After wanting a smartphone for years, and after trying to convince my husband why I just NEEDED one for just as long, I finally got one. Is it something that makes me wonder how I ever lived without one? No, but I do enjoy some of the fun apps you can download. Mainly because they help occupy my kids when I need a minute or two of silence or when we're stuck somewhere waiting for something.
Being a nurse, and a free app lover, you can imagine my delight when I saw a banner ad for a game called "Hospital Story." In the game, you are a doctor who provides treatments for all the sick and wounded patients who come into the emergency room. Within the game, you earn coins for each patient you successfully treat (magically, they are all able to pay cash at the time of service), and with those coins you may purchase additional technology, purchase additional "beds" or stations, and hire more doctors and nurses to assist you.
When the game started out, I was able to make sure all the patients got what they needed, each one did not have to wait in line for a bed, and they did not have to wait in line for the cashier when finished. As the game progressed however, the patients came in faster and faster and there were not enough beds. If I didn't get to them in time, they would die (and become cute little ghosts) or they would get impatient and leave without paying.
I thought the answer would be to upgrade each one of the patients and add more beds with my coins. The patients kept coming and coming and were dying off right and left. Finally, I realized that I was able to hire additional doctors and nurses. The number of unhappy patients was drastically cut. Which made me realize --- no matter how much technology we have at our fingertips, no matter how big our facility is, we cannot succeed as nurses unless we work together as a team.
Now this doesn't seem like a groundbreaking idea, does it? But I have worked in places where we all worked in our own little silo during our shift. If a call light went off and it wasn't "our" patient, we went about our own business...and just like in the game, the patients suffered. But I have also worked in a place where the staff all worked together as a team. Even though we were not assigned a particular patient, we cared for all the patients. If I was busy in a room, I knew my co-worker would escort my other patient to the restroom if he needed to go. I. Never. Felt. Alone. Someone always had my back. And I had hers. And I felt good about going to work each night.
When I worked on units that did not have the same team spirit, it was miserable. I would cry every time I thought about going in to work. And of course, I don't do that job anymore, either.
So think about your work environment. Do you have a sense of teamwork between you and your co-workers? Or is it every nurse for her/himself? If so, it might be time to talk with your nurse manager about it. There are lots of team building exercises, staff retreats, etc. that can be effective if everyone will buy into it. And if your boss isn't on board, think about organizing a "nurses night out" for the staff members who don't have to work...but schedule it more than once so everyone can get a chance to attend. Go to a movie. Go bowling. Whatever. Just get to know each other, be nice to each other, and develop friendships that will strengthen the team and make for a much more enjoyable job. I hope it can work out for you.
Here's where I give my shout out to my girls at Ball Memorial Hospital Inpatient Oncology Nurses! You are an amazing team, I love you, and I miss working with all of you so much!!