Thursday, January 10, 2013

I Need an F-ing Vacation

Ugh.  I hate to say I'm burned out, but I might be burned out.  I'm at least on the crispy side.   New job is overall a better run operation in terms of moving patients and generally getting shit done.  In my opinion, ratios here are still insane and border on dangerous for a nurse with my experience level.  I feel some genuine fear for the new nurses here, especially with the hubris that some of them have, which is a whole other post.  Add to the mix that I seem to be a massive shit magnet ( I can't remember the last shift that one of my patients hasn't ended up in critical care-usually it's multiple) and I'm in staffing getting my ass handed to me every single day and I'm starting to ask myself what the hell I'm doing here.  
I mean.  I started in the ER because I wanted to push myself and I wanted to learn.  I've learned a lot, and I'm still learning, but I'm starting to wonder at what point subjecting myself to this amount of physical punishment no longer worth it.  I know flu season is going to be rough- I feel like I'm back at Hood Hospital what with my lack of lunch and pee breaks lately.  The frustrating thing is that if this place was staffed appropriately the burden wouldn't be nearly as heavy on everyone, but they've made it pretty clear they're done hiring for the time being.  The sure do keep filling up the beds regardless of the amount of nurses, though, hence the unsafe ratios.   
 I don't know.  I'm not actively looking and part of me wants to wait until I can actually get some trauma experience- I kinda want to muscle through the worst season and then reevaluate after that.  The other part of me says screw you guys, don't have to take this crap.  I don't have to work at an inner city hospital.   Making the switch has made me realize I can work just about anywhere.  I think I probably have figured out the people skills part of this job enough to go work at a fancy pants country club ER where my patient ratios are actually guaranteed and based on acuity if I want. I might end up being bored, but maybe I wouldn't be day dreaming about quitting nursing and becoming a bartender.  
I'm really torn.  I really love working in the area where I work, and I want to keep fighting the good fight.  But I can't keep getting my ass handed to me on a daily basis with no relief in sight.  I've done this once already, and it isn't worth it. 


  1. No, it isn't worth it, I agree with you on that. And the dangerous levels and ratios can be very upsetting as you are seeing every flipping day. I hope you are able to make the best decision for yourself. Know you are being thought of daily thru this flu season.

  2. Work at the posh ER and pick up shifts in the hood to remind you of why you like a laid back ER.

  3. That's one of my main reasons for going INTO nursing. The ability to move around and NOT be stuck in one place, or in one specialty, that's what makes nursing such a great career. I agree with anonymous, you could always go somewhere else & still pick up shifts in the hood if you so choose.

  4. Why do you keep ending up in staffing? Unreasonable expectations or something you really need to work on (no hits really)? Cause if it's unreasonable expectations then I vote you move on and volunteer when you need a reminder.

  5. Yeah, I feel the same way. I love the ER and I can't imagine working anywhere else, but it sucks the life out of me. When it comes down to it, I honestly don't know what else other than nursing I could do. Lately I've been thinking Cath Lab (just because- why not?).

    What other (real) options have you considered?

  6. Apply for a position in your hospitals OR. Most offer their own in-house training. You get to focus on one patient at a time and you will get plenty of trauma experience. I love the OR!

    1. This, or maybe take a switch to the ICU for a while? (Commenting as reply here since I can't see the damn main comment box. :-( )

  7. I've been reading this blog for almost two years and it's just great. I worked as a nursing assistant for over twelve years. And just last year I allowed my certification to laspe and I just walked away. It wasn't easy and it took prayer for me to walk away. I also worked at a major hospital in the hood and it was just horrible. I give you kudos for being able to work in the ER because yeah, I just couldn't do it.

  8. Count another vote for picking up a PRN job to combat burnout. That's what I did. If you can go down to 3/2 (instead of 3/3) and maintain your benefits, and pick up a PRN job where you work a shift every other week, that's the way to go. I like the ER, but if I worked there all the time I would be a compassionless bitch. I spend most of my time in peds (where my heart is) filling up my compassion tank, then work in an adult ER once a week or every other week or so, where it all gets sucked out of me in one shift!

    Maybe in your case full-time at the posh ER and PRN in the hood would be a good combination.

  9. I think that is one of the worst parts of nursing...the unsafe ratios as well as the lack of respect from administration. We work our asses off making sure the patients are well cared for & what do we get in return? More bashing by admin who wouldn't last a shift doing what we do. Oh how I wish they would have to spend a week on the front lines instead of sitting in their cushy offices collecting a six figure bonus check. Sigh.

    Hang in there, girl. You're doing a great job...but definitely take a break.