So not long ago, I met up with 4 fantastic women. These are all women who I went to nursing school with, almost a decade ago. We try to gather a few times a year, to meet up, catch up and hear what’s going on with each other. We talk about friends, family, food, kids – and last but not least: work.
But this last time we met up, was a gamechanger, and a real eye-opener for me. Because we talked about the usual subjects, the kids, the school, the husbands, the heaps of laundry, the enjoyments and frustrations of motherhood. But we also discussed and talked alot about our working and our practicing as nurses. We have all gone and worked in different positions as nurses, but suddenly a very real issue, became very evident for me. After we talked for a while, it dawned in me that out of the five of us, four have at some point in our career been on sick-leave sue to stress. FOUR out of five!! This including me.
And for me personally, I have always been a sensitive, somewhat darkminded and melancholic person, with tendencys of overthinking, overdrinking, over eating, over-run with feelings and emotions. So it wasn't a surprise for we when I had to be sick at my work due to stress - where I felt too much pressure, too much responsibility, too many patients where I ended up having too many thoughts about "did I do enough, was I a good enough nurse, could I have done things differently" etc.
But realizing that all these other women, wonderful, fantastic, resourceful, strong and excellent and dutiful nurses - three of them had also at some point in their career, been utterly worn down by the system. This is scary shit! And this is definitely not OK!
I feel sad, hopeless and angry. That we, as women, as mothers, as individuals, as human beings, are pushed to the point of a break down. Both physical and mental break down. Due to a "simple" job.
I haven't researched more or larger groups of nurses, but I fear and suspect that this statistic will be able to be applied in most of the fields of nursing.
The inhumane working hours, nightshifts, weekend shifts, hospitals overcrowded with sick and/or dying patients, sick or dying children, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, sons, daughters, husbands, wives. Taking care of patients with diarrhea everywhere, vomit everywhere, blood everywhere, oozing, infected and smelling wounds. Lousy pay, continuous budget cuts. Expeced efficiency of documentation, of nursing skills, of overtaking more and more doctor's work, without the status or paycheck. Overwhelming patient storys, tragedies and losses that you are expected to be empathetic about, but with distance in keeping in mind you are a nurse and not a relative, keep containing, keep containing, keep fucking containing.
We are treated like robots not humans, as we are as nurses forced to treat our patients: as robots not humans.
I am happy that the Danish government has decided to take 1000 more nurses into the Danish hospital system in the next coming years, but I am very curious as to where the nurses will come from. Are they suspected to work under the same conditions as we have up until now..? For the same lousy pay as we have been given up until now..? If so I suspect that will be a strenuous task which won't have the outcome they wished for.
If the government, the people, YOU want more nurses, the conditions need to be changed. Drastically.
And looking back, re-reading this, I'm actually not that surprised, that four out of five of us have been sick due to work-related stress.
Blogpost no. 2, 7th October 2019. Ice.
Blogpost no. 2, 26th september 2019. Laundry, worms and other crap.
Blogpost No. 1: 18th september 2019