Why Nurses are Not OK Right Now
My friends are all leaving me, and I don’t blame them. Throughout the past six months, it seems as though every week I walk onto the unit, I hear that another one of my coworkers has put in their two weeks’ notice. The horribly sad part is that it feels like management just sees it as another job posting to start advertising for, but to the staff that has worked alongside them for years, it feels like a moral injury to see their position so easily replaceable. These nurses provide skills and bring character to the unit that no one else can replace, and although new nurses can bring their own gifts and talents, it is devastating seeing your department’s heartbeat start to change.
Not only are nurses working in a global pandemic pouring everything we have into helping patients, but a new pandemic has hit health care workers specifically; it’s called burnout. Unfortunately, many of the issues that contribute to this burnout have existed for decades, but COVID has multiplied their effects and are pushing nurses to their extreme limits.
Unsurprisingly, however, the most common reason nurses are leaving the bedside is the increased physical, emotional, and mental demands that have occurred within the past year. Regardless of the department, the pandemic has caused a decrease in staff, supplies, and support which has resulted in nurses picking up extra patients, shifts, and responsibilities. Our breaks have been replaced with extra patients, and our empathy has been replaced with exhausted hearts. Just in the past few weeks, I have heard nurses tell me these reasons they find nursing harder than ever…