Alright. This may be the winter months getting to me, but this job is starting to wear down on me a little bit. I got into ER because I like to be busy- I want a steady stream of work all the time. I still partly love this job for that, not to mention the fact that I'm learning and becoming confident with critical patients pretty fast- but this seems to have gone to an extreme in the last few months. I need a break. Not even from work necessarily, but in my day. The last time I worked was on Sunday- 12 hour shift. I got to go pee once. I never got to eat- I drank coke at the nurses station and one of my teammates was nice enough to bring me a piece of cheese. Part of this is certainly my own fault- I run myself into the ground getting little things for patients instead of taking care of myself because I want them to be happy; I spend my free moments helping my teammates when I know they need it because I would want the same, and most of them would help me, too. I take responsibility for this part. But that's not all of it.
We need reinforcements, bad. We have a 45 bed ER- only 23 of those are really set up for true ER patients, the other areas or for non-emergency clinic patients, and half of those beds are usually closed because of staffing. We're lucky if we have enough for a skeleton crew- lately with call-ins we've had to close rooms in the critical areas. Essentially, upper management is killing us. We can't keep new staff because of the work conditions, and they won't spend the money on agency nurses. They replaced our fast doctors who got complaints but actually moved people with baby docs fresh out of med school. This results in patients spending around 9 hours in the waiting room on average lately- sometimes more- yet the justification for not giving us the resources we need is that we're not meeting our patient satisfaction goals. You don't say? Well, I wouldn't be satisfied if I waited 9 damn hours either. It wouldn't matter if I rubbed these patient's feet and cooked them a 5 course meal- if they spent half their day in the waiting room, they're gonna be pissed.
I know part of this is due to it being winter, and it should get better soon. But these conditions are insane. I don't know whether this is just the nature of ER, or whether it's just my ER, but I'm getting pretty sick of walking into a disaster area every day. My contract is up soon and I'm gonna start probably looking for a new job in the next year if things don't get better. I'll miss lots of things about this job- but not as much as I'd miss my mental and physical health or my nursing license if things continue they way they're going.