Getting back in the saddle again

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    This is a story about returning to the field of clinical nursing after quite some time off. Leaving the clinical environment wasn't the best decision I've ever made, but it did save me from completely burning out. It's been a lot easier than I expected and I wanted to share that there is hope out there!

    After being bitten by a patient with no concern or debriefing from my nurse manager, I made plans to high-tail it out of that unit as fast as I could because my mental health was already a little fragile and there would be no accomodations made for me. I have a 20 credit post-baccalaureate certificate in Nursing Education from my alma mater, so I thought it might be a smart decision to try my hand at teaching. I should have known that it was a bad idea from the fact that I was hired mid-year with no practical teaching experience but I saw a way out and wanted to take it. I was given next to no orientation and then tossed into the spring semester, already 2 weeks in. I struggled and although I did increasingly better on my performance reviews and observations, I was asked to re-sign in early May. My principal told me that he was thankful that I took the position because it definitely saved his ass, but that the only way I could expect to be re-hire would be for me to complete another post-bac, this time directly in the Education department. I didn't have that kind of money and couldn't handle the stress from the students and lack of support, so I submitted my resignation letter.

    Having given almost 3 years in my first job as an RN, I was really concerned that I'd never be able to get another job in my specialty or transfer to a new specialty.

    I've essentially been out of the workforce since then due to both personal problems and needing to take care of family. I was terrified of both applying for jobs and going on interviews, in fear that I'd face the inquisition as to the large gap in my resume and work history.

    That has luckily not been the case. I've had one interview with a local ED and have done really well with a SNF in the area. I had interview #1 on Monday and I just had a follow-up interview this morning with the ADON and NM of the unit that I've applied for. I surprised myself by not choking when it came to my weaknesses and using critical thinking/judgement in an emergency prioritization situation. I didn't remember critical lab values for an INR, so I told the interviewer that and she explained the situation in more depth to me.

    I have shadow time scheduled on Tuesday from 0700-1200 and I'm hopefully going to either receive the job offer after my shadow time or by the end of next week.

    This new job is not in my specialty (adult psych) but I'm confident that I'll be able to apply my therapeutic communication skills and learn all that I can about the geriatric population, as well as their co-morbidities such as CHF and ESRD.

    There is hope and promise even if you've beaten yourself up for leaving and taking time for yourself. Not only is it *NOT* the end of the world, it's a chance for both personal and professional growth. You know, that whole thing about doors closing and windows opening.
    Last edit by Joe V on May 2, '13
    Blanca R, marydc, nurse671, and 8 others like this.

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  2. About pinkiepieRN

    dolcebellaluna is a behavioral health nurse in her mid-twenties. She believes in the power of therapy and in advocating for yourself when it comes to your health. She lives with her kitty and spends way too much time on the Internet.

    pinkiepieRN has '5' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'LTC/SNF'. From 'Baltimore, Maryland, USA'; Joined Feb '13; Posts: 308; Likes: 333.

    Read more articles from pinkiepieRN

    5 Comments so far...

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    I am sorry you experienced this.....it is a shame that your employer did nothing to comfort you and ease your fears. I hope the bite wasn't serious for human bites can be nasty.

    The worst bite I have ever seen was while I was supervisor and an ED patient bit one of the nurses...he took skin and spit it on the floor...I shudder at the memory.

    I wish you the best on your new journey!
    pinkiepieRN likes this.
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    The bite was not particularly severe but the situation that precipitated this was pretty scary. The nursing station was not enclose and there were two open doorways in. An extremely agitated patient found herself behind the nursing station and was impossible to re-direct. Some was drawing up PRNs because it was way too late to consider PO medication. It took security forever to respond. No one was able to put the patient in any sort of mechanical "hold" or restraint and she lunged at me. Another staff was hit by the patient and while the patient was eventually medicated and ended up in locked door seclusion, the whole thing was a disaster that likely could have been prevented.
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    Dolce---if you work in geriatrics, believe me, you'll use your psych skills every day! You'll be dealing with a LOT of dementia, but a good many dementing diseases are superimposed on psychiatric conditions. I've cared for some really complex patients in LTC, like the lady who had a particularly nasty case of Lewy body dementia on top of paranoid schizophrenia. That was awful for her; she used to come to my office and tell me about her voices, who always tried to lure her into terrible sins; she would just sit in the chair next to me and cry her eyes out. I was almost always able to soothe her by telling her to use her call light whenever those voices started up, and I'd come and chase them away. Poor thing!

    I had another female resident who followed me from assisted living to a nursing home, who used to come in and ask if she could talk with me about depression. She'd had a bad episode when I first started at the ALF, and we bonded immediately after I talked with her about my own battles with it. She had a wicked sense of humor and loved to give me a bad time when I did her monthly B12 injection. Her diagnosis was actually Bipolar NOS and she was on a cocktail of meds; but I never saw her manic in all the years I knew her, only "normal" or depressed.......and that's when she'd come to my office and ask if she could talk about it.

    So, you will definitely use your psych nursing skills with this population. Best of luck to you!
    quirk, bigsick_littlesick, nurse671, and 1 other like this.
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    You just brought me back to my days in psych. Many times the administration is more worried about the patients than the safety of the staff. I've seen several nurses who were physically in danger get fired for "not properly restraining a patient". It's a shame. Best wishes on your new endeavors!
    pinkiepieRN likes this.
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    I think its great that you not only took the time away for your own needs (and, wow, what an experience, I'm so sorry!) but that you are coming back to nursing. We all need great nurses, and it seems like you not only have the education and experience, but the insight needed to make a huge difference in the world. Best of luck to you!
    marydc likes this.


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