Are they finished yet?

I know it makes me a heretic, but I hate nurses’ week.

nurses weekThe absolute ridiculousness of the ‘Thanks a nurse’ campaign irritates me. Imagine a Thank an Accountant week, or Thank Your Structural Engineer! messages.

For a group so driven to prove they are a profession, they sure engage in unprofessional activity. A lot. Do other professions need a week of the year dedicated to celebrating their existence, or is this a purely sanctimonious practice evolved from nursing and bleeding over into the other groups ?

I think having a day dedicated to Flo is great, but this self-congratulatory week of celebrating nurses is a sign of entitlement and insecurity. Get back to doing your job. Stop needing a pat on the back or some swag to show you are appreciated.

Appreciation isn’t purchased with a box of cookies, a pen or a pair of scissors. It comes from the faces of the patients and families who are receiving your dedicated and skilled care and compassion. It is seen in the rummy eyes of the 90 year old woman, all alone, in a hospital where no one visits or calls when you take 10 minutes to sit and hold her hand. It comes from the 56 year old man, scared and afraid who has to be strong for his wife and kids, but whom you let be scared and afraid.

I hate nurses week. it makes us look weak and childish needing positive reinforcement to do a job that has its own intrinsic reward, plus a fairly good salary. We get paid pretty well to put up with all the shit. We don’t need to come off all needy and attention seeking.

So stop it. Just stop. Celebrate Flo for making us respectable, but don’t demean all she did by being needy whiners.

175x225nurse_accusing1What would Flo Do?

I propose we start this as the campaign. For one week nurses will clean rooms, feed patients, wash patients, change linens and answer call bells without whining and complaining

florenceI read a blog or something on the interwebs this past week – Rules for Nurses 1887. The very sad thing were the comments from the nurses who said it wasn’t like that, they didn’t believe it and how hard THEY worked and how it was so much easier back in 1887.

Are you fucking kidding me?

nurse with wounded


Don’t let me get sick, don’t let me get sick…

I pray this daily, or would if prayer was effective. Rather a mantra instead.

Why after 40 years in health care would I be terrified to get sick, or to have a loved one ill and in the system?

One reason. Healthcare workers.

Today I discovered that the hand hygiene posters I put up to inform families of hand hygiene compliance in the ICU were taken down. Of course no one ever knows who does this. Except I think they do know. A couple years ago someone took it upon themselves to tear down a poster done by one of the nurses on hand hygiene. It was a fun, amusing poster featuring sesame street characters and humourous quotes from them. The someone in the staff was ‘offended’ and found it demeaning and insulting and tore it down.  Someone was never found.

In April we agreed to post hand hygiene compliance in areas where the public could see. On the anteroom doors to isolation rooms and in the halls. ICU staff – that mysterious ‘someone’ again, were ‘offended’  I do not think that word means what you think it means.

A hand hygiene compliance rate of 49% is shameful and embarrassing, but YOU do not get to be offended by it – the public can be offended, but YOU should simply be ashamed. Fast forward to a month later. The rate is up to 67% after a month of 49% staring you in the face. And now nurses are ‘demoralized’ and feel bullied.

Sorry again, but I do  not think that word means what you think it means. Just because you do not like something does not mean you are bullied. Just because you don’t like something does not make it offensive.

Here is what bullying it – making statement that the rates are lies, that it isn’t done correctly and taking that work down. THAT is bullying. When you say it isn’t correct or that it is lies you demean and imply I am lying and dishonest, or unskilled and don’t know what I am doing. You are bullying me and the work I do. By taking the posters down you make it so I have to repeat the work I have already done. These are bully behaviours.

But we always knew you were bullies. I have not forgotten your mob rule of 2007-2008

mob rule

So back to Don’t let me get Sick – why would I want healthcare providers who only clean their hands 50% of the time caring for me or anyone I care about? Why would I want to be in the hands of a bully?