The Evolution of Burnt-outness

Working in healthcare can burn you out quicker then a 50 cent votive.

Working in dialysis where things are basically the same day after day, an endless circle of non-compliant patients and irritible staff and doctors that skate through the clinic without saying a word but collecting at least 300 a head.  Ask anyone truthfully who does this for a living and you will hear the same answer, we’ve all experienced it.

There are moments that make me want to scream, like for the fifth time that week telling the same patient that just because she dialyzes six times a week does not mean it is a good idea to gain 6 kilos in 24 hours.  I don’t even think I drink or eat 6 kilos of liquid in 24 hours.

Then there are the moments of grins and thinking you made a difference, like seeing a patient who was on the brink of death (from an unrelated co-morbidity) walk back into the clinic with color on her cheeks and a smile.  That moment when she grabs your arm and pulls you into a hug is when you know you are in the right place.

You have to hold on to those moments.  Moments when patients get that call, you know the one, the one that gives them a new life.  They bound into the clinic to receive their dialysis before the operation, smiles on their faces, beaming.  When they stop by again, months later, when things have settled and their lives are slowly returning to “normal”.  These are the moments that make the mundane, the frustrating, worth it.

There is nothing really “sexy” about working in dialysis, the ED nurses and ICU nurses and Oncology staff get the glory, the Dialysis staff? We get angry patients and pin-stripped smocks.  Don’t think I am complaining, I have stored those moments of goodness within me and I cherish them, but you can turn on any channel in the United States and see ten ads for research of AIDS, cancer, heart disease, and pediatric issues, all of which are extremely important.  But what about Chronic Kidney Disease?  How many ads have you seen for that?  And I am not talking about the lawyers who are trying to sue everyone, I’m talking about true research ads. 

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?  Over 26 million Americans have Chronic Kidney many get education before they are placed in the “chair”?

Any what the hell does this have to do with being burnt out?

A not so new idea, but a opportunity to find the joy in what we do here.


~ by Kim on August 15, 2008.

4 Responses to “The Evolution of Burnt-outness”

  1. I know you dont have a clue of who I am. But I am a 22 yr old dialysis patient in the Seatac area, and have had chronic renal failure my entire life (thus the chronic part of that I guess.) And I just wanted to say I really appreciate your take on things, not many people are willing to talk about these sorts of things and you are. You are trying to get the word out a little bit. I also wanted to say that I am ALWAYS nice to my dialysis techs for they are the ones with the needles! Plus, what good is it to yell and be grumpy with them when its not their fault I feel like crap that day.

  2. In the 9 months I did dialysis, I only gained 5-6 kilos on 2 occasions (most of my weight gains were 2.5-3.5 kilos). Both of those times ended up with excruciating, tear-producing cramps that I hope I NEVER experience again as long as I live.

    How in HELL can someone who dialyzes almost every day of the week gain 6 kilos? And why would she let herself gain that much?

  3. Brittany –
    Thanks for your comment! I hope things are going well for you, hang in there!

    Jeff – I don’t know how someone can gain 6 kilos in less then 24 hours, I think it may have something to do with you want what you can’t have. And I cannot even imagine what the cramps must be like, I see their faces and it just breaks my heart.

  4. De nada!
    Things are good. Vascular access is the best its ever been. And apart from one very scary tech my center is awesome.
    I have NEVER gained more than 2.5 kilos between runs. To gain 6 im pretty sure I would have had to drink constantly between runs. And cramps do hurt like a b*tch, imagine you leg feeling like its being torn apart from just below the knee to the tips of the toes! (Sucks!)

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