BUFFALO, N.Y. -- "We are the bouncers, the bodyguards, the 'shotgun' riders, the overseers, the matre d's, the stewards, the organizers, the managers and leaders for the patient ... Often we are the only thing between them and a sentinel event. See us, hear us, feel us."
Welcome to the nurse's world, through the words of those who live there.
This telling reflection on the profession appears in a paper published in the current issue of Nursing Forum (July-September 2007) titled appropriately Giving Voice to Registered Nurses? Decisions to Work.
Suzanne S. Dickerson, D.N.S., associate professor in the University at Buffalo School of Nursing, is first author. The paper presents results of an analysis of written responses to an open-ended question contained in a survey that assessed work satisfaction of registered nurses. The studys quantitative results were published in 2006.
Analysis of the comments identified four major themes: competing priorities, balancing priorities, practice deterrents and collegiate support, which encourages nurses to stay in practice.
Listening to the nurses voices, it was amazing that in spite of the volume of deterrents to working, they continued to care for their patients, Dickerson said. One emphasis that was newly apparent was that nurses repeatedly told about their work patterns or trajectory that reflected the need for flexibility to fit family needs.
Demographically, the respondents were mostly female (97.2 percent), mostly white (89.9 percent) and the majority, 66.7 percent, were married. Those currently working as nurses were divided fairly evenly between full-time and part-time positions (38 percent versus 32 percent). Of the 332 who indicated their current position, two-thirds were involved in direct care of patients, and more than half (53 percent) did so in hospitals. Another 18 percent worked in ambulatory care settings. The average age of respondents was 50, and they had an average
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