As clinical people, most will associate “dumping syndrome” with the definition of a group of symptoms — such as diarrhea, nausea and feeling light-headed or tired after a meal — that are caused by rapid gastric emptying, as in dumping of food into your small bowel.

But to me, dumping syndrome has lately taken on two different meanings.

One is when people literally “dump” their emotions or problems on you, especially when you are in no condition to handle that dumping. 

And the constant dumping of, well, crap, the government does to us as an industry.

Take for example, you are stressed to the max. Like maybe state is in the building AND you just learned a resident may have eloped (totally invented here, but I can’t think of anything much more stressful than that!).  And as your heart is racing in the 120s and your hair looks like you stuck your finger in an electric socket, a staff member walks up to you and starts “dumping.” 

It might be about some emotional stress that they are under; it might be whining and whining before getting to the point that they are not getting a day off when they wanted to see their grandchild be a tree in the kindergarten play, whatever. And you want to yell, “Read the room; now is not the time!” or “For goodness sake, can you just get to the point?” 

But you can’t; you’re a leader. You have to handle the “dumping” with grace and dignity no matter how high your blood pressure is climbing.

Then, there is the never-ending dumping of the government on us as we are simply and easily a political target. McKnight’s Executive Editor James Berklan eloquently points this out in his recent blog post, “Who’s easier to beat up on than nursing homes? No one,” where he is discussing the staffing mandate. 

He writes, “History tells us that a public image battle usually does not turn out well for nursing home operators.”  How true is that? With no merit, no way out of this that will shed us in any positive light, we will continue to be “dumped on.”

So, while we are all standing around with our hair in the air and our heart rate in the 120s, and our blood pressures in the danger zone, can we just please tell these people and politicians to “read the room” and give us a break? Just saying!

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC and an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real-life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.

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