Yesterday was one of my normally scheduled 12-hour work days. I punched in at 6:58am, with a whole 2 minutes to spare. I say this because I walk a couple of blocks to work with my travel mug of coffee, a lunch bag, and lately an umbrella because the fall so far in Northern Michigan has been quite wet.
I go to get report, and find out I'm to take care of this patient who has been in the hospital for 40-some days post-surgery. Needless to say, he's had some complications. Because of the nature of HIPPA, I can't go into much detail about him, but the more interesting component is his very involved wife. Maybe involved isn't the right word, but I'm sure many of the other nurses out there have encountered some overbearing family member who thinks they are trying to help, but really makes you want to strangle them. While helping this patient in the bathroom, requiring myself, one of my coworkers, a walker, a gait belt, and strength beyond what we possessed, helped the patient stand. While doing what we do in the bathroom, the Mrs. said, "How about a courtesy flush?" So my coworker stopped what she was doing, to flush the toilet, and then return her focus to the patient struggling to stand. What was she doing in the bathroom with the 3 of us anyway? She felt the need to supervise us because we weren't competent to wipe an ass? Anyway, this is just ONE example of the directions I received during my 12-hour shift, not to mention, I had another patient.
Don't get me wrong, I do love my job. I love being able to make a difference, bond with patients, help them recover from a very intense, life-saving surgery, but sometimes it is mentally exhausting. Sure there might be a "Thank you" here and there for returning with a fresh ice water or warm blanket, but there's never a thank you for wiping an ass or dealing with an overbearing family member. I know that it's the nature of the work, that nurses often share a feeling of underappreciation, but it doesn't mean that we don't want to feel appreciated from time to time.