10 Things I will Miss from Bedside Care Nursing: Reflections as I move to an Administrative Role

My colleagues have been quite upset with the fact that I don’t plan on working PRN in bedside care. Some of them feel I wasting my nursing degree to move away from bedside care and into informatics. I will miss many things about bedside care nursing, but I know that I will be able to much better serve patients in my new role as a Clinical Informatics Specialist.

  1. The instant trust that a patient gives you just because you were assigned to them.
  2. The honesty and trust that I am afforded simply because of initials that follow my name. There are some patients that lie, but most are honest and trust me to use the information they give me only for their medical care.
  3. The enlightening conversations about religion and personal values that I’ve participated in with patients.
  4. Getting post-it notes describing bodily functions and having it be entirely professional and appropriate.
  5. Helping a patient go from helpless to hopeful.
  6. The bitter sweetness of getting called-off for low census and receiving in R-day. (Get out of work free card)
  7. The sense of accomplishment after completing a particularly difficulty nursing task whether it be a dressing change, complex and involved linen change/bed bath/poop clean, or a rolly-vein successful IV stick.
  8. Problem solving with physicians and helping to remedy patients problems and concerns.
  9. The ballet that is a rapid-response of code. (While I NEVER wanted to participate in a code, I have always been some impressed with the teamwork exhibited by healthcare providers in this ultimate time of need.
  10. Being the only Nerd around. I have taken a secret joy in being the go-to tech person. Many nurses fear technology, as one who embraces and loves all things geeky, I am usually the go to person for purchasing advice, broken computers, and EMR issues. It will be odd and humbling to not be the only person who can/wants to help with these matters.

Bedside Care Nursing has been an Honor

I have had the honor being involved with people in their most vulnerable states. I have done my very best to treat every patient with the utmost respect and dignity and provide them with the best care possible. I have laughed with them, cried with them, been frustrated with them, been surprised and impressed with them. I have enjoyed the rollercoaster that is nursing. And I will continue to ride this train, just in different car.

I won’t pretend that I am not thrilled with my new role, and I don’t anticipate having any regrets in leaving bedside care. In fact, in 10 years my back will likely be thanking me for not breaking it while lifting patients. I wish that others nurses could see that what I will be doing in healthcare is important and will make a difference in patients lives. It will make a difference in their lives. I hope I can continue to call myself a nurse without fear of persecution because I don’t perform bed baths and med passes on a daily basis any more.

Old Fashioned Nurse

imagePatient care is something I am good at. When I told a very well respected surgeon that it was my last day on the floor, and at that hospital he replied “I hope you don’t plan to leave bedside care forever.” I was honored by this. He is an incredibly talented surgeon and I truly feel that God works through his hands. For him to be concerned about “losing a great nurse” was such a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and gratification. If I somehow made an impact and impression on him, and he thought I was great, then I must have been doing something right. Call me old-fashioned, but I still offer the doctors my pen, my computer, my chair, and a cup of coffee in the morning. They help me provide excellent care to patients, and I have gotten their mutual respect and appreciation for these simple gestures. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’d rock and cap and wear white, if they wouldn’t laugh me out of the place. There are just some traditions I really respect and admire.

Caring for the Chart

There are a million more tiny things that I will miss, and I’m sure I will remember often the great responsibility and honor it was to nurse patients at the bedside. I hope that I can help others fulfill this task in the most efficient and productive manner possible with my work on the ERM systems. My nursing goal is to help the nurses care for the patient and not for the chart, and consequently, I’ll be doing a lot of caring for the chart myself. I look forward to helping nurses use technology to provide the best possible patient care. I hope they don’t think of me as one of those people “Who doesn’t work the floor.” I’ve been in the trenches, and I don’t intend to forget what it is like to care for a patient with my own two hands.

24 thoughts on “10 Things I will Miss from Bedside Care Nursing: Reflections as I move to an Administrative Role”

  1. I love your post. I hope this blog is still active..? I have been at the bedside for 25 years. I just took a part time job in informatics. I am excited but share the exact same feelings as your story. I was also approached by a well respected cardiologist who told me”I hate to see you go, you are an excellent clinician and will be missed..” Ugh. Heart sank. I plan to take my two old fashioned nurse statues (they are little) to work and put them on my cubicle shelf 🙂 how has it been, are you still in NI?

  2. Very nice post – just remember, its a two-way street and you can always visit. Admin was too frustrating for me, I’ve tried it: I’m an idea guy & not so good at compromising ideals – mandatory for success in any organization, but hard for me – I’ve got “stick it to the man” deeply ingrained in my DNA, a McGregor thing perhaps. Nevertheless, I’m in a similar transition, into academia. Nice thing so far? On clinical rotations, I can offer patients education and support if and when I choose, with much greater autonomy than I’ve ever enjoyed on staff. Still, I work often, to stay engaged and pay those pesky bills.

