1. Monroy, Valentina RN

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Like many new nurses, I entered the profession excited to get to know my patients holistically and to provide them the best care I could offer. That beautiful idea I had in my head was quickly deflated. As a float nurse working at a small not-for-profit hospital, I found myself with an overwhelming workload and surrounded by tasks to fulfill.


In "Who Will Be Left to Care?" (Editorial, February), Shawn Kennedy wrote about how the stress of working through hospital budget cuts and staffing issues led her to treat her patients less like real people and more like "assignments to get through on a shift." This really resonated with me-at times, the mindset I need to have on an intense day is to just get through the shift and not kill anyone. I find that the fear of making a medical error is a daily dreadful feeling that elicits other anxious thoughts, especially on the night shift. The budget and staffing stressors Kennedy discussed are major contributors to my fear of making an error and hurting someone. As she stated, it's a system issue, not an individual issue. As nurses, our priority shouldn't be to simply survive a shift, but rather to implement our nursing skills to help our patients and address their needs.


I believe that if systemic change does not occur quickly enough, many nurses will remove themselves from compromising positions and pursue jobs in other settings where the fear of making a mistake, being floated too often, and experiencing job dissatisfaction are all less likely. As I work toward my BSN and higher education, I hope to learn from my intense experiences on the job and find career opportunities that offer me the chance to truly improve the health of my patients.


Valentina Monroy, RN


Brooklyn, NY