Saturday, April 14, 2012

Overworked and Underpaid

I have come to the conclusion that too many people are becoming nurses for the wrong reason.  They think it’s easy and you will make a lot of money.  Now don’t get me wrong they make more than working at Wal-Mart.  However I really get tired of hearing about how much money I am making now that I am an RN.  Give me a break between the 45 min drive which helps suck up extra money and the fact that this area is over populated with “new” nurses the rate of pay is much less than in most areas.  My husband works for a popular soda franchise and makes just as much as I do.  No college education required how’s that for making the big bucks?  Not to mention you don’t get paid for the amount of work you put into to it.  Did you know all the job roles a nurse plays?  So before you think about becoming a nurse or treating a nurse rudely or pushing your call light for the 100th time let me tell you what your nurse is:
  1. A mother-  Between disciplining those that are misbehaving or trying to teach those why smoking is causing your breathing difficulties.  To using my eyes in the back of my head to watch you try to “sneak a smoke”
  2. Teacher-  every time I discharge a person I teach the correct way to change their dressing, how to take their medication and how important it is to follow up with their doctor.  It’s amazing just how many people will take a suppository by mouth.
  3. Janitor-  There have been times when I had to get out the ole plunger because some idiot flushed the non flushable wipes down the commode.
  4. Housekeeper- working nights we have no housekeeping after midnight.  So we get to empty trash, clean the rooms, and take out the over flowing trash
  5. Counselor-  You always have to listen to your patients problems and sometimes not that you want to you might get dragged into the family member’s problems.  Hard to get away while you are sticking a patient.  Actually had a family member tell me a lot of personal information.  When I really wanted to tell them to shut up.  I am trying to focus on the lady who can’t breathe right now.  Any other time I wouldn’t care. 
  6. Babysitter-  You would think this has to do with kids.  When we have to help each other hold pediatric patients down so we can stick them or cath them.  But there are the drunks or the suicidal patients that need babysitting so that they don’t escape.  Or take their clothes off and walk down the hall butt naked.  Your welcome. 
  7. Lab tech- yep you come in you are going to get stuck.  We don’t have a lab that sticks our patients for us unless they are doing a type and cross.
  8. Forensic nurse-  for those DUI idiots we get to draw their blood and then get subpoenaed to court to prove we know what we are doing.  Fun.  Usually occurs on our day off or when we should be sleeping for those night shift nurses
  9. Referee-  usually due to some idiot who decided to pretend to have a heart attack to avoid his wife busting him from cheating on him.  Hey dumb ass don’t invite the girlfriend the wife will show at some point and time.
  10. Pharmacist.- since the nurse is the last person  to be giving the medication you better take the time to double check the med.  Because it’s your license on the line.  I have found calculation errors by the pharmacy or the fact a patient didn’t mention they were allergic to it.  Always tell the patient what your giving and ask do you have any allergies.  That has saved my ass more than once.
  11. Computer tech-  not always one of my specialties.  However I know my charge nurse has fixed my computer a time of two.  Especially when it locks up.
  12. Human resources-  this is where you try to help you patient who cannot afford the follow care.  So you direct them to doctors that take sliding scale.  Also to dentist’s that have reduced fees.  You also need to know the 4 dollar medication list for Wal-Mart.  Because you will be asked that a lot.  Is this med on the 4 dollar list?  Luckily someone made us a list to look at.
  13. Waitress-  this is wear I get warm blankets, straws, drinks, snacks,  reposition your bed, pillow etc. etc.  I never get any tips either.
  14. Police officer-  nope no matter what game you play you will not be leaving if I gave you a narcotic medication.  It is against the law to use and drive.  If you try to leave my dept. I will have security escort you back to your room.  I also have no problem taking your keys from you either.
  15. Secretary/ Receptionist-  ER….this is….how can I help you?  Not to mention filing away the discharge papers. Whoops sorry didn’t mean to hang up on you while I was transferring you.
  16. Judge, Jury and Executioner -Yup I am going to judge you when you come in you stupid frequent flyer. I am also going to decided just how much bullshit we are going to tolerate from you. Then as your executioner I am going to convince the doctor to send you home with Motrin.
Yea there is probably more…but I am tired just thinking about them all. So before you jump into nursing make sure you are ready to do all these jobs.  Too bad we don’t get paid for them all.  Then we might get the recognition we deserve.


Leeanna Henderson said...

Damn!!!I know all to well what goes on and what nurses put up with not only from patients but from other nurses and hospital personal. Your pay is only a step up from a Lab Tech and that's not much either.
David didn't go to college and he made more than I did and I went to college for 4 stinking years! It really sucks hot stanky sewer water.
I was in the hospital three times in my life and I saw what nurses have to do and put up with. I made it a point not to bother my nurses unless it was something I really needed to do. I respect what you do for a living sweetie, whole heartedly! I just wish they would pay great nurses like you what you are truly worth and not the pittance hospitals want to pay.

Tonja said...

Yeah, I'm getting a little tired of being told "that's why you make the big bucks"- really? What do you think I make for the crap I put up with? Doctor's pay?! Psh, moron please.

insomnia said...

All true. Right on point. Although I do not work ER, it's all the same problems.
I can fix a bed, a fax, and usually the computer.
I carry tools with me. Working nights, you are a jack of all trades.

kevel88 said...

Well, I have stumbled on to your blog and this is the first post I read! I have been an RN for almost 30 years, which makes me as old as. . . . Bette White? I must say there have been some improvements. I remember when I had to dance around and carry all the frigin charts walking behind Mighty surgeon making rounds. . .(thank goodness for computer charting) and holding the suture string for the OBGYN as he sewed up the episiotomy. I could go on. I have a BS . . N. . . and have lousy retirement. Up and down with the stock market. My husband is a retired sheet metal worker and has a fabulous fixed retirement. . . If nursing had been predominately men, they would never have put up with the crappy wages and benefits and lack of good retirement and being treated like a maid servant.
I wrote a blog about this:

The days of nights doing 5 deliveries, cleaning all the beds,mopping the floors, del rooms, etc, and then having the day crew with the charge RN, 2 other RN's, secretary, and housekeeper coming on and complaining that I left some dirty belts in the sink, are over for me. I finally have 9-5 day job. Where I will probably stay until I am carried out on a gurney. Don't worry, I will have DO NOT RESUSCITATE tattooed on my chest. . . HE HE HE
These days we see the CEO's making millions but telling us because of the economy, might have to cut our peddling retirement, etc. CRAZY!!
In spite of all that, I like what I am doing, and feel that sometimes I am making a difference. . . I have found it is very important to do take care of myself, which as a nurse, it is easy to forget, cause we are taking care of everyone else.


Texan Zombie Goddess said...

I have had the fabu nurses and the nurses that make me want to treat myself with silicon and duct tape lol. 99% of my friends here are nurses, mostly because of the money they were promised. Now, all they do is bitch and moan that being a nurse is a job. No shit...really? Me? No desire whatsoever to be a nurse. Or at least, a paid nurse. I fix enough booboos here to last me a lifetime.

You kick ass chick!