#COVID-19 · Nursing

Hospitals and Nurses

I usually write a fiery, steamy, infuriated, depressing, crying, first draft of a blog post depending on the topic and my mood. Then I leave it for a night. Then I come back and completely erase and/or heavily edit it. Last night, I may have accidentally published the fiery, infuriated first draft. In my defense. It was late. The publish button is close to the preview button, and I was trying to figure out the picture size. Then all the sudden I got 5 views in maybe three seconds…and thought “hmmm”…immediately replaced by “shit fuck holy shit. Delete Delete Delete.” Of course not before my subscribers got the emailed copy.

So I get a call from my friend who subscribes and says, so…yeah. Maybe not a great idea to publish a rather thinly veiled expose. Fair. I agree. Picture me waiting for the lightening to strike.

I feel like that sums up my life. Letting out the emotional side before I make it PC and having to then backtrack and attempt to censor myself. Which, in all honesty, I should be censored at times. I fully own that.

However, the point of my blog post, even in all it’s fire-y-ness was to address the fact that hospital ferociously protect even bad doctors. Really bad ones. And if they put a fraction of that energy into protecting their nurses…there would not be a shortage.

That hospitals are advocating for legislature to cap travel nurses salaries instead of advocating for legislature to protect nurses aka: automatic felony for assaulting a nurse, student loan forgiveness, tuition caps for furthering nursing education, patient/RN ratios, safe staffing ratios…etc. To name a few. It’s freaking insulting. Not just a little insulting. But fiery steamy infuriated first draft blog post insulting.

Nurses are the lifeblood of hospitals. We see all. We know all. If every nurse let loose publicly the biggest secret they know about their hospital system…that would be, well, epic. But for hospitals…it would be literally a liability and natural disaster. So I just don’t understand why they keep pushing the very population of people who can whistleblow the crap out of them.

But here we are.

Hospitals are messed up places. Any one who has worked in one is emphatically nodding their head, smiling to themselves thinking of the most messed up thing they have seen. And I’m not talking with patients. I’m talking with staff. Because there’s a lot of both. Grey’s Anatomy…I mean I’ve never made it through more than ten minutes but I think real life would have it beat. Big time.

Hospital systems should maybe consider the true power nurses hold. In our knowledge…of everything. They should then consider supporting appropriate legislation to protect nurses. Protect nurses with the same furor and energy that you protect doctors and maybe you’d actually retain them.

My employees know that I have their back. When they are wrong I tell them. But, I never undermine them to clients or to other employees. They also tell me when I’m wrong. As I think they should. I am protective of them. They know that. We all have scars from working for larger corporations, mostly hospitals, where we were not valued or protected and even if we were right…we were always wrong. That sticks with you, and it completely destroys peoples confidence and sense of self. As an employer I feel like I worked to create a space where we can all just be ourselves and not be scared to be right or wrong and to always feel valued.

COVID sucks. But what it did was force healthcare to face the chasms that exist. It forced nurses to acknowledge they are treated as second class citizens. It forced families to discuss masks, health decisions, testing, vaccines and so much more. Could I have done without COVID? Yes. But I am not sad about the discussions it has brought forth. I am also not sad that it has finally publicly unveiled the lengths hospitals go to in order to not protect, not reward, and not promote their most valuable assets- nurses.