I walked down the hall of the hospital after grabbing a cup of coffee to help push through the final hours my shift. It is a generally quiet weekend in the main lobby with minimally audible sounds of screening nurses and visitors answering their questions.
As I stepped toward the elevators, I realized that they still have large photos plastered to the elevator doors of hands opening a lab coat and underneath displaying a heroic logo. I smiled at the reminder of a clever idea during a difficult time, but then the doors opened.
Inside, on a large white heart, a sentiment of “Superheroes Work Here” is displayed. Some additional encouraging words and random profanity have been added with pen, which again causes a smile at the kindness and silliness.
Suddenly, a sense of emptiness washed over me. Sipping my coffee, I think to myself…
“I don’t feel like a superhero…” and I haven’t for a long time.
When skimming the news, how often do you see articles about healthcare providers, hospital overwhelm, increased violence and burnout? It is not uncommon for reports to surface, but I truly believe the general public has been desensitized to this news.
Also, if you haven’t seen it, you could never truly believe it.
Heck, we have become numb to it. This is part of our survival though, as we all have limits to where we can place our concern.
What is the Cause?
Firstly, hospital environments have changed over the past couple of years, but the issues were rising far before the pandemic. If you were to type into a search engine “Violence in Hospitals,” you’ll come across a plethora of articles prior to 2020.
Secondly, mental illness and symptoms of distress are particularly bad in the nursing field. It is worth examining the statistics pulled by the Canadian Nurses Union in 2019. Scarier, yet, when polled in British Columbia, 2020 showed even more concern.
Lastly, the expectation placed on healthcare providers is growing. Between an increase in our knowledge, expanded work roles, higher amount of paperwork to cover changing policies, and quality of care, we are…