02/20/2015 01:02 pm ET Updated Apr 22, 2015

Nursing Job Satisfaction, Safety and Productivity

Abel Mitja Varela via Getty Images

As a hospice nurse the one thing that brings me the most job satisfaction is going home at the end of the day knowing I did a good job; I met my patients and their family's needs with compassion, understanding in a calm and un-hurried manner. I have worked very busy days where I felt rushed. At the end of days like this felt I had cheated my patients and their families out of what they need most: my understanding, nursing expertise and empathetic presence.

I feel strongly that nursing is not a profession where productivity should be a primary focus. If I am given a taxing work load, a work day unlikely of being completed in eight hours, I feel I am forced to choose between giving excellent care to my patients and managing my home life and the needs of my children. This current, yet unhealthy nursing-care model is becoming more prevalent even in hospice care. I feel this is such a shame and that the end-of-life process should be honored with careful and unhurried care.

I am aware that "get in and get out" is an attitude one must adopt to complete a very busy work day and still have time and energy to manage a home life. I feel this is not right. I understand that days like this occasionally occur but when this is the accepted norm it is time to re-think our nursing business model.

Many nurses perform charting or other tasks off the clock. When I worked at the hospital I would do this as well: arrive early to give myself adequate time to look up patient information as to be well informed of care needs prior to the start of my shift because, as all nurses know, many days we hit the floor running. I ask myself; why is this acceptable? Why do we accept this work model that leads to poor job satisfaction again and again?

Perhaps productivity models are based on fiscal frugality but I fail to see how increased nursing productivity will save money. When nursing care is rushed mistakes occur and needs are not met creating situations requiring more medical intervention, increased costs and an increase in nursing care needs. It seems to me that unhurried and through nursing care may be of better financial benefit.

Compassion, kindness and desire to be of service are the driving forces behind my nursing career choice. I appreciate the science of nursing and the income but the real reason I became a nurse is for the love of my fellow human beings.

I have begun to feel frustrated and powerless, trapped by a business model that does not allow me to work to my fullest potential -- a business model which does not honor the needs of our patients and their families. I feel powerless working for an industry which seems to value profit above compassionate human care and needs! But I am not powerless, I have a voice, and I will use my voice to advocate for manageable workloads in the best interests of our patients, their families, myself, and the community I serve.