There seems to be a lot of unsaid things in the nurse’s station. Or things that are said that may have a deeper meaning. The nurse’s station is really the guts of the operation of the floor, nerve central if you will, for patient care. Assignments are made and transfers discussed. People are floated and get upset if things don’t go their way.

Baby Boomer Registered Nurses

If you are a Baby Boomer RN, that is born between 1946-1964, and you are working in a hospital doing the crazy long 12-hour shifts and on your feet for long stretches, things can happen. No bathroom breaks, water or coffee breaks, and rushing from one demanding situation to another, asking staff members to help you lift and turn patients. Also, trying to keep up with the incessant rush, of going from one semi-crisis to another.

If you are in a new hospital setting, then couple that with learning a new computer system, navigating how to contact physicians and figuring out where everything is kept and you can see that things can get a little stressful after 12-hours.

Why Do I Attract the Mishaps?

Well, I had the experience of mixing up my room numbers for a split second and giving the wrong report. In other words, pt. A in room 1 became pt. B in room 2. Based on my experience, I have seen this happen to many nurses old and young alike. I realized this after a few seconds, apologized and made the correction immediately.

Then I realized that my notebook with my notes from the previous day was missing. This had extra material which would beef up my report and make it sound more thorough. I had to stop my report momentarily and walk out of the nurse’s station and look in all my patient rooms. The person I was giving report to said to the younger male nurse I was working with all day, “Go help your grandmother.“ This was said in another language, one that I heard at a previous job. The ironic part was that the nurse who said that was only probably 10 to 15 years younger than me. It turned out that someone had filed my notebook with all of the other ones in the nurse’s station.

Change fatigue is the term used to describe how we have adapted to dealing with the multiple demands of work, family and the stress of the hospital setting (1). The nurse I gave report to decided it was appropriate to call me a “grandmother”. I am about the furthest thing from that description. I have worked in a multi-cultural city for years with many nurses who speak different languages. Although, I didn’t understand the language he spoke, the inference was there. I had someone Google the word on my way home. Now, I was tired and insulted.

The nurse who said this to me will forever be associated with negativity in my mind. Which is a shame since we are all there for the same reason, to provide care to patients. It is not supposed to be an environment associated with making each other feel inadequate. The shifts are long and stressful. In fact, the literature indicates that over half to three quarters of nurses have been on the receiving end of an episode involving untoward remarks from another RN that have been characterized as abusive or aggressive (2).

Lesson Learned

I will try to be more organized toward the end of the shift and hope that other nurses are more tolerant of lapses that can happen to anyone. 

References

Bell, L (2006, November). Respect and workplace options help retain aging nurses Retrieved November 12, 2015 from ISSN: 0744-6314

Edward, K.L, Ousey, K, Warelow, P., &  Lui, S (2014). Nursing and aggression in the workplace: a systematic review. Retrieved October 15, 2015 from http://dx.doi.org/10.12968/bjon.2014.23.12.653