Nurse Jobs

There is nothing like being told you have a “cushy job” when you are feeling overworked, underpaid, and that no one in the world appreciates what you do. I’m sure the chatty younger- than-young medical assistant in my doctor’s office was just trying to make conversation when she said those fighting words. Sure there are some nursing jobs that are better than others but never let it be said that nurses have it easy. No way.

This weekend I went to see Jack Nicholson’s new movie “The Bucket List”.  The wife of Nicholson’s costar, Morgan Freeman, speaks about being a nurse. She says that no one should have to be a witness to the pain and suffering that she has seen every day in her nursing career. How true, how true.

I always wondered if my parents really knew what I do every day at work. Take today. I have a patient with a deep, deep bedsore. We call them pressure ulcers. This wound goes through 3 layers of skin. I can almost see the bone. I wash it out with normal saline then push a medicated gauze pad into the wound. I do this everyday.

My job is Monday to Friday, no weekends or holidays. That does make it better than some nursing jobs but I work every minute of every day. There are no breaks. No lunch time. And many days my day extends into the early evening. I try not to drink any fluids during my day so I won’t have to stop to go to the bathroom. Not easy. I wilt from dehydration by the end of the day.

Like most nurses, I went into nursing to help people. I can take the blood, the guts, the pus. It is the paper work that drives me nuts! Medicare requirements drive my day. It is not enough to jot down a quick nurse’s note. Most visiting nurse agencies now use software that makes sure the nurse documents according to the Medicare requirements. This is very time consuming. We carry laptops and make our entries while we are seeing patients, sitting in the car outside a patient’s home, during our lunchtime, and back in the office. I start my day at 8 am. Usually I see my last patient around 2 pm. There are many days that I am still trying to finish my paperwork at 5:30pm

So do I have a “cushy” job? I don’t think so but I do know it can be one of the most satisfying jobs in the world even though I often am a witness to pain, suffering, and death. We need more nurses to lighten our load. We need the support and appreciation of our contemporaries. We need more people to know what we do every day.

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