Hi all. Some big news over here. Starting tomorrow my hours at the hospital go down to 20 hours a week. What am I going to be doing with the rest of my time? Training tigers. Just kidding, I will be managing an ice cream store. For serious.
Did I already lose you guys? You think I’m crazy? Maybe I am. It’s ok, I’m cool with it.
Let me make something very clear….I love being a nurse. I am so blessed to have gotten my degree in a field I love and am even more blessed to be practicing in a prestigious facility. I am so thankful my patients allow me to be a part of their lives and take care of them. I am forever indebted to my coworkers who motivate me to be a better nurse everyday and who take care of me. I am so thankful that my “calling” in my life is to take care of others. To be what one of my patients described as “a ray of sunshine in a night of chaos.” It is a privilege to meet the people I do and be a part of their lives. However, it can be such a difficult job.
I’ve been working as a nurse full time for a year and a half. In nurse years, that’s not much. However, I have learned so much (and still have so much to learn). I love where I work and who I work with. But honestly, I haven’t been very happy. Floor nursing is very draining….mentally, physically, and emotionally. In my first year of nursing I was so concerned with my skills and getting accustomed to the flow of the unit. After I gained some more confidence and my fears took a back seat, the emotional aspect of my job started to hit me…..hard. I found myself bringing work home with me. With nursing, bringing work home doesn’t mean plugging in numbers on your computer at home or planning meetings. It’s thinking about your patients. It’s crying on your kitchen floor for an hour after a “bad day at work.” It’s not sleeping. It’s feeling so much for a person you didn’t even know existed yesterday, but then they were your sole focus for twelve hours.
My work is keeping other people safe and sometimes to care about them more than they care about themselves. My work is supporting them through potentially the worst days of their life. My job is facilitating a peaceful and dignified death. My job is supporting families when their loved ones are sick.
Guess what? That’s all really hard.
I began to fear that to be able to do my job for a long time, I would have to learn how to let things go and “get over it.” I was afraid that if I did that, I wouldn’t be the nurse I want to be. When I first started thinking about this decision, I felt like I was failing. I thought I wasn’t tough enough, smart enough or strong enough to hack it as a full time bedside nurse. I felt selfish for taking “an easy way out.” I spent a lot of time talking to my friends, roommates and family. I spent a lot of time thinking. I made a list of what was important to me and what I wanted my life, and routine, to look like. I have learned that for me it’s important to sleep for eight hours a night. And to work out five times a week. And to spend a lot of time doing fun things with friends and family. My current schedule doesn’t allow for a few of these things. Working twelve hour rotating shifts works really well for some people, but just isn’t the most ideal situation for me.
I’m hoping this shift will allow me to take some time to focus on taking care of myself. I also want to take the opportunity to explore how I want to further my nursing career in the next few years and seek other opportunities in the field. I’m very lucky that I work in a field and at a hospital that I can do part-time.
Anyways, big happenings and hopefully it’s all for the best. Excited to see where it takes me!