I’ve just figured out why “burnout” is such an apt description of what happens to a nurse.
Four weeks ago I had a particularly frustrating patient. She wanted her drugs and she wanted them now. The doctor, correctly, refused her. She came up to the nurses’ station to (once again) beg me for drugs. I refused her. She started yelling at me and telling me, “If you hate your job, you should just quit.”
I told her, “I love my job. And I’m really good at it.”
And then it hit me like a sledgehammer. “Oh, my gosh. I hate my job! When did this happen?”
It was such a sad realization because I used to really love my job. I’d look at the old, dried up nurses and I knew I never wanted to be them. I told my husband that if I ever hated my job and was that dejected about my profession to make me quit.
And just like that, it happened. I can’t walk away just yet but I have my application in to some other positions. The thing about “burnout” is, once a bulb burns out, it’s done. There is no going back.