I realize sick people can be pushy and angry and demanding, she does too, but there has gotta be limits on how nasty we can be, and still be human.
With her permission she wrote:
My Christmas was spent at work taking care of sick people. A few highlights of today were:
- our department was so overwhelmed with patients that we didn't get a break - I worked 14 hours and the only time I sat down was when I had to pee
- I listened to people complain about the wait all day and take out their anger on myself and coworker and hear them turn into simpering happy people the moment the doctor walked into the room
- I took care of a drug overdose that when woke up called me every name in the book plus a few more that I didn't know about, fought, kicked, spat - I'm the proud owner of several new bruises, and a sprained wrist.
- patients daughter yelled screamed at us for holding patient - and had the nerve to call the RCMP to report us - hence lots of paperwork - and then daughter ran off when RCMP went to arrest her
- followed by another patient that after waiting 10 minutes proceeded to tell me what a worthless human being I was because the doctor hadn't see them (they came in by ambulance but weren't actually as ill as other patients, despite this being explained, I was again physically threatened, and verbally abused,
- the hospital was suppose to give us a platter of food for nights - our department was completely missed
- and the cherry to this day was coming home to read an email from someone I hadn't talked to in six months rubbing it in my face they were getting married so basically whatever Christmas gift I had gotten was worthless and beaten by their engagement.
- dare I mention I have a cold? And by the end of my shift my coworkers were fearful for my health?
I know the nurses in this province are overworked and life is anything but easy. Systems drive people ruthlessly and the larger the system, the less accountability there is. So we need to humanize the health care system a bit better than we are. And that starts with us.
Yes I know we can get desperate and tired and broken, but so are many of the front line people, like nurses.
Give them a break, cut them some slack, support them, encourage them, bless them, and most of all, just cultivate an attitude of thankfulness for them and their work, rather than sharpening an attitude of entitlement that makes you think you have a right to mistreat them.
To those who are there on days when they would rather be elsewhere, thank you. Because you are there, my life is a good one.