Thankless job

I'm discouraged lately. It's partly from my own issues and partly from those of my colleagues, because misery does love company, and most people seem to be getting ass chewings pretty regularly. The issue is the one where people are more likely to complain when something negative happens than they are to mention the positive things that happen. This issue is not unique to nursing. It is just the human condition. It just bothers me more in the nursing part of my life because I work. So. Hard. To do a good job. I exhaust myself, I go without food and water and peeing, I get blisters on my feet, blah blah blah. I really do my level best to be a good nurse, and I am. Patients fairly often tell me that. Sometimes they say it just straight out: "you're a good nurse." They do not, however, send most of these warm fuzzies to my employer.

They take the time when they are upset, though. I wonder how much this whole "we're now in the customer service industry" attitude has to do with it. But that's another post.

My bosses are usually pretty fair about patient complaints, I think. They ask us what happened and usually drop it if we haven't done something completely ridiculous. So that's good. But I'm still left remembering how hard I labored for the complaining person (it's actually usually the family) and thinking, "I helped save this person's life, and they're super mad that there was a bloody square of gauze at the foot of the bed?" or whatever dumb thing they were all worked up about.

Sometimes I get really mad about it. I think, I probably did 1,000 nursing interventions for this extremely sick patient, who survived to leave our department; of those, 999 were good and 1 was not. The 1/999th bad fraction is the one that matters. Who wouldn't be discouraged? I'm starting to see how long-time nurses are numb and have just stopped caring. If you care, you're mad all the time.

I know we're adults and shouldn't need our little heads patted or gold stars given for a job well done, but we kind of still do. I'm surprised when I go for my yearly evaluation and hear what a good nurse I am, because the rest of the year I just hear about all the stuff I'm messing up. "You failed to transmit this EKG correctly! You made a flight nurse mad! You didn't have this unconscious dying patient sign consent for a central line!" No one ever says, "Hey, NNR, great job being a team leader in that code." I feel like the forest/tree dichotomy is out of hand here. Let's weigh patient lives vs administrative issues and pissy flight nurses. Patient lives win!

I literally keep a "warm fuzzies" file in Evernote for the few, few times I get a written compliment so that I can look at it when I get super discouraged. And I have the knowledge that patients do appreciate my care. Just wish the paper in my file reflected it a little more.