Tales From The Field: The Frustrations of Being A Nurse


<h3>The Frustrations Of Being A Nurse</h3>

I was having dinner the other night with a friend talking about general health and discussing ideas for a fitness and nutrition website I run.  In short, I was trying to think of ways to better connect with readers.  

“Keep it simple,” she said.

“Well what do you mean by that?” I asked

“People don’t care about the differences between omega-3 versus omega-6.  You need to keep it simple,” she replied.

I let out a big sigh.  <b>But they should care<b>, I thought.

I first got into the health field after I took a basic biology class in college and was amazed by how things work inside the body.  Originally, I wanted to go into the field of nutrition but I wanted a more hands on approach – so I went the route of earning my RN license instead.

<h3>Healthcare Is A Frustrating Field</h3>

I’ve found my career path to end up as a RN in the emergency department but my main passions in life are still nutrition and fitness.  It’s amazing to me what those two things can do for a person when it  comes to disease prevention.  Yet, people don’t care.

<h3>The Quick Fix Mentality</h3>

The emergency department can be a frustrating place to work.  Don’t believe me?  Try doing some volunteer work there for an extended amount of time.  You get to see first hand what the SAD (Standard American Diet) can do to a person.   It’s not just the SAD but the amount of lack of caring that people have for themselves.

<b>The story goes something like this:</b>

Forty year old overweight male admitted for extremely high blood sugar levels with an official diagnosis of new onset diabetes.  After an in depth conversation with the patient about everything going on with his body the patient asks,  <b>”can I have a soda?”</b>

Sometimes I want to scream.

The patient gets a quick fix of a fluid bolus and insulin to bring his blood sugar levels down to a normal level before he’s whisked away to the floor upstairs and gone from the emergency department and out of my care.  Upstairs he’ll likely remain in the hospital for a couple more days while the medical doctors continue to watch his blood sugar levels and (if the nurses upstairs care enough – or have the knowledge base) will educate the patient further on the disease process of diabetes.

The patient will be discharged with a packet of educational materials and his new prescriptions of either insulin or oral diabetic medications.  He’ll be told to follow up with his primary care physician to manage his new disease.   <b>Little goes into actually telling him that he could drastically improve his insulin sensitivity by losing weight and altering his diet</b>.

<h3>A Familiar Face</h3>

A couple of weeks go by.  I’ve forgotten about the patient by now and it’s work as usual for me in the emergency department.  Except I see a familiar face when I look into this room.  The same overweight male is back.  He’s here for the same thing:  <b>extremely high blood sugar levels</b>.

“What happened?” I ask.  His response is something that we regularly see.  “I wasn’t taking my medication.”

Sigh.  He then asks, “Can you get me a soda?”  Double sigh.

<b>This is what it’s like to be a nurse.</b>  Occurrences like this happen on a daily basis in the emergency department.  It’s not just limited to diabetes either.  There’s the other biggie – cardiovascular disease.  That reminds me of the patient the other day who was being seen for chest pain for the third time.  After the patient learned that they were going to be admitted for observation a family member asks, <b>can I bring her some McDonald’s from across the street?<b>

Double sigh.

Maybe my friend is right – they should care.  But they don’t.

Matt is an ER nurse and founder and writer of <a href=”http://yourlivingbody.com”>Your Living Body</a> where he writes about health, fitness, nutrition, and other things pertaining to your body. 

Matt at Your Living Body
I began my career as a Registered Nurse in May of 2011 after spending time as a Certified Personal Trainer and learning additional nutritional training through San Diego State University. I spent twenty years of my life living in Hawaii gaining an appreciation for the outdoors and have since been living in Southern California. I am a fitness enthusiast, outdoor fanatic, and believe nutrition is the foundation that your life is built upon.

When I'm not spending time working a traditional hospital job I spend my time helping to empower others with the information necessary for healthy living via my website, Your Living Body.