What Happened to the CARE in Healthcare?


I chose to become a nurse 12 years ago because I wanted to help people.  I pictured myself at the patient’s bedside caring for and comforting them.  I saw myself sitting there holding their hand when they were scared and just needed someone to talk to.  Patients are in the hospital because they are sick and in need of help.  If they could care for themselves they would be at home.


Then I became a nurse.  I learned to pass meds quickly because there are so many of them and they are due at so many different times.  Then there is all the education you have to provide the patient.  Is it my fault that one patient is in so much pain that they cannot understand what I am trying to teach them, and another patient just got their pain meds and they do not care about anything at the moment.  What do you mean the patient did not understand the education I gave them?  I taught them because I documented that I did.  (I have found that most people learn better when they have the question, and are ready to hear the answer, not when I find it convenient to throw it at them.)


The biggest surprise for me when I became a nurse was the small amount of time I had for each patient.  I remember one night I asked my patient if they were in pain and I literally prayed silently that they would say no because I did not have time to get them anything.  Then there is the charting.  I bothers me that the government has enforced on hospitals this idea that if it is not charted it was not done.  They enforce this by not paying if it is not charted in the exact way they want.


My question is: if the nurse is doing all this charting who is caring for the patient.  If there is a bad patient outcome all these extra people pore over the chart to make sure everything was charted properly and at the right time.  Where were all these extra people when the patient needed help?  Now, I do not fault a hospital for having all these extra people whose job it is to look at charts.  These people are needed to cut through all the red tape so that they can eventually get pennies on the dollar for the care that was provided for the patient.


I believe that if something is mandated or required it no longer has to be good.  It doesn’t even have to work right.  Take computerized charting for example.  The government mandates it and requires all hospitals to get it.  Now, as far as the company making the program is concerned, who do they have to make happy?   That is why I think these programs are so great at being able to sort through massive amounts of data and compiling any of hundreds of different reports.  The other day we repeatedly tried sending a fax to a unit and it kept saying the line was busy.  When we called the unit they said they were getting a patient and a fifty page fax was coming through… 50 pages?  Since these programs can do this so well, the government is happy and it doesn’t matter that the nurses and doctors spend so much time and have so much difficulty using the system.


It is easy to stand back and blame the hospital you work at for the fact that the Care is missing in health care.  Hospitals should be a place you can come to in a time of need even if you do not have money.  Unfortunately, with all the extra staff required to get through the red tape, and all the expensive unfunded mandates the government imposes on hospitals, they have to make collecting money a priority.  If I am honest, even with all my ideals and wanting to spend all this time with patients, I do not work for free.


What if the government got away from paying for charting and went back to paying for care.  If that happened I believe the care would come back because hospitals could afford to hire more people to care for the patients since they would not have to have so many people caring for the charting.


Veteran Fired for not getting Shot.

Mandatory flu shot