Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Nurse's Lament

What does Bill Paxton's performance in the movie Alien have to do with NHS Nurses, you ask?

In this clip he sounds just like an NHS general ward RN at the START of her shift. She is going to sound worse after it ends.

When I arrived to work (when I worked in the UK) and found out:
1. That I am going to be forced to take on way more patients that I can handle
2. I'll be the only qualified Nurse for 16 patients who are already either pissed off, or dying, or both.
3. The patients I am assigned are way too critically ill and complicated to be on my general ward, but there they will stay......
4. Bed management is going to slam us with admissions and take staff away even though we are already fucked.
5. The only staff I will have with me are useless clerical types and allied health professionals who will sit at the Nurse's station gossiping all day, really pissing me off.
6. The phone calls from angry relatives will all be directed towards me all day long.
7. The mean doctor who never calls back and just hangs up on us if he does is the one holding the bleep today.
8. The realisation dawns on me that I will be held accountable for anything and everything that goes wrong, happens, gets omitted etc, even though I have no control.
9. In addition to all this, 4 or 5 patients are going to be going off the ward EVERY hour for tests and procedures requiring a Nurse escort. We have two nurses for the entire day.

I come out of handover sounding just like Bill Paxton in the movie Alien. We all sound like this. "Game over, man, game over. What the fuck are we supposed to do now". And then it goes downhill from there.

It's really the most realistic portrayal of medical-surgical RNs talking that I ever saw from the movie industry, and they weren't even trying to depict us.   Both pre and post project 2000 nurses who work on the wards currently sound just like Bill Paxton's alien charactor.  Can you feel his state of mind as he screams "game over man, game over"?  Now picture someone in that state of mind acting "loving, caring, patient, and empathetic". 


Dave said...

When are you going to write a book about this?

Nurse Anne said...

Dave, will get in touch about that. Hows things with you anyway?

Nurse Charli said...

So true.. It's becoming increasingly more difficult to establish "therapeutic relationships" with patients when you are running around struggling to complete necessary tasks, answering phones, answering buzzers and all the other millions of things we're supposed to complete within a shift!

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