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.

7 thoughts on “Soliloquy: Death of a nurse

  1. A mere “thank you” seems not enough for your many years of sacrifice and dedication.
    Wishing you the best years of your life ahead of you.
    Godspeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Debbie,
    You are the best of the best!
    I always loved taking or giving you report.
    You were incredibly competent, loving and professional. I wish you well in your retirement.
    Much love,
    Jan White (from the ol’ Mercy Hospital)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very true for all medical professionals. As part of the medical team as Registered Respiratory Therapist, Neonatal-Pediatric Specialist for over 40 years, we have relied on the nurses to do our jobs effectively. With the current staffing shortage, there may only be one RRT in the entire 30-80 bed hospital for 12-hours. We rely on nursing services to help us determine, where we are needed the most. Thanks, Debbie for your summarization, it’s true everywhere. Doctors always get the steaks and fine beer in my hospital system. Administrators over $1 million yearly, travelers $60-100. per hour, with weekly $1,000. Per diems. Regular staff minimum pay, unless you chose to work full-time hours as a PRN staff member. Thank-you to all RN’s and you Debbie. Enjoy your retirement.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My words exactly…43 years and I am done. It’s mostly not the taking care of patients, but the administrative tricks. Everything you said in your text. We had 2 CEOs for a while. One made 10 million and the other 11 million. Seriously. We are no longer allowed to celebrate nurses week, might make the other disciplines feel bad. We are now all lumped into caregivers week. Seriously. We cannot have a celebration of any kind if a staff member leaves for a new opportunity. We cannot celebrate people leaving, only people coming. Seriously. Just so disheartening.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Not always celebrating, because we love our career choices, just not the office politics that hinder or jobs. I retired for 2-years, now back to what I loved, PRN supposedly, with almost FT hours.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I thank the Lord that a part of you has survived these last two years of Covid hell. To thank you for all you’ve given is completely inadequate. Instead I will wish you healing as you enjoy those pups, those waves, those Paris evenings. I hope you can be completely in the present, in pure joy, at least for a while. Save the bad memories for later. Enjoy now with all your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

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