It has been a little bit since I sat down to write this. First I was going to write about fixing satisfaction scores. Cliché at best. Then I was going to do a more Halloween theme prank blog, but didn’t seem to fit. So, I took a vacation. Went to Hawaii and tried to figure out what people wanted to hear about in yet another nursing blog. I mean, let’s be honest, there are a ton of nursing blogs and there is only so much that can be covered. But, I refuse to give up. I refuse to think that I am unable to come up with something that is unique. Then it hit me this weekend.
I sat in auditorium just about two months ago listening to a presentation on suicide and PTS amongst healthcare workers. There were probably 200 people in the room when the statistic that 1 out of every 20 of us in the room has had some sort of suicidal ideation. I looked around the room and hoped no one looked at me. Truth be told, I have been there. I know you are sitting there reading this thinking, not me, nursing can never make me want to kill myself. Totally false.
Ever heard of Kim Hiatt, RN? A nurse who made a single medication error. Gave 1.4 g of Calcium Chloride inside of 140 mg to an 8-month-old. She ultimately reported herself, was fired and when she couldn’t find a job, she killed herself. Horrible for a 25-year nurse. It does happen and can happen to you because we are human and often we don’t let others in.
To say this job doesn’t affect us, and for this statement, I am going to remove the label of RN, this is all inclusive to all public servants, EMS, Fire, Police, Nurses, Doctors…to say this job doesn’t affect us, we are lying to ourselves. We walk away from our jobs everyday having been changed. We have helped someone or we lost someone.
The statistics are scary when you look at them. 300-400 physicians committing suicide per year, 9.6% of all nurses having a major depressive episode in their life, know that nurses are 0.11 out of every 100 suicide deaths in the country. It is frightening to think about it. You sit there and wonder how did we get there.
It is no secret that I have jokingly stated that Twitter was a free therapy zone. In truth, I wasn’t kidding. It is that one spot for me that people that have the same issues can come together just a little bit to talk about that one patient that might have made you feel like you failed. No nurse is safe and no department is above any other department. I work in the ER. I love my work there. I see the best of humanity and the worst of humanity and everything in between. It isn’t the drug seekers and problem patients that make the job hard. It is that first pediatric code you work or walking down a hallway with a child in your arms as you rush him into a room hoping that you can make a save. It is the dark things that we see that affect us the most. It is in those dark moments that we find that we need to reach out.
Of course, there is HIPAA. I am not saying break the law. You don’t have to. But know that we aren’t alone and that there is assistance and support out there.
I want to make sure that this message is said before the holidays. That we continue to reach out to each other. That we continue to pay attention to one another.
I cherish all of you because you are my therapy and my friends.