One of the best things about being a nursing columnist is hearing feedback from readers. Every week, I read the emails and online comments generated by the topics I write about. Doing so not only helps me understand whether my columns have struck a chord or missed the mark; it helps me gain deeper insight into what readers really care about.
One thing that comes through loud and clear? That despite the talk about leadership and empowerment, nurses often feel voiceless and helpless. This comes through especially when reading the comments on a recent story reporting that one in five nurses has depressive symptoms.
Readers say they often feel powerless at work, and they fear for the safety of their jobs if they were to speak up about issues that are bothering them.
"Nurses are afraid to advocate for anyone, let alone themselves, and they become depressed and less productive over time due to things like calling off d/t burnout and fatigue, not doing certain things on the unit for fear of being fired, coming to work and doing just the minimum to get out of there at the end of their shifts with all their parts intact," writes one reader.