Hospital: a business with a cult mentality

Happy Nurse’s Week

I’m doing my favorite thing in the world; sitting through hospital orientation. It’s difficult not only because I loathe orientation, but also because it’s one I’ve sat through under a year ago. *cue internal screaming*

I’ve come to many conclusions about being a nurse and being in the hospital setting.

1) this is a business.
While healthcare, the administration of care, the care of patients and families shouldn’t be a money making scheme; bottom line is it is indeed a business.

While I don’t like it, hospitals have to make money in order to keep the lights on. Frankly, I’d like to get paid for what I do, so the hospital has to bring in cash (however that looks) in order to pay their bills on time. Part of that is part satisfaction and jumping through hoops to accommodate government entities that control reimbursement.

The unfortunate thing, in my humble opinion, is it makes the conversation more about money as opposed to giving good care. It always comes across as doing something so the doors stay open. Perhaps that’s me being jaded.

There have been so many strides and improvements in healthcare in just the decade I’ve been a nurse. Great advances that I’ve seen in my travels that make me excited for how they increase the health and well- being of patients. Healthcare has to morph to accommodate, but I can’t help feeling that some of the brokenness of the system comes down to how much money may or may not be made. It makes it tough to want to continue in the hospital setting because the last person receiving consideration is the nurse.

Which leads to my next point.

2) nursing is a cult.
Or maybe nursing is a cult because hospitals molded us into it? Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

I remember teaching and thinking that. Like the military, we have rules and a way of thinking far different than laymen. We use terms foreign to most people and process that would make no sense outside of the context of nursing. Even within the different specialties, there is language and behaviors we do. I know a little bit about hearts, but if we start talking arrhythmias then I glaze right over. I know some ICU nurses get weird when you start talking about the fundus.

Where I get kinda, antsy is the loss of self or total disregard of person that comes with stepping into a hospital.

You must do this for patient satisfaction and this to keep the doctor happy. What about me as the nurse? We make up the large majority of the hospital work force, but the once yearly recognition of Nurse’s Day with the occasional gift thrown in doesn’t make me feel valuable or important.

I know, I know I talk about this a lot. Part of why I continue traveling is because no where treats nurses with any kind of respect outside of what must be done to make the hospital happy. For all our knowledge base, no initiatives are geared toward making us important components of the process. Not do this, but you are important.

Maybe this has little to do with cult mentality, but maybe it does. It does have everything to do with satisfaction of nurses. We exit the hospital in large numbers and the shortage is real. Why is that? Why is retention and attrition a continued issue in hospital settings? Why is no one really trying to fix it beyond handing out sign on bonuses?

You want longevity and good patient care? Take better care of your nurses. The hospital that gets me to stop traveling will be special and if they have a good retention rate, I’ll call out all the reasons why.

I can’t help coming back to this point over and over. It seems to bother me more than is should and is part of why I’m constantly debating leaving the hospital setting all together.

Back to orientation. Always back to orientation.

Travel on, road warrior

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Temp ACK Girl: Es Su Casa?

End of week 4. My halfway point in Nantucket marked by the start of Wine Festival here on the island.

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This morning’s event that I attended was breakfast on the harbor. A delicious affair where they cook and I eat. Ah, would that I could afford a personal chef as the rest of those in attendance could. A girl can dream…

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On to this week’s topic: housing.

When you travel, housing can be one of the best ways to make money. I’ve noticed I’m not terrible concerned about money as a traveler. I probably should be as it is an inconvenience in a lot of ways the constant moving. There should be a level of compensation tied to that, but at the moment I’m more content with the reward that comes with going to a new places.

As I’ve mentioned, there are different ways to do housing. You find your own, hopefully at a reasonable price, and pocket whatever remains. The other option is to take company housing. This saves you time (they find, lease, and pay the cost including utilities. You move into a fully furnished place with your luggage and are set), but no you’re out the extra money.

Nantucket offers another option: shared hospital housing.

