Once upon a time.

  1. Once upon a time ... thoughts of a stressed out nurse.


    Once upon a time in a land and time far far away. A fellow classmate, maybe in his 40's used to tell me to prepare for my 20's. He said it would be a time of questioning myself constantly and figuring myself out. I laughed at him inside my mind. Rolling my eyes inside my mind... yet wondering what the heck he meant by that.
    At this time, I was about 20 years old diving into the world of my 20's. I thought I had the world figured out, I had my plans in order.

    From 2012-2014 I continued my high achieving habits from high school into the nursing school arena. Excelling in every class, participating in every extracurricular, and serving as a student nurse mentor to freshman students, I as a senior student nurse.

    Fast forward and the year is 2014. I'm a surgical ward RN at a large teaching hospital. I grow tremendously as a nurse, I think back to my plans of becoming a CRNA and decide it's time to get into the ICU and so I do a in-system transfer around Winter of 2015-Early 2016.

    It is now winter 2017. How time flies. And as I type this I can't help but to think how LOST I am. I am currently enrolled on a full-ride roller coaster with CRNA as my destination. Signed up for chemistry II, Honors Biology, and Statistical Analysis. Applied to start my RN-BSN in 2018 Fall and that program is fast paced and ends Spring 2019.

    By then I have planned to have my BSN, CCRN, and 3 years of ICU experience with about 1.5 years of surgical ward experience.

    But here I sit lost, desperately lost. Everyday I am despising the ICU more and more. It is becoming unbearable. It does not bring the excitement it once brought. With increased experience I've become increasingly fatigued with the ICU. And I hear, "it's worth the wait for CRNA school". But is it??? But is it??? And if I'm not willing to wait then perhaps I truly don't want to become a CRNA bad enough?

    I am reaching this point in my life (25 years old) where I feel like I'm hitting crisis mode. I'm in need of answers to my own questions (not expecting to find them here, just venting).

    Whay do I REALLY wanna do with my life?

    What does CardiacDork really want from life? Forget the money, the success, the title, the benefits, the perks, this or that.

    I am getting to the point where I am asking myself, "man what's gonna make YOU happy? Forget everyone else!"

    I have been torn between NP and CRNA. Most of my reasons for CRNA attributes to the market/value reasons. Yes, I have a tremendous thirst for knowledge and I feel that CRNA school can provide that. But do I want to REALLY want to pursue this career? Is that a good reason to pursue this career? Truthfully I can become an incredibly knowledgeable NP, and be of much more use to patients being in a position I WANT to be in.

    Perhaps, just maybe if I do something I truly love then I can find true success there. Internal peace and a sense of achievement.

    Truth be told I do see myself in that role of an NP or a nursing profesor... I know wild!

    I've always had a thing for teaching others. I remember in school how much I loved explaining topics to my classmates and underclass students. Holding tutoring sessions, I don't know why but that so fulfilling.
    What does fulfill me from my current position as an ICU Nurse? Educating my patients when they're awake. I love educating and explaining. Translating what may seem dull or difficult into exciting and easy.

    My close friend even commented on this when I was excitedly explaining electron/photon emission and the spectrum of colors produced by elements. They made a comment about how excited I get when I teach something.

    I don't want to wait until I'm 35 to realize I'm doing something I can't stand.

    I think often of how much I would enjoy being an NP, promoting wellness and health and maybe teaching nursing on the side of having tutoring services.

    This is MY life and I need to go out after the things I want. I only have THiS life to live. The money will come. The money will follow, I truthfully believe that all the money in the world isn't worth a dime if I'm unhappy.



    -CardiacDork ASN, RN
    Last edit by CardiacDork on Nov 23
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   Davey Do
    Quote from CardiacDork
    here I sit lost, desperately lost.

    What do I REALLY wanna do with my life?

    Truth be told I do see myself in that role of an NP or a nursing professor.
    Well, alright then!
  4. by   CardiacDork
    Quote from Davey Do
    Well, alright then!
    It's a lot simpler isn't it? Than I'm making it out to be? I know that, but I think being honest with myself is the first and most difficult step. I'm not sure why, I guess because my type A personality has idolized and sought success in the form of acheiving becoming a CRNA. But I realize I have to let go of these hang ups, the ridiculous measures of success constructed by my mind, and be flat out honest for me.

    I just didn't think it would come this quick. I reached a breaking point a while ago, it's been bubbling ... building