I cried at work. It is not the first time. However, it is the first time I have cried for this particular reason. I have cried many times as a matter of fact. I have been unable to save a life. I have delivered news of having a terminal illness and pretty much handing over a death sentence to young and old alike. I’ve seen many people die, young, old, sick, and healthy even. But last night I cried not because a patient died, but because I am unable to care for my patients as they deserve.
What has our healthcare system come to? I am a nurse. My job is to care for patients. Unfortunately, I am unable to do so in a manner in which I would like to see my own family member cared for and I just cannot take it much more. We as nurses and aids are strapped for time. Running for 13 hours straight, lucky if we get to eat. God forbid you actually have a drink of water, coffee, anything, during those 13 hours. Forget peeing. You have patients sitting in urine for hours because you don’t have the time or staff resources to get to them until then. Is this what you want for your family member? Me either. So I cried.
I am devastated I cannot give a bath to every single patient every single day. That should be standard care I should think. But when you don’t have time, you just don’t have time. I’m sorry but that’s just unforgivable and I’m so embarrassed to work this way. You haven’t had fresh water today, I’m sorry I will get to it when I can. It might be 2 minutes. It might be 3 hours. You just never know. It all depends on how we are staffed that day and how many patients I have assigned to me. Oh, the list could go on and on but I’ll spare you. Just know being a floor nurse breaks my heart daily and I’m sorry to each and every patient and their friends and family.
The most unfortunate part is there is absolutely nothing I can do. My hands are tied. You can’t change the healthcare system. You just have to play the game. And that’s what your health amounts to. A game of how to cut corners and make money. For this I am sorry and I don’t want to play the game anymore.