Some thoughts on nursing
In 1994, after 12 years in software and system engineering, I decided that I wanted the same job satisfaction that my friends found with nursing. So I went back to school and became a nurse at the age of 42. I have to say, I’ve never been bored and have never looked back. I have done so many things—all the time moving farther and farther away from patient care.
This year I felt I needed to see if I could still cut it. I wanted to feel like a nurse again. So, at the age of 57, I got a job working registry on a medical-surgical floor. I kept waiting for the terror that I used to feel as a new grad grip me because I never felt like I knew enough. The terror never came. Instead I felt more comfortable on my own and less comfortable with is the amount of context switching and searching I have to do. Even with bar code scanning (which I love and am so thankful my hospital has), it’s so easy to forget what was next on your work list.
Organization is the key but I think even that isn’t enough. I can see where the design of a hospital can really wear you down because we spend a lot of time trying to gather information so we can make decisions. Searching can waste time and the number of decisions you have to make can take away from the work you need to do. Hospital floor design can decrease the amount travel, the number of decisions and searching a nurse has to do even, for example, like something as simple as having gloves and sharps containers in the same place. That’s one less trip, one less search and one less decision that the nurse has to make.
I love what I’m doing, but I think we can do better. I just hope I’m around to see it.