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It’s really pathetic that I enjoy my job more than I enjoy dealing with my family.

The holiday season is nearing its end and I am more stressed than I really should be.  This should be a time to relax and unwind, but I feel under pressure and full of worry from work.  

I’m working on a project that I just know hasn’t been carefully planned.  Everything is half-baked and unprepared but the bosses are pushing for it to start.  

I don’t want to find out what will happen to a project that begins development after less than a month of planning and decisions.  It’s just not enough time for coordinating with users, mapping out their workflow, and gathering requirements.  

And yet there can be absolutely no delay for this. Argh.  My head hurts every time I think about it.

The stress I’m feeling is evident even in aikido practice.  Today was our first class since our old dojo closed, and I was so tense that my sensei commented on it.  In most of our recent classes, I’m always so tense.  I think I might have forgotten how to relax.

I submitted my mid-year performance self-review at work today.  I was a bit loopy while answering it since I came from night duty with 3 hours of unpaid overtime, without having any breakfast.  At that point I was pretty much like, “let’s just get this over with.”  

That mid-year review had the worst timing because I really want to quit my job.  I think I can stick with the company for a few months more if they hired more people so that work conditions can improve, but right now I’m a hairline fracture away from turning my resignation letter in.  I have it ready here on my computer.  

I couldn’t keep from crying on duty last night and had to spend around 5 minutes getting myself together in the stock room so no one would notice.  Things have been so hectic the past few days and the stress and frustration just pile up.  Every one is obviously overworked, and people are resigning practically every week.

The supervisor didn’t help one bit by coming in the morning and yelling at me for not finishing and preparing things on time, and “not thinking ahead about what the doctors might need.”  She had no right to do that when I have almost 10 patients assigned to me, with one of them needing to be monitored every hour and two of them monitored every 2 hours.  I already prepared the materials that the doctor specified in his orders.  I cannot be expected to “think ahead” when my brain is busy trying to find a way to balance and prioritize all my tasks so that everything would be done on schedule for all those patients.  

This was all after I had to bring a patient down for dialysis (it wasn’t my job, but wow, we also lack orderlies and nursing aides).  Not once was I able to sit down, much less go to the bathroom the entire night.  She saw me still there assisting with a procedure at 7AM when my shift ends at 6AM (again staying for a number of hours after, unpaid).  And what? Oh yeah, get angry.  WTF.

Everyday I feel like this: 
Sigh.

I’ve been thinking long and hard.

Here I am, 20-something years old and burnt out. 

You see, I have this job and it’s killing me.  I’m a practicing nurse and the work itself, it’s nature is demanding and very stressful.  Coming from a hospital with a good rep, part of company policy is this: what customer wants, customer gets.  Literally.  Patient wants a lazy boy in his room?  Make.  It.  Happen.  Or get mauled by the customer service representatives (okay, I’m exaggerating a bit.  Peace, CS people). 

What I realized is that nursing is just like being the big overall manager and the staff at the same time.  Aside from the usual “care” like giving medications, assisting in procedures, wound care, IV care, turning, etc. there’s also coordinating and overseeing and scheduling procedures with different departments, informing doctors, phlebotomists, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, calling engineering for room repairs, calling billing department for insurance problems, even finding someone to give a patient a haircut/manicure and wash his laundry (oh yes, that happens).  Sometimes I feel like I manage every aspect of my patients’ lives. 

We’re also understaffed and we go with 2-hour, 4-hour overtime with no pay.  It doesn’t happen regularly, but I go 8-12 hours straight without sitting down and sadly, going to the bathroom, not once.  I can’t take it.  Even if I’ve worked with the best people in the world (doctors, co-nurses, nursing aids, housekeepers, ward clerks, etc), had the nicest, sweetest (and sometimes, most um, disagreeble) patients, I can’t take it.  People-wise, I couldn’t have asked for a better crowd to be in.  Everyone works hard, everyone helps everyone out- it’s teamwork, but I can’t take it.  I’m tired.  My quality of life is suffering.

Once I come up with better plans, I’m going.  Going and gone.

By the way, pictures are from Stuff No One Told Me.  Go check it out.

I’ve been awake for almost 24 hours.  I was on night duty and I got home around 3:00pm- a full 8 hours after the time I should have gone home which is supposed to be at around 7:00 or 8:00AM.  I am so tired.  My shift during that night was hell.  Toxic, hectic, one big headache.  And then on the very last hour of my duty, something happens.  Something incredibly, massively stupid, unnecessary and unexpected.

I couldn’t concentrate on the work I had left to do.  I was actually crying in the nurses’ station because everything was going horribly horribly wrong.  All the little things just kept adding up, from non-answering doctors, non-infusing IV lines, blood transfusion problems, less than 40cc of urine output from a kidney patient (that’s roughly 2 tablespoons), freaking needles, and angry co-workers.  If I mentioned them all I’m sure it’ll take up several paragraphs.  No wonder a lot of the other nurses I knew wanted to quit. I got dumped with a garbage bag full of things-that-can-possibly-go-wrong-during-your-shift.  I tried really hard to keep myself from crying but I couldn’t help it.  It was so embarrassing having to cry like that.  Thank God I didn’t do it in front of my patients.

It took me until 10AM to finish everything for the unit, then I had to go down to the ER which took up so much time processing because I literally had to go around the hospital wards looking for forms, which my own and about half of all the units didn’t have.  Freaking forms!  I finished all that, along with filing an incident report.  That had me going back and forth from 1st to 2nd to 5th floor.  So much paperwork.  I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch anymore (who the hell could eat in a condition like that anyway).  It took so long that I actually saw the nurses for the afternoon shift.  Shit.  I never want to have to go through another incident report again, or work on another night shift.

That’s it.  That’s pretty much the latest thing in my life.