Following 10 years of progressive leadership responsibility, Greta Price, MSN-Ed, RN, NEA-BC, NPD-BC, stepped down from an associate CNO role and returned to the bedside to have more time to spend with her family, care for herself, and focus on finishing her PhD dissertation. Greta now works at a large healthcare system in the Midwest on a progressive care unit and is a PhD candidate at The University of Texas at Tyler.
In response to Nursing Management's Great Dedication (#WhyIStay) campaign, Greta shared how this transition has impacted her: “After spending a year at the bedside, I am in love with the profession again. I have rekindled the joy found by the meaning and purpose of daily nursing care. I've worked through Omicron. I've watched them die. Yet, I am hopeful.” Greta's journey from the executive office to the front lines gave her unique insight, which she captures in the following poem.
I see you.
I see you making sacrifices.
I see you making hard decisions.
I see you struggling to send the email that you're required to send.
I see you frustrated with a broken healthcare system.
I see you chained to your Teams meetings for 10 hours a day.
I see you taking work calls at your kids' activities.
I see you agonizing over staffing, wondering what will happen if one more nurse leaves.
I see you interviewing and posting positions feverishly without any qualified candidates walking through the door.
I see you treating menial and petty issues from staff as if they're your most important priority.
I see you with tears welling up in your eyes.
I see you with pain behind your on-stage presence.
I see you here on night shift.
I see you walking to your car well past when you should have gone home.
I see you poring over budget spreadsheets, trying to make it work.
I see you analyzing quality data making sure our CLABSIs, CAUTIs, falls, and HAPIs stay under control.
I see you standing in front of the team, delivering a hard message.
I see you comforting the crying nurses, the ones who've been broken and rebroken.
I see you having hard conversations with difficult team members.
I see you.
I hear them.
I hear them complaining about “administration.”
I hear them criticizing the email it took you hours to write.
I hear them complaining about the staffing that you labored to compose.
I hear them saying, “They don't care.”
I hear them saying, “I wish we had a union.”
I hear them closing their minds to change.
I hear them crying in the stairwell.
I hear them frustrated with acuity.
I hear them say they're overwhelmed with sadness.
I hear them considering another career.
I hear them describing the morning bourbon or White Claw as a coping mechanism after a tough shift.
I hear them describing anxiety.
I hear them describing depression.
I hear them showing signs of suicidal ideation.
I hear them saying they're terrified of being the next RaDonda.
I hear them agonizing over whether to call the doctor who yelled at them last time.
I hear them picking apart messages on the intranet—messages that I know went through layers and layers of revision.
I hear them consider traveling.
I hear them saying, “I don't know if I can do this anymore.”
I hear them saying, “God, this place.”
I hear them afraid to go into their patient's room because they're so abusive.
I hear them giving up.
I hear them wanting to walk away.
I hear them grieving the loss of what they thought nursing was.
I feel us.
I feel us growing further and further apart.
I feel us losing common ground.
I feel us missing opportunities to really understand one another.
I feel us misunderstanding each other.
I feel us not communicating.
I feel us struggling.
I see us coming together.
I see us making changes to the healthcare system.
I see us supporting each other.
I see us rallying together.
I see us marching together.
I see us setting boundaries together.
I see us defending the profession together.
I see us understanding one another.
I see us slowing down to focus on what really matters.
I see us simplifying work on both ends so we can be human together again.
I see us transforming a generation of nurses from broken to courageous, honest, and resilient.
We need to see change.
We need to see advocacy.
We need to see mindfulness.
We need to see focus.
We need to see the vision.
I see you. I hear them. I feel us. I see us.
We need revolution.
It isn't working. Let's change it. Together.
—Greta Price, MSN-Ed, RN, NEA-BC, NPD-BC