nursing shortage
Honest words from a nurse: “The decision against the job is also one for yourself”

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Nursing shortage, exhaustion – everyday life for the nurse Franziska Böhler. Giving up the job? She prefers to loudly advocate for improvements.

A dream job from an early age

Nursing was always my dream job – and still is. It’s all about what I enjoy and what I’m good at. What could I do instead? I can’t think of anything.

I have loved hospitals since I was a child. I liked the smell of disinfectants and when I visited my grandfather in the clinic I was very impressed by how the nurse was juggling syringes, IVs and cables like there was nothing easier in the world. In my professional life, I then noticed that the job demands a lot from me personally, but also encourages me. At 17, I grew up faster than my girlfriends because I had to deal with emotionally formative situations early on.

Then, about ten years ago, I started coming home after the shift and was exhausted physically and mentally. More and more often I had to realize that I had actually only been doing damage limitation. Administer medication, monitor equipment, and somehow get through eight hours without anyone dying. Of course it’s frustrating. You want to respond individually to the patients and really be there for them. We’ve always had problems with understaffing, but it’s only gotten worse and my dissatisfaction has only grown.

That’s why I’ve reoriented myself and now no longer work in the intensive care unit, but in anesthesia. Now I come home in the evening with a normal pulse, I feel better mentally and physically. Since I left the station in May 2020, around 20 colleagues have left. The fluctuation in the care industry is enormous, most clinics only stay afloat with temporary work.

The decision for yourself

The decision against the job is always one for oneself. The will to sacrifice is inherent in many who choose to care, but you must never get to the point of self-destructiveness.

However, I find it just as important to take care of yourself that you are professionally politically committed and confidently represent your interests. Nursing is a demanding profession, we are also independent from the medical profession and can and must speak for ourselves. The revolution must come from within.

I’m convinced of that, even if I sometimes feel like I’m fighting windmills. There are many things in which I have put an incredible amount of energy – my book “I’m A Nurse” (published by Heyne), the nursing documentary with Joko and Klaas, the “Stern” petition “Nursing needs dignity!” – and apart from media attention and general approval, little has happened. Of course it’s totally frustrating and my motivation is always in the basement. But if I let my commitment be, then certainly nothing happens. And then it’s already clear that I’ll continue.

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