  3. I too have made the leap from bedside care to admin work and now doing a bit of both. Now that I have returned to the bedside I am really shocked by the amount of documentation that a nurse needs to complete daily because if he or she “didn’t document it, then it didn’t get done”. They say that a nurse spends 1/3 of their day charting. Wouldn’t it be great if that time was spent helping the patient in other ways? Even the simple act of just being there at the bedside to listen, to hold a hand, or provide the patient with just an extra touch of care . Yet instead the nurse must finish the care plans, documention of patient education, fall scales, hourly assessments, and the list on. How great that someone who has spent time in the trenches can help to make the the clinical documentation more fluid, efficient, and still keep administration and the regulatory bodies happy. Oh wait, did we even mention patient safety in all of this? Does the clinical documentation specialist care for 6 patients a day or 600 hundred patients and the nurses, doctors, pharmacists, respiratory therapist who do ? Nerdy nurse, I hope you are doing well in your role and while the rewards may not be as immediate as they were at the bedside, your work in essential to the healthcare team and the patients we serve. Your passion for nursing is evident and you make us proud as a RN, “real’ nurse

    1. Stacie,

      Thank you for your thoughtful and honest comment.
      I am humbled and honored to hear that I make you proud.

      I strive every day to make navigating the electronic charting system easier and more efficient for nurses. I want technology to improve and make care easier, not irritated and annoy nurses.

      I am fighting the good fight, along with many other nurses, but we need more of us in the IT and EMR world to make the impact we need!

  4. It sounds like you are very passionate about what you do. I made the transition from doing a lot of clinical (psychology) work to doing only research. And then I started writing a blog about some of the clinical work I used to do (stress management)!

    1. Passion is definitely something I am not lacking in!
      Blogging is a fantastic way to share that passion with the world. I hope that you’ve found as much enjoyment and enrichment out of yours that I have had in mine.

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  6. Great insight into the move. I’m sure the transition will have its ups and downs. Just remember that the grass is always greener on the other side. So, make the most of what you have. It’s a great time to be part of healthcare informatics.

  7. I recently left ICU nursing for case management, and I got most of those same comments from nurses and doctors. People would say to me “But aren’t you going to miss this? Do you think you’ll still feel like a nurse after you move into the corporate environment”? I would say this to my coworkers back then, and it still holds true today: “There are things I (will) miss, and also things I know I definitely won’t miss.”
    Some of the things I do miss are:
    -the incredibly powerful and humbling humanity you see on a daily basis
    -that sense of accomplishment you talked about when accomplishing tricky technical skills
    -having the doctor’s ear and trust, and being able to improve the care a patient was getting so easily
    -sleeping in every single day (I worked evening shift)
    -wearing comfy scrubs & having all of my tools right at hand in my scrub pockets
    -the sense of being charge on PM’s, and organizing the chaos in the face of umpteen admissions and then having it all set by the time night shift came in for a nice smooth transition, so the chaos didn’t carry over onto their shift.
    -my confidence and ability to think on my feet.
    -being able to eat most anything I wanted (I gained 25 lbs in the first 4 months after I left bedside & switched to a desk job)

    Here are some things I won’t miss about the bedside environment:
    -missing so many weekends and holidays and family birthdays while at work
    -the bullying by a certain few
    -the intense cattiness (it is still there, but less intense)
    -being called several times per day, all hours of the day and night, asking me to always work more and more hours
    -being put on call so much that I didn’t have a consistent paycheck.
    -having to stay late when emergencies happened, and they happened often. The week before we bought our house, this happened almost every night, and I barely got to pack until the night before.

    One interesting thing is that I left bedside in part because of the bullying. I was very very honest in my confidential exit interview (done by a contracted third party company). Within 3 weeks after I chose to leave, my boss, one of the bullies, was pushed out. Four months later, the other extreme bully transferred to another unit, because I was told that the new boss wouldn’t put up with her bullying. As with all jobs, there are things I love and things I hate about my new job. The commute of 2 hrs each way is one thing I hate, but it should get better after I am allowed to work from home after 9 mos. But even though the bullies are gone now, I really have no desire to go back to working there any time soon. Ironically, I feel like I am in a better place now because of the bullying than I ever would have been if not for the bullying.

    1. A 2 hour commute!??!?! Mine is just a little bit over a hour (53 miles) and it’s already driving me nuts after 1 week!
      I am so glad that you will be able to work from home after 9 month, though. That will certainly take some of the sting out of the it!
      There is something about nurses and bullying that is so much worse than in any other profession. Why do we do this to ourselves?
      I’m only a week in at the new gig, but so far it’s been a bully-free zone. Personalities are everyone, but one one has seemed mean or pushy.

  8. It doesn’t sound like you’ve burned any bridges, so you can always go back if you get tired of tech. Good luck!

    1. Very glad I didn’t burn any bridges. I had to call and ask a big favor with my last paper check, and they gladly obliged with the response by the director of human resources: “Brittney, you may want to come back here one day. You’re still our family.” It made me so happy to hear, even though I really doubt that possibility. I need to grow, and my roots were awfully cramped in that planter!

  9. That bedside experience will be a benefit. I heard a lot of “you understand what we do” and so will you. Best of luck as you join the informatics RN’s out there.

  10. Trust me, your bedside experience will only make you better…in whatever nursing role you are going into now or end up with in x number of years. It takes all kinds in nursing and health care to result in better patient outcomes. I’m glad your nursing and tech passions have collided. Nursing Informatics is a great specialty. Congrats, and enjoy the transition!

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