I have said this before on this website that much of what I am talking about relates to all departments in the hospital. All departments are effected by the issues and problems in the hospital. It is not just the nurses that are effected and that need support.
I have a niece that is a repiratory therapist and I see more and more how much they are effected by the same politics in the hospital that nurses contend with. Today she informed us that she is going to apply for a position in the psych unit working with ECT patients and anesthesia. Currently she works with premies and pedi ICU and other units throughout the hospital that are crisis oriented. I know she will not be happy with the new position. She is doing this because she has had it with the way she and others in her department are treated. It is exactly what a nurse experiences day in and day out. Is this a reason to make a change that you are going to hate. She says, why not; I am not happy now.
She, also, feels like a second class citizen. She feels like the nurses treat them like they are not important and that the nurse is better than they are. I try to tell her that that is not true. Nurses could not and don’t want to do what they do. That does not change how she feels and I am sure that there are nurses and times when nurses make her feel that way, but it is not true.
In order for a hospital to function every one has to work together. Even the dietary department and the housekeeping department plays an important role. I remember a housekeeper at the first job that I had. He was an older, tall and a little on the heavy side man. He was one of the kindest and most gentle men that I have ever known. He always talked with patients when he cleaned their room and spoke to everyone he encountered in the hallway. I had patients tell me that they felt more comfortable talking to him than they did talking to the nurses. They felt that the nurses were too busy to talk to and were too important to talk to. They, also, felt like they could understand him as he talked to them in a down to earth way. Many times nurses and doctors used terminology that they could not understand.
There was a time when hospitals were more of a family. All personnel talked to each other and respected what they had to give to patients and to each other. If something happened to someone in another department we were all concerned. As time has gone on that has changed. What happened? Again, as asked in another post, why do we all fight against each other? Why do we not support each other?
I recently read an article that may have some bearing on this. His theory is that hospitals used to be run as caring units which is what I have just been describing. The patient was primary. The nurse and all departments in the facility cared for the patient and their primary job and goal was to care for the patient. This spilled over to how we treated staff, too. I remember patients saying how the VNA that I worked for went out of their way to do whatever needed to be done to see that the patient’s needs were met. When I first started there, that was definitely was the case. The patient came first. We went out of our way and the VNA expected that we do just that and the agency did the same.
Soon after I started there all of that changed. It became what the author I just mentioned calls business run. The patient and staff no longer came first. The agency and hospitals and other health care facilities came, and still do, first. The concern was money and profit. It is run like a business and frequently run by business people, not health care backgrounds. It is all about money. It is a business, now. The patient is no longer the focus. The well being of the staff and of each other is no longer a focus. How is this working? It isn’t. Staff are becoming burnt out quickly and leaving causing huge shortages. Everyone is stressed. There is no longer support for the staff. The patient is being pushed out of the facility way before they are ready to leave.
So what happens now. According to the author of this article, it is suggested that we take the best of each system and get rid of what doesn’t work and bring back the aspects of both that do work. Is this possible? Will this happen? Will there ever be a third system? If there isn’t what is going to happen in health care? It can’t continue as is. Something has to be done.