Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cross off one thing... Kinda...

On my check list to the right, I made a statement about going back to the hospital, possibly working in the ER. I also said I would have to make up my mind, and that would be half the battle....

Let's regress a bit...

I worked as a waitress at a local Pancake House for 6 years before I became a nurse. It was a wonderful job. I got to work hours around school, around my family, and around my life in general. I worked my way to the top of the list of waitresses... I had worked there the longest on night shift. I could memorize up to 40 orders, and that fact made me GREAT tips! I loved working with people (most of them that is...), I had a good amount of "regulars", and I liked my bosses. However, at the time I was struggling (financially) to raise young babies and I figured I needed a job that would provide a "steady income".... so I went back to school and became an RN.

I became an RN because I liked working with people. I became an RN because I am rather intelligent and it came easily to me (well... intelligent except for grammer and spelling... but in the RN world... have you SEEN the med names??? seriously, spelling is not necessary in that world!). I became an RN because it was a CAREER. It was a good job, with a steady income, good benefits, and a retirement plan. I could provide for my family.

Yet... in my career as an RN, a lot of things happened.

1) I realized that simply taking care of people is not all you have to do. You have to be involved in the politics of healthcare... and quite frankly, some of the shit is absolutely ridiculous. So much is placed on MONEY and not on the patient.

2) I became a mother of THREE, not ONE, as it was when I first started. With each child I questioned my career choices.

3) I had feelings of discontent. I switched areas of specialty and hours many times. I went from 3rd shift surgical RN, to 2nd shift surgical RN, to 2nd shift pediatric RN, to 3rd shift pediatric RN, to office RN, and now I can feel the desire for something else. I was hired at 2 other hospitals in my career, Iowa City and Chicago. I turned them both down for other reasons. I was going to hire into a travel agency in Chicago before my life changed. I could never find my "home". Nothing was exciting enough for me... it would get boring after I learned what I needed too.

4) My life changed. In 2 ways really.... a) Ryan died. In turn, I lost a lot of my empathy for my patients. Not all of them, I didn't turn into an unfeeling RN, but the ones who were the most needy, really weren't and it PISSED ME OFF. There were times I felt like yelling at a lazy patient that would call me into their room to grab the remote 2 feet away. I couldn't take the differences between HELPING people and "helping" people. Some people really need it, and I had sat on that side.... others were milking the system. Yeah, I definintly lost my empathy. b) With that life change, I realized that being an RN is not family friendly. You worked set shifts. You were mandated overtime. You had no time off until you earned it. And at that point I really UNDERSTOOD what a SINGLE mom felt like. Pulled between a career and her children which she loves with all her heart.

In the end, it came down to me feeling literally SICK to my stomach going into work every night. I finally gave up the fight and I QUIT.

Now I work part time as a float RN for all the doctor's offices under the hospital.

And it still sucks. It's boring. It's mundane. I feel like I'm losing my knowledge, like I'm losing my ability to help people. I feel like I'm a body there to do the things that a doctor just doesn't want to do.

So I'm going to switch modes for now. I'm going to put all of that on HOLD. I've made up my mind and right now, my mind is NOT in the healthcare field. Of course I still have passion for it. However I have decided that if and when I do go back, it needs to be in a highly motivated and fast paced environment (i.e. the ER, PICU, ICU, etc.). However my children need to be older and I need to be more willing then I am to give up part of my life. I would also need to go back to school to make sure (in my own mind) that I am capable and knowledgable.

SO I'm going back.

I took a job waiting tables again. At the same place I was years before. 3 days a week and I'm actually excited about it! I'm actually excited about the interaction with people. The feeling that it's not life or death if I forget to leave the mayo off the burger. The feeling of having a job that works with me and not against me. Working with my friends and family again. Working a career field that CAN provide for me still.... with out committing my life to it. Of course I'll still work VERY part time at the offices to keep my RN degree up to snuff, but VERY part time.

And you know what...

I feel GREAT about this decision.


YanniFan said...

Good for you Dana!

Being an old lady now-- one thing I've learned is that following your GUT is the best way to make a decision. Now if I just followed my own advice I'd be as happy as a pig in sh**t.!!!

three moons said...

Of course- I can relate with you on this topic ;-) I go back and forth with this all the time. Part of me wants to go back to work because nursing is my career, because I worked hard to get through nursing school (remember!!!), because I feel like I'm loosing my knowledge..... But my hearts not really in it right now. My kids are small and this is what I want to do right now- be with them. I dont want to worry about certifications, skill labs, overtime, charting mistakes, etc.

We'll have time to pick our careers up. Our kids will get older and we will have time to get caught up, time to go back to school, and time to be career women drinking pots of coffee at a time while simultaneously developing stomach ulcers from all the stress that comes with nursing.

Jerry Critter said...

Have you thought about Labor and Delivery?

My daughter-in-law is an RN. She went through some of the same trials and tribulations at various hospital nursing jobs until she landed in labor and delivery. Now she loves it. For the most part, the people are not there because they are sick. They are excited to be there. Most deliveries go smoothly. The patients are happy with you and they go home quickly.

-jd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
-jd said...

That would be a whole lot of crotch!

Anyways, I'm happy for you in your new VI Adventure. :) I can't wait for some eggs benedict!


ChiTown Girl said...

I can't tell you how happy I am for you. That's a huge decision, and I'm glad you're so sure of it. I'm with you - I LOVE working with the public. That's why I love working at our bar so much. I keep praying that our business builds enough so I can do it full-time. I don't want to leave the babies for good, but I don't want to deal with all the crap CPS has to offer. My ultimate goal for years now has been to open my own daycare/preschool. Then I would only have to answer to myself. I've seriously thought about opening it in the empty storefront that's next to the bar, then I could just go right next door and do the other job I love.

I hope everything works out the way you've planned. Good luck starting school, too. I recently finished grad school, and believe me, it was no picnic! Luckily for you, you have John to support you, and I don't just mean financially. It's going to be a long, bumpy road, but I know you'll fly right down it as if you were driving a Lamborghini!!