Sunday, March 8, 2009

Stuck in My Craw: My Response to a Facebook Group

In honor of Mom's Nurse Cadet class Mercy Hospital School of Nursing 1944

I'm ticked, I'm PO'd, I'm angry! But mostly I'm confused. I'm a registered nurse and have been for 31 years, 99% of that at the bedside. I take my job seriously, very seriously. That's not to say I don't find it fun or enjoy some relationships with coworkers and those I care for but for the most part taking care of those who need nursing care is serious business. The patient/client/customer wouldn't be there if they didn't need us. They have entrusted their physical being and their psyche to us at a most vulnerable time and what do we do in return. We create and join Facebook groups like I'm Your Nurse Not Your F***ing Maid. Not only am I ticked, PO'd, angry and confused, I'm astounded!

I admit there are times when I have had to go to the breakroom and let off some steam or retreat to the bathroom to scream or cry. Some people are very demanding, some people are next to impossible to please. That's the nature of working with people, especially sick people. Hey, I'm not exactly Suzi Buttercup when I'm scared and in pain! But do we want our response as a profession (and I use that term loosely here) to be public humiliation of our client base?

Can you imagine physicians having a public group like this? How about Social Workers or Physical Therapists? Where is the win in that?

We are in the midst of a healthcare crisis and the level of public mistrust in the system is without precedent. Historically, nurses have been the frontline in healthcare and yes, it is often a tough place to be. Do we want an already mistrustful public to be even more so?

To nurses I say, read that Facebook page as the daughter of an aging, demented parent, the father of a sick child, the wife of a husband dying of cancer. Are the people who would publicly expose and humiliate vulnerable patients those you would want caring for your family? Is that the face we want on our profession?

To my future patients: Please don't link me to that group or think that they represent all nurses. I honor my place in what I hold as the profession of nursing and I honor you. And while we may not see eye to eye throughout our nurse-patient relationship, we can respect each other.

If you're a nurse, use the Comments to tell me what you think.

I read a lot of blogs but very few by nurses or about nursing because they tend to be b***h fests which does nothing to improve me or my nursing care. I do read some really good healthcare blogs so if you want to see some of the best healthcare has to offer, checkout a few of these:
Running a Hospital
Nurse Ratched's Place
The Happy Hospitalist
Movin' Meat
ImpactED Nurse
Tales of Midwifery-The Truth

A nurse is the most profound fulcrum between the patient and the care they require. And it is the intimacy of the bedside nurse that effects the most powerful leverage of all. – ian miller (ImpactED


  1. I just have to say I SO appreciate what you do. I landed in the hospital for a week a few years ago due to a complication from what was supposed to be an outpatient surgery.

    I could not BELIEVE what wonderful nursing care I received. Not just the medical stuff, but the caring and support I received was just way beyond what I thought nurses had time for.

    One day, after I had been stuck in my bed for about 4 days without a real shower or anything, one of the nurses came by and asked me if I wanted her to wash my hair with this no-water shampoo stuff.

    That was the single most memorable event of my whole "stay". She knew that had more to do with me feeling good than any of that stuff in the IV's or painkillers or blood tests. That particular act of compassion is something I'll always remember.

    I imagine the patient to nurse ratio has only gotten worse for nursing in the past few years, which is probably adding huge amounts of stress to the profession. I appreciate the professionalism of your post and think I would be lucky to land in your ward if I were ever hospitalized again!

  2. Judy,
    Wow I' missed this post but now I'm glad I read it. I've been a nurse for 24 years and I totally agree with you. We all have our days where our patience runs thin. We're not saints! But to go public with something like that is just unfathomable! ...
    Thanks for posting this.

  3. I agree with you as well. I had no idea that FC group existed! It's really horrible and completely unprofessional. It makes me sad that many nurses have lost what it really means to be a nurse. I think that administration doesn't help either by putting too much stress/responsibility on their nurses making them feel over worked and unappreciated. I feel that way now at my current job but I certainly would never allow that to show through to my patients.

    Thanks for sharing this.