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The feast or famine phenomenon in nursing

This is the one thing I dislike about nursing. OK. OK. Maybe dislike is a strong word? Maybe – I’m not a big fan of?? Does that sound better?

Now this particular ‘thing’ about nursing only seems to happen in the smaller rural hospitals (at least that’s what my experience has been). I truly am not a fan of the ‘feast or famine’ phenomenon.

Feast or famine: You as a nurse are either running your rear end off to the point where you didn’t have time to relieve your bladder or eat any food. OR – things are so slow you find yourself staring at the clock. The census on your particular nursing unit is either busting at the seams or you can hear an echo down the hall.

Now we all know how most nurses (including myself) feel about that horrible ‘Q’ word. You never say quiet, or bored while at work – Murphy’s law will definitely slap you back into reality if those words are spoken. You’ll either have a patient’s condition go  sour, or you’ll get a handful of admission back-to-back, etc.

This past holiday weekend was my weekend to work. Neither good nor bad, just was. It was ‘my’ weekend in the rotation. Well I guess everybody in my community decided to get well and heal themselves?! Better yet, during the weekend, they avoided the hospital and the Emergency Room?! The entire hospital census (including my nursing unit) was at an all time low. Far be it from me to complain about people getting better, but I tend to think it had something to do with the warm weather, the holiday, and of course the long weekend.

Once again I’ll be the first to admit it was a nice change of pace, but I think that’s where the appreciation ends. Inevitably to save on costs and the budget someone gets put on call, or gets cancelled. Now – once again who wants to complain about that? But, both of those actions will definitely hit the pocketbook eventually.

I’m probably going to catch a lot of heat for my gripe, but I’d love for there to be some consistency in the roller coaster ride. Yeah, I know – I’m asking for a lot.

Do you have any similar experiences? What are your thoughts?

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