Abuse against Nurses

This topic keeps coming up and I just can’t ignore it any longer.  It’s a problem I can assure you.  Every nurse and close relatives of nurses know the abuse we endure every single day.  If you not in it you just don’t understand…. and no one prepares us to deal with it, no one talks about it.  It’s like an unspoken accepted behavior within hospitals.

Literally I just heard the other day about a nurse who was physically and sexually assaulted by a physician at a reputable organization.  What comes of that kind of conduct from a physician?  I bet if I followed up with physician may get counseled and possibly lose his job but it won’t be reported to the board.  It’s frowned upon to report physician’s to the board.  Even when I worked as an Investigator at the board of nursing and it was clearly an MD that was negligent I would send it to the medical board and often times it came back with not going to follow-up on it.  Amazing!

The part that I don’t think that most people realize is that we are the constant in organizations such as hospitals, (I’ve spent most of my career in the hospital so most of my comments will reflect that) so we have to deal with all the ancillary staff from physicians, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioners, medical students, residents, fellows, other nurses, nurses aides, techs, radiology, house keeping, US, families, food service, volunteers….. the list is never-ending.  We, once again as most people don’t realize, are there to protect the patient’s. Our oath, duty lies with doing what’s right for the patient. YET WHO PROTECTS US????!!!!!!

We are part of a team.  There was a great TED talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esugL07XANg) about health care and how in the future we are viewed as part of the team and we are included in healthcare decisions instead of often times treated like the red-headed step children whom “follow doctor’s orders.” Those days have long gone.  Nurses are actually highly educated individuals!  I mean come on seriously what year is it?!  As a critical care nurse for 17 years, I spent the majority of my career in the ICU where I managed critical care patient’s who’s lives depended on my skills, recognition and communication with ancillary staff members.  The MD spent maybe 30 minutes per patient in the ICU and I spent 12.5 hours per day 3 – 4 times per week with that person.  As nurses we spend more time caring for others than we do ourselves and our families and yet we are regarded with so little respect.  Why is that?!  We are repeatedly seen as one of the most trusted people in the world and yet we are abused on so many levels…. THIS ISN’T OK!

A couple of months ago I heard about a nurse in Chicago who was raped and I googled it and sure enough it was true.. and her story wasn’t unique. SHOCKER!  No one talks about this!  An inmate was not being guarded closely and cuffs were left off and the nurse was raped.  The very person whom she was caring for and protecting ABUSED HER.  I have no idea what the organization did for her but I can tell you if she wasn’t employed by a union organization or a union state she got minimal compensation.  That’s if she didn’t sue and as nurses that is not supported conduct.  THIS IS STUFF WE ARE NEVER TALKED TO ABOUT!  In school no one talks about the abuse.  No one talks about having a 4-year-old drown and you’ve never seen a dead child before and having the ER MD berate you and the other nurses for crying because he was hurting and couldn’t stand to see us cry (true story happened to me as a baby nurse).

Once again… bottom line WHO PROTECTS US????  We are 3 million strong in this nation and we must take a stand and protect our rights.  Firefighters, police officers, plumbers, electricians are all protected and pensioned why aren’t we?!!!!!  WE ARE PUBLIC SERVANTS AND DESERVE PROTECTION! WE HAVE JUST AS MANY RIGHTS AS THE PATIENT’S WE CARE FOR DO!