Less Happy

It’s hard for me to admit this, but a week has actually passed where I did not enjoy work.

This week I switched over to the other hospital in our complex. I’m technically doing internship at two hospitals, so now that I have completed two months in O&G at the one, it’s time to do two months in O&G at the other. And… it’s not the same. The one is an inner-city hospital, the other is a more rural hospital.

But the differences don’t end there.

Even though they are both public hospitals in the same city, they are vastly different. The resources are different. The environment is different. The nursing is so different. I had to operate in size 7 gloves this week, even though I normally take a size 6. I asked the nurses every day to find me smaller gloves, even size 6,5, and they couldn’t be bothered. Eventually I “borrowed” some from another department. Same with needles. We only had 20G needles, and frankly, it’s just inhumane to take blood with those. Eventually I went to the stock room myself to get smaller needles because the nursing staff couldn’t be bothered.

It may be hard for people to understand this, but this problem is not easy to solve because nobody wants to waste their energy. Complaints lodged get ignored. I don’t really feel like explaining the intricacies of the whole situation. Suffice to say it kind of sucks. Bureaucracy and bitterness and I don’t want to get sucked into the vortex of being angry, but not angry enough to do something about it. But I also don’t want to become known as THAT intern because… I still have to work here for half of my internship.

I suppose it’s normal that it would be difficult right after the switch. But it’s hard for me because I loved the first hospital from Day 1. And this one… is just so emotionally exhausting.

Not really sure how else to explain it. If it had started out this way I would have adjusted, but since it started so well, it is difficult to adjust to things suddenly taking a downward turn.

So anyway. That’s me being a downer today.


17 thoughts on “Less Happy

  1. You are 100% allowed to be a downer today. I can absolutely understand the frustrations of apathetic nursing staff and a lack of resources. Absolutely absolutely. I’m sorry that you’re not enjoying your current hospital, especially since you have to spend half of your internship there.

    Sending you love and hugs. ❤ ❤ (SEE YOU SOON)

  2. I’m sorry to hear it’s been a bad week. I wish I could tell you it would get better, but most I can offer is to say I hope it does. Rather, I hope you can find a positive also in that hospital that will give you the strength to push through it.

    I’m curious (though I think I already know the answer): is there any kind of support/mentorship program for you interns where you can get guidance or just blow off steam about these kinds of stuff? It seems to me that something like that is very necessary.

    1. Thanks so much. No, there is no such program but I certainly agree that it is needed. Maybe I should help initiate one. We have a really great group of interns though and we can blow off steam to one another, but a more concrete program would probably work better.

      1. Even an informal support group would be better than nothing at all. But be careful it doesn’t just become a platform for complaining. Active support and encouragement is the key, I think.

  3. Hang in there!! It is hard I know, but your focus is the Patients and how happy the essence of your work (making a difference to someone’s life, and being able to see the result in real time) actually makes you. These walls in the way… they are not meant to keep you in, they are to show you how badly you want something… These walls are meant for other people!! So keep on going!

  4. Sorry to hear the nursing staff is so apathetic. If everyone was focussed on patient care things would be better. What is so fundamentally wrong that the nurses are like this? Are they understaffed?
    Anyway, hopefully things improve and you love work again.

    1. I think they are understaffed, but not nearly as understaffed as the doctors are… the other problem is that they’re working in a very political milieu and that the trade unions meddle a LOT. So I think it’s just a very messy arena, really. Thanks for the encouragement though.

  5. i’m sorry to hear you have landed in a system where the workers themselves are broken–systems have few enough resources, when the human resources are completely burnt out to the point they make life worse for everyone it’s really a shame. you are smartly figuring out what you can do for yourself to make your life better (e.g. find your own gloves that fit)–you will identify the individuals that you can turn to, and find workarounds, but what a shame. when i am in situations like this–when there is no immediate solution, where asking for change will make my life miserable–I start keeping track of what is wrong, and my thoughts for potential solutions. it gives me enough of a sense of control that i don’t lose it. and then bringing that to those in power to make change gives me hope that things can be done differently. Thinking of myself as a participant observor–participating in a system in order to better understand what makes it work/what makes it broken–and writing down my observations gives me the intellectual distance to keep from being emotionally destroyed. and then those observations can serve a purpose in the end.
    it’s okay to say “ouch, that hurts!” when you’re in a situation that’s hurting you. then identify why it hurts and what can be done to make it hurt a little less. sounds like you’re already looking into intern support groups to keep from burning out–way to proactively find solutions! (check out Finding Meaning in Medicine for one popular doctor support group format)
    I’m sorry you’re in this tough work situation. I’m glad you know that healthcare can be delivered differently–and glad that you have the skills (writing, organization, emotional strength) to make it better.

  6. That’s a rough situation. Have you resolved the situation by now or is it still an ongoing problem? There will always be days like this and maybe worst, but if you remind yourself why you love your work and that your helping others, I think it can help ease your frustrations. But like the others’ comments say, you’re allowed to be a downer!

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