Hi. When I wrote the book “The Nurse’s Story” every nurse I knew was willing to acknowledge “burnout.” We helped each other, talked to administration etc. but then we couldn’t walk off the floor if we had 30 patients! Since the healing model of medicine has been replaced by the business model, I can find very few references to “burnout,” which is now referred to as “compassion fatigue.” This troubles me because it puts the complete responsibility for burning out on the nurse rather than on her situation. I’m not saying she shouldn’t take responsibility but the system itself is also at fault. They have replaced us with less skilled workers to save money and they have forced us to the desks to document and be shills for the insurance companies and hospitals. Where is the compassion for a nurse, where is the support for a nurse, who has tried to live up to a deep calling to help? Who is teaching the difference between putting up boundaries, and putting up walls? And where is the new knowledge of healing incorporated that measures the healing intention, the listening ability, the being present etc. As soon as a nurse wants to be more within the system, she has to go back to school to get a degree. And with each degree she is taken farther away from the patients she wants to help. Anyway, that’s how I see it. And by the way, I got hundreds of letters from nurses in the trenches agreeing on the problems. But the solutions can’t come from those making up the rules on paper. Theory is too far away from the bedside. And I never heard one little kid who wanted to be a desk clerk rather than a doctor or a nurse. We turn on each other as every other oppressed group turns on another, and we learn to hide and talk medicalese and jargon to keep what little power we’ve gotten. But nurses are better than that. They do have a deep and abiding value set that understands that helping another is helping oneself. And that every one of us will need someone at their bedside someday. We should all try to be the nurse we’d want to have there. Let’s fight the system that disempowers us, not each other. Information is power, let’s share it with each other and with the patients. More nurses have stories to tell, and those stories are what the media should be hearing and spreading.