Soliloquy: Death of a nurse

By: Debbie Moore-Black, RN

It’s not what you think. It’s not my actual mortality.
It’s that emotional death.
Of being a nurse.
If you’ve never been a nurse. Then you will never know.
It’s that’s giving of yourself: heart and soul.
Constantly and forever.
It’s not being with your family for Easter or Thanksgiving or Christmas.
It’s not being able to go to the bathroom or even take a 30 minute break in 12 -13 hours.
It’s being surrounded by bully nurses who degrade you, who discount you, who don’t help you during an emergency or help you turn that very large patient.
It’s working side by side with a traveler nurse knowing she/he is making $100/hour while you may make an extra $5 an hour.
It’s knowing your CEO makes $ millions per year not including bonus perks.
It’s your management turning their back on you and leaving you dangerously understaffed, with an unsafe nurse patient ratio.

It’s that month of May, the month to honor nurses every year and receive the obligatory pizza and leftovers for nightshift and those small skittles and lifesavers with cute sayings like “thank you for being a lifesaver” when all along knowing the physicians receive steak and lobster and fine glasses of wine.

It’s that degradation and disrespect for us nurses who have college degrees, incredible professional experience dealing constantly with life and death, performing CPR and code blues and assisting in intubating patients and titrating vasopressors and dialysis and balloon pumps and ECMO….
It’s that mandatory contract with management, with the hospital system, with that ICU or ER or Critical Care unit that you never knew would control your life.

Don’t think that I’m all gloom and doom.
I can’t tell you the every day thrill of working in ER and in ICU. The pure love and thrist for Intensive care nursing. The intricate hemodynamics of the body falling a part and shutting down and working with dynamic and wonderful nurses and physicians.
Being the reason for that patient pulling through the odds. The patient that was suppose to die.
Or holding the hand of that sweet little lady whose dying words are “thank you” as a tear slowly falls down her cheek
As I tremble inside and shed my own tears wishing her a peaceful hereafter.

Of the magnificent heroic selfless nurses and physicians and technicians and Respiratory Therapists who intricately weave this thing called life or death.

I am thankful but I am done.
45 years of this dedicated life and profession.
I see you Hawaii, and Paris, and relentlessly watching the waves at the beach roll in and roll out, the sunset, the snuggle with my pups, the waking up to no agenda but a coffee pot brewing just for me.

Behavioral health nurses sending out a sincere thank you to our Public Safety Officers (PSO’s)

By Debbie Moore-Black, RN

We are nurses in Behavioral Health and we want to thank our Public Safety Officers (PSO’s).
We are nurses. We work in highly dangerous and volatile units at hospitals.
We are not working in a prison.
We work in Behavioral health.
The Intensive Management unit, the adolescent unit, Dual-diagnosis unit and the Behavioral health Emergency Department. We are specially trained to protect ourselves and others with CPI. Which is a mandatory nonviolent crisis intervention training.

We have patients who are schizophrenic, bipolar, drug addicts, with assault charges, domestic violence and rapists.

Again, we are not a prison. Many of these patients come to us angry and hostile, bewildered, voices in their heads to kill, to kill themselves or others, to hurt those who have hurt them. They store irrational thoughts and they lash out randomly.

We have alarms in these units should we feel threatened. We easily can use a phone to call Public Safety stat. Sometimes it’s too late. Sometimes the patients are random.
Nurses and technicians easily can and are assaulted, injured, punched to the ground, beaten on the head.
We end up in the ER ourselves, CAT scans to the brain to show concussions, contusions on the head, dizziness and recurring PTSD of that fist coming at us. Random and unpredictable.

What we are thankful for are our Public Safety officers. Without them protecting us, it would be mayhem. We easily call them stat and they show up to our unit in multitudes.
They protect us from the unpredictable assaults. They are trained and professional. At any given moment, a patient will physically attack Public Safety Officers (PSO’s) with a vengeance.
We can not stand alone in this environment.
Without our PSO’s, we would be an unguarded prison.
A dangerous volatile unsafe workplace.

We came to work in this nursing profession to help the mentally ill. We did not come to work at a prison.
This is a hospital.
PSO’s are our lifeline. We are grateful for them.
Their courage. Their protection and their camaraderie.
Thank you PSO’s for all that you do.
Thank you for our small peace of mind.
This job cannot be done without you.