Nurses are, in my opinion, treated with a much higher levels of respect and admiration out in the public than inside their actual work environment. Yay! Let’s celebrate nurses receiving, yet again, the recognition for being the most trusted profession for 15 years in a row, viewed in the public eyes as "professionals with the highest honesty and ethical standards." I guess Americans get “beer goggles” (or morphine goggles) once they are admitted onto our care. I get it! You’re not at your best, and perhaps we will see you at your absolute worst, or we may cross paths when a family member might be holding onto life by the last thread, trust me (we are the most trusted after all) I get it. I guess the trust and honesty recognition are perhaps in the title NURSE, and not so much in the nurses themselves.
I love being a nurse, and although it was not my first career choice, I am absolutely proud of what I do on a daily basis, not many professionals can say that. All that admiration and recognition are not trickled down to those at the bedside saving your life. At least it is not felt, observed, or communicated. How can we be considered tell I know nothing and immediately ask me to call the doctor? How can you rate me as the most trusted when you tell me I am “stupid and incompetent”? Which nurses did you compare my ethical standards to?
How, and exactly where, did these gallup polls and reality part ways? I’ll tell you what is not being celebrated by nurses, the actual fact that we are not being viewed as the most trusted, honest or holding high ethical standards. Nurses are receiving the opposite of these praises; we are receiving violence and abuse, both verbal and at times physical, we are burnt out because most patients that come searching for our care, does not recognize our education levels and disregard our knowledge. My ethical standards are shadowed by your perception of starvation when I tell you not to eat prior to surgery or some exams.
All this frustrations nurses are facing, being demoralized by those who actually came to us (we did not seek you out) for help, treated with violence and disrespect is made worse by those whom were supposed to be our team members and superiors or supervisors. Patients supply half the damage and administrators make the touchdown, feeding into the disrespect with unsafe work environment, and demoralizing lack of support and leadership.
Picture ancient Egypt, how many great pyramids were built? How many emperors and empires are praised as works of art and hard work. That is the healthcare workforce nowadays. The “pyramids” are the hospitals as a facility, known for their glory. The “emperors” are the physicians, recognized as the differentiating factors, the ones that are “bringing money in.” Now comes the nurses and nursing staff, the laborers, those moving those immense stones, perfectly piling them up one above the other. Now, I challenge you; please name one of the laborers that actually build those immense, breathtaking pyramids? I know I can’t.
Nurses are working hard to keep you from dying and themselves from going insane. more nurses are leaving the bedside than ever before, aggravating the nursing shortages. it is a high intensity line of work, mentally and physically. Nurses are being overworked, overstressed, underpaid, way over 15 years in a row. Not leaving behind the violence and abused by those we are helping and employers that are driving many great nurses to leave. Reality has steered ways off your gallop polls results.
The Dude Nurse
Klaus Campos, BSN-RN