Happy Un-Thanksgiving Day for nurses?


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If you follow Scrubs magazine on Facebook, you know that we like to ask our readers questions. Often, we get several dozen great responses. When we asked our fans what they were NOT thankful for this season, we got hundreds of replies. Okay, so maybe we’re encouraging people to gripe at a time when our culture says everyone should be feeling grateful. But we think it’s only fair that nurses should have a forum where they can air their complaints. They spend enough time listening to unhappy patients, family members, administrators and doctors whining at work every day. We know our readers are thankful that Scrubs magazine is one place where they can tell it like it is!

Here are the top 35 things nurses are NOT thankful for in 2012:

Awful Working Conditions and Resource Shortages

  • Poor pay
  • Staffing shortages
  • Unfair and idiotic scheduling
  • Long, irregular hours
  • No lunch or bathroom breaks
  • High patient load
  • Supply and drug shortages
  • Workplace violence
  • Wound vacs that beep constantly and IV pump machines that don’t work half the time because they are of poor quality
  • Computer systems that go down weekly on night shift because IT assumes everyone is sleeping

Just Part of the Job Description

  • Call lights and call buzzers
  • Gross bodily fluid stuff including, but not limited to, phlegm, enemas, code browns, sputum, blood, urine, snot, oozing sores…
  • Bacteria (especially C. difficile, VRE and MRSA)
  • Charting! “Just as you start getting used to the current charting method, management notifies you that a different method of documentation will be rolled out next week…and you need to attend the orientation tomorrow.”
  • Back injuries
  • Sore legs and feet (hello, varicose veins and bunions!)
  • Chapped hands

Patients and Their Families

  • Med-seeking patients and ER regulars
  • Patients who don’t follow instructions or take meds as ordered
  • Ungrateful patients and visiting family members who order you around like a maid
  • Patients who self-diagnose with WebMD and family members who go online to look stuff up and then quiz you while you work
  • Family/friends of the patient (and sometimes even patients themselves) who allude to being some type of specialist in the medical field and therefore have a lot of information (or authority) to contribute to the patient’s care. Then you find out that they were candy stripers!

Coworkers (Nurses, Doctors and Admin)

  • Former nurses working in admin who forgot where they came from
  • Staffing grids created by administrators that are clueless when it comes to patient safety
  • Mean, hateful doctors who “don’t give you no respect!”
  • Newly graduated nurses who act like they know it all, and older nurses who really do know it all but refuse to help newbies
  • Lazy coworkers
  • Nurse-on-nurse bullying and sabotage

Bureaucratic Bungling

  • Paperwork that takes away from patient work
  • Government dictating the care patients receive
  • JCHAO and other regulatory agencies that create red tape
  • Not having a say in healthcare even though nurses are the backbone
  • Prior authorization requests from insurance companies
  • Patient satisfaction surveys and the push for ever higher scores without nurses being given the necessary resources to improve care. No interest at all in improving staff satisfaction.
  • The bottom line winning out over patient care

Whew…looks like nurses have a long list! We’re just glad that they continue to get out of bed and go to work day after day—we couldn’t have healthcare at all without them.

Have you thanked a nurse today? We think you should.

Thank you to our Facebook fans for contributing to this article: Alice Hudson, Grace Clark, Amy Hernandez, Amy Gasper, Shelly Borneman Barwick, Mary Sondag Fields, Jennifer Pierson Murphy and Solana RM.


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