’s long and hard and tiring, coming home to have a family to look after too is real hard work. I’m drained by the time I get home and have to muster up the energy to have some life left for my family.
I’m trying to find some positivity in this point but struggling (oops). I guess we knew the hours when we signed up to the job so should take that on the chin.
5) It’s changing
Change, everybody haaates change. When I first got into nursing I LOVED it! I felt like it was my calling in life, offering help to people that needed it the most. It gave me a buzz and on a good day now, it still does. But, as always change comes along. There’s MORE paper work, MORE checklists, MORE tasks, MORE patients to look after but most importantly there’s LESS staff. It’s hard.
Those are a lot of negatives I know, there are still some positives to nursing too I guess. To reiterate what I previously said, on good days I still love it but those days are becoming more and more far apart.
So, the next time you’re going to complain about a twenty minute wait (I know that it can be a LOT longer than that) for your appointment just think about the people that are running around trying to get to you as fast they can, trying to do their job as best they can and at the end of the day we’re only human. We don’t want to have to keep you waiting either. We want to get the job done as much as you do.
Try and offer a thank you to those that have helped you, believe me it may be the first they’ve heard in weeks AND it’ll make their day! I appreciate the frustrations of the NHS, I really do. But try and appreciate the frustration of the staff behind the scenes too. We’re all in this together after all. If we all try and be a bit more positive about the craziness of the NHS right now it’ll make everyone’s life sooo much easier.
Ultimately, all health care professionals are in this profession because they do just that, CARE. We care for our patients, we care for strangers, we care for the NHS. We care for YOU.
I hope this has helped give you a little behind the scenes to understand our side a little better. Who knows, maybe I’ll find my calling in nursing again and be writing a new blog post in a while telling you all about how great it is… here’s to hoping!