When people ask me how it’s like to be a nurse, I usually tell them that this is a wonderful job, and I am lucky to be a part of it. I tell them that taking care of someone is a blessing. The conversation goes on with asking me how can I work without having a weekend off, not knowing when I am free to go home, missing holidays and at the end they tell me that my salary is too small for the job that I do. When you think about it, that person is generally right. Yes, I do not have weekends off, my salary is too small for the job that I do, I am not free to go home for the holidays, it is too much stressful, but I simply love what I do. I do not spend my working hours complaining and telling everyone around that it is too much hard to work.
The problem is in our education. We cannot educate ourselves when there are no funds or loans available to cover our costs. If there are no funds or loans than we cannot fight for a better position or for some people this means not having a job at all. Nursing is described as an art and a science, but I think that nursing is a profession that embraces dedicated people with varied interests, strengths and passions because of the many opportunities that this professions offers. We work in emergency rooms, school based clinics or even in homeless shelters. As nurses we have many roles, our roles are from staff nurse to educator to nurse practitioner and nurse researcher- we serve all of them with passion for the profession and with a strong commitment to patient safety.
It wouldn’t hurt to take at least two nurses at my unit so everyone can take a big breath. This would put a smile on my all my colleagues faces. For at least two years I am listening the same sentence, we do not have enough nurses to cover all shifts. This comes with the part that I take the night shift on every third night. This is not just in my unit; this is a problem in every unit. You cannot give the same quality of work if you are tired. Most of the patients see you every day and they feel that something is not right. They are asking, if there is a problem, but you put your smile and say that everything is just perfect and you do not know how the patient got the idea that something is not right.
This system is not right, we should protect each other, yes sometimes it’s hard, and there are weeks where you should work harder but it’s got to stop. I remember last summer; it was a summer when everybody was begging to take their summer holidays in the middle of July. Yes, they got their summer holidays and only three of us were working at the unit. It was hard. We couldn’t keep up with the hard work. The patients were yelling at me, my colleagues were angry, I was angry and we were like one big angry family. This horror lasted month and a half. I hope not to be a part of the same process this summer.