It’s been a while since my last update. I’ve been working really hard (surprise!). Too hard, really. Because of the flu season, a few of my coworkers were sick. Since we’re understaffed already, I ended up covering for two coworkers. Which means thrice the normal amount of patients (and paperwork). I managed, for some time. But then renovations on my ward started. Which means constant noise from construction work, and some nitwit in management decided it was a good idea to close our office on the ward without providing alternatives.
The stress caused my IBS to act up pretty bad, resulting in a few near-accidents on the bus during my commute. Scared to travel by bus, I decided to take the train instead so I have constant bathroom access. However, the train takes a huge detour, which means getting up at 4AM in order to make it to work on time.
My stack of paperwork kept growing, my phone kept ringing, and I kept getting more and more non-medical tasks on my plate. I had to prepare four lectures as well. I’m not sure when I was supposed to find the time for that. Long story short: it was too much.
I kept being pressured by the nurses to discharge patients because of a general shortage of available beds (it being flu season, and most of the ward closed for construction work). I had over 30 patients under my care at some point. I didn’t find enough hours in a day to actually do my work properly, and the stress got to me. What’s worse: I wasn’t able to guarantee good medical care. I rushed by my patients during rounds in order to get my work done in time. I didn’t have time to examine them all, nor did I have time to talk to them all. Being pressured to discharge patients, I let a few people go home because they wanted to, when medically, I would have preferred they stay longer. But I didn’t have the energy or the time to argue with the patient, and the nurses (who had already prepared discharge papers). Feeling like I wasn’t giving my patients the best medical care caused even more anxiety.
So, I called in sick. I was upfront and honest to my boss about why I chose to stay home. I got a week off. I chose to prolong that week, but management was not amused. I will be going back to work on Monday after two weeks at home. I don’t really feel like staying home has done me a lot of good. I’ll be talking to management on Monday to see what can be done to reduce my stress. Working four days a week would be a good start, but it wouldn’t change the amount of stress I’m under while at work. I would love to be excused from non-medical tasks and lectures, but I don’t think my boss will go for that. If no changes can be made, I’m afraid I’m going to have to quit this job. While I love my work and my coworkers, my health comes first. And my health is suffering right now.
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