The housing situation on this island is, in a word, crap-tastic. There aren’t enough houses to go around. Many year round islanders rent and end up playing the Nantucket shuffle when tourist season starts in May/June. They have housing until that point (9 month lease) and then they are booted out to make way for tourists who will spend a grand a night to have a place to stay here. It’s a way worse situation than people realize and many long time islanders leave because there’s no security. The tourists sink money into the island, but who’s going to be left to work it if there’s no housing for regular people?

As a traveler, I don’t have to worry too much about where to stay here, but I do have to worry about who I’m paired with in the house. When I pick my own place, I’m much more willing to tolerate a stranger. It’s a little different when you’re made to share with a stranger. The first time I came, I was here 7 months and went through 5 roommates. I got along better with some…

I like to believe I can live with anyone, but I’ve had my share of roommates with some nasty habits. I’m not saying I’m immaculate. It probably doesn’t help that I’m not overly social so I don’t much enjoy sitting in the living room chitchatting with a relative stranger. It’s much easier to form a bond with someone you at least work with or having something in common with, a fact that hospital doesn’t take into account. It’s short term so whatever.

The next assignment has me back in company paid for housing and solo. I’m looking forward to that and once again being close to a Starbucks.

As to where I’m going next… I’m actually not going very far. I’m headed to St. Vincent hospital in Worcester, MA. They are an LDR floor with a separate postpartum unit. They do around 200 deliveries a month so they are busy enough. It’s a full 13 weeks so I’ll have plenty to share about work and the area I’m sure. Even if it’s not the most amazing assignment, I’ll appreciate the experience. I’ll get to work on my circulating skills again and be near a Starbucks. Haha

I’m finding it much easier to start over. Even with the irritation that is orientation, I find familiar places unsettling. There’s no novelty in the familiar, nothing to be learned. It’s almost like I’ve conditioned myself to find reward in conquering the fear that comes with the unknown. I’m ready to conquer new things now.

Until the next new thing…

Travel on, road warrior.

Week 2: Hi, I’m CC and I live in a hotel

Almost finished with my second week here and I’m flying solo.

They are so much busier here! I mean, I’m walking upwards of 12K steps a shift (which is something like 5 or 6 miles of walking).

This is an LDR (Labor, Delivery, and recovery) floor with a separate postpartum. They have a high level NICU and they call a nursery nurse to assess their babies after delivery. It can go from crazy to slow to crazy again in seconds. I wear compression socks and gel soles in my shoes because I’m moving so much.

I’ll not give my opinion of the place so much as the people. I’m loving how friendly everyone is at this hospital. Willing to teach me to circulate, answer questions, and help me. The high flow can be off putting, but I’m still feeling okay. I know L&D and I’ll just have to continue showing that knowledge.

I’m still in that stage where I have to introduce myself to everyone.

“Hi, I’m CC and I’m a traveler. No, you don’t have to call me Canea (mostly because you’ll butcher my given name). I’m from the east coast and I drove here from West Virginia (not the same state as Virginia). I’m staying in a hotel just down the road.”

Responses go like this:

How long you been doing this?
You drove all the way out here??
They put you up in a hotel???

Ha!

There are two housing options that you have if you travel. Your company provides a fully furnished place of some type OR you take a weekly housing allowance and find your own place.

I’ve done it both ways, but when I travel out to California I let my company do the housing negotiating. This time I opted to let them book me in a hotel.

I know what you’re thinking…

“A hotel? For 3 months?? Are you crazy?”

Free breakfast every day
Room cleaning service
Free access to a full service gym
I’m right by the beach
There’s a hot tub and pool
Cable/internet provided
There’s a nightly happy hour with snacks
And I don’t have to pay a cent out of pocket.

Do you make more money finding your own housing? Yes! But I’m all about low stress when it comes to housing because cali is notorious for being expensive.

How you navigate housing is something to be decided on an assignment by assignment basis. It’s about what you can handle and the money you want to make.

While you’re sorting that out, I’ll be over here enjoying my hot tub and freshly made bed.

10 weeks left!

Travel on, road warrior.