7 Ways Nurses Feel Underappreciated

We work very hard, and sometimes it can be easy to feel undervalued at work. Especially in an inpatient setting where things are constantly moving, and there may not be time for high-fives and Kumbaya campfire moments.

1. When our good work is not recognized. Let’s face it, we do a lot of different things every day, and every single week something new is asked of us. It can often feel like the good work we do is overlooked. But remember, even if your leadership team does not recognize all of the great things that you do, you make a difference to someone!

2. When no one says thank you. If the unit is busy, our nurse to patient ratio may stink! When the unit is busy we may get asked to come in on our days off. When the unit is slow we may be sent home when we needed to work. But often no one is saying thank you. I learned to accept a long time ago that the nature of bedside nursing is that everyone is busy and you may not get a thank you. But your coworkers, patients and even your managers are thankful!

3. When no one says I’m sorry. Managers are human, and again, inpatient nursing is busy. No one is going to say I’m sorry that you’ve worked so many days in a row because we’ve been so busy. Often no one will say they’re sorry that you’ve had a bad or busy day. No one is going to apologize for you feeling overworked and undervalued. But we have to keep reminding ourselves that there is purpose to the work we do.

4. When no one asks how we’re feeling. If someone asked me how I was feeling at different points in my career, I might have told them I’m feeling frustrated because so much is asked of us. I may have said I’m sad about a bad or unexpected outcome. Sometimes we just need to talk, to feel as if our feelings matter to someone. We have to remember to talk to our coworkers, who can probably relate! And, that we have the ability to approach our leadership teams, who have the responsibility of addressing our concerns.

5. When we’re expected to just keep going. It may feel like no one cares when you’ve had one of those days. One of those days where you had to stay really late to chart, or to review your charting because of a bad or unexpected outcome. But once you have turned over care of that patient, there will be a new one waiting in the corner. We just have to move along. It’s just the nature of nursing.

6. When no one verbalizes that we do a lot. Sometimes it would be nice if someone would acknowledge that we do a hell of a lot in one shift!

7. When we aren’t supported. There are so many ways to feel unsupported in nursing. Managers are struggling to deal with patient complaints, physician comments, and upper administration requests. It’s easy to feel as if our voice is last on the list. If you don’t’ feel supported, talk to your manager, be transparent with your feelings, and give them an opportunity to address how you feel. We have to remember that we are stronger than we realize, and more important than (maybe) anyone else knows.

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