Nursing Voices

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Stepford Nurses

Two of my nursing colleagues were sitting at the nurses station the other day while having a conversation about things going on at the hospital. The first nurse said that she was frustrated about how new hospital rules are making it harder for nurses to give quality patient care. She said that she had been thinking about things, and that she’s unhappy because the new policies don’t make any sense. The second nurse quipped, “You would be a lot happier if you just stopped thinking.”

Perhaps unhappy nurses should take a lesson from the Stepford wives. Imagine a hospital filled with mindless, Stepford type nurses, blindly following hospital policies. Everyone would be happy. Nurses would gladly work double shifts, every weekend and holidays, and never request a day off. No one would use their critical thinking skills, and nurses would never protest about poor working conditions or about how patients are being shortchanged by the health care system. The creation of such a nurse would be a hospital administrator’s dream.

Maybe I should keep my mouth shut. I don’t want to give someone any ideas.


Blogger Iris said...

It never ceases to amaze me how it sounds like you could be writing from my hosptal. the problems must be universal

10:00 AM  
Blogger angry male nurse said...

Never ceases to amaze me.
Nurses are their own worst enemy.

11:45 AM  
Blogger angry male nurse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:47 AM  
Blogger angry male nurse said...

Sorry iris, didn't mean to blatantly rip off your "never ceases to amaze", I was just stupefied by ANOTHER example of a nurse practicing gross self flagelation.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Smalltown RN said...

I too work with nurses like that....who think if we don't say anything it will all just go away and be all nicey nice.....NOT! If I am not going to stand up for patient care who will. Great post once again.

Thank you for your comments on my blog. You know I stopped by your blog this morning but couldn't find the strength to leave a message. My whole sister thing has thrown me for the most unexpected loop. I think I actually had an anxiety attack this morning and had to put myself back to bed. Thank you so much for your kind words!

1:04 PM  
Blogger Bohemian Road Nurse... said...

I had been working on a blog post with a similar thread about such conditions in the road nurse world when I got the flu. Hopefully I will get it posted when I beat this bug...aargh. (Thank you for your note!)

2:53 PM  
Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

I should think nurses come up against so much red tape.

4:50 PM  
Blogger jaz said...

Voluntary pay cuts would also help admin out a whole bunch.

Remember, the more they keep expenses under budget, the bigger their bonuses!!!

5:30 PM  
Blogger JustCallMeJo said...

You must secretly work at my hospital, too, MJ.

The baffling thing about it is that so many of these Great Policies come from upper-echelon they not remember what it's like? Have they actually walked out onto the floors lately? Who are these people and where are they?

7:38 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

you are starting to really scare me!

10:48 PM  
Blogger Ian said...

Will you please stop giving the management new ideas.

they have enough "ideas" of their own, which usually do not work

7:06 AM  
Blogger poody said...

Just like the director of the PACU I used to work said" Just like the people who work at Disneyland, they aren't really Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty they are merely palying a role and that is how we need to be here. This is a role we play so act accordingly!" No kidding!When I told her that unlike the people who play characters at a theme park this was real life and I was a nurse not simply pretending to be one! She also told me it was nurses with attitudes like mine that was causing the nursing shortage!Yea, it was all me people! Because before I pointed out how crappy a job being a nurse was apparently everyone was okay with the long hours,no respect from Drs,intense working environment, and lousy pay. Damn me !

11:18 AM  
Blogger SQT said...

I used to work as a school teacher and I think that profession suffers from the same lack of common sense. Like nursing, teachers not only have to deal with their administrators, but with the public as well. Being a Stepford-anything would be so much easier than agonizing over all the BS. In fact, I bet my kids wouldn't mind a Stepford-mom.

9:07 PM  
Blogger Betsy Baumgartner said...

Ahhh, the Stepford nurses. Can you imagine the chaos? Leaving doctors to fend for themselves? I wonder what would happen without anyone double checking the residents.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

I would INSIST on wearing a cap, at least. I mean, really! : D

8:03 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

putting your brain in a box would be good (especially at home)...if it didn't compromise patient care, that is....

5:36 AM  
Blogger JB-RN said...

Somewhere along with being the care giver, and patient advocate, we've taken on the role as the scapegoat.- it was the nurse's fault. there is also the attitude in the health care settings "we can just let the nurses do that" - for every new intervention we take on, another one is displaced. if you look at the other disciplines, such at pt, ot, resp., social work, radiology, ect. they're not running around like a bunch of frazzled lunitics.nursing is a profession that should be done in a deliberate, conscientious manner. i say we need a "rate your nursing job" website, where nurses can leave feedback and rate their present employer. this will empower nurses and give them a heads-up when considering a new joband steer good nurses away from bad employers. there is a "rate your professor" website which is a godsend to students choosing courses. now we need one for nurses!

1:30 PM  

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