Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Reflection, Starting Over

I came across this post from a couple of years ago:

For years and years I worked at least two and often three jobs at the same time, but at at least one was always in the ER. I have had lots of different experiences.  I've worked in schools, as a camp nurse, in home care, employee health, a travel clinic, a same day surgery unit, pediatrics, telemetry, and med surg.  I have worked in large medical centers and community hospitals.  I been a staff nurse, charge nurse, supervisor, director.  I have done independent QA audits, worked for an agency. I have worked days, evenings, nights, weekends and holidays.  I have worked from within walking distance to my job or traveled over and hour.  I have worked with individuals who have become lifelong friends and others whose names I can't remember.  I have been both student and a teacher.  Sometimes I have felt unsure of myself and terrified, but have grown enough as a nurse to feel comfortable and competent, smart enough to know that I don't know everything.  I have done a lot, seen a lot, learned a lot.

I  have been restless and not altogether happy with my job lately.  For the last 3 years, it has been my only job.  It is close to home and I work with a small group of nice, accommodating people in a small ER.

I have been thinking that maybe it is too small.  I feel as though I am losing my skills as an ER nurse.  Few codes, trauma as rare as hen's teeth.  I am SO TIRED of the constant parade of drug seekers and the pressure to just make everyone happy, even if what they want isn't what they need.  Want antibiotics for a virus?  Sure!  An Xray for your three week old ankle injury that you insist must be broken?  No problem!  Dilaudid for your migraine of 10 minutes?  Absolutely!  Why do you need doctors with experience and expertise when you have WebMD?  All we ask in return is positive customer satisfaction scores.

I have never felt less valued as a professional nurse anywhere.  It's not my boss, she's great. It's the organization we work for.  Our director talks a good game, but there is no visible support for the activities of nursing.  There is a part-time research nurse, nobody really knows what she does and I have never seen her.  Committees?  The same dull people with the same dull ideas. 

I have a really crappy attitude and no real goals since finishing school.  For the first time in a long time I have no concrete plans to move on, move up, or move out.  Maybe it is because I am working only one job in a small town, I don't know.  I am in a real rut.  I have to work about 10 more years until I can retire and that pisses me off.  I can't see myself doing what I'm doing for another 10 years.

I keep telling myself I am lucky to have a job.

And then I didn't have a job two years later.  Serves me right for being too comfortable and complacent.    While I didn't exactly lose my skills, many of them were seriously misplaced and difficult to regain.

The funny thing is, if I hadn't been forced to find a new job (actually, three new jobs)  I would still be in the same rut.  But…it has not been a seamless transition.  I have had to learn, and re-learn, a lot.  I finally broke down and bought a couple of sets of new scrubs.  Yes they are black and grey, but color blocked and not cutesy.  OK, I drank the Kool-Aid of my fashion forward co-workers, but just a little sip.  Anyway, the unit teacher noticed my new and smaller sized duds and said I looked like I had lost a lot of weight and wanted to know how I was doing it.  "Oh, you know….stress and not eating", I joked.  But I really wasn't.  It isn't the people, it is the environment and my own need to do everything flawlessly.  Of course, that is near to impossible.

She had some helpful thoughts about not being too hard on myself.  "It takes about a year for a nurse to get completely comfortable in this busy environment, I think you're doing great".  I have a lot of trouble reporting off to the next nurse sometimes, especially if I don't feel like I've done everything.  I never want to be "that nurse" who walks off the floor in the middle of a shitstorm….can't do it.

But I get more comfortable every day.  And I still tell myself I'm lucky to have a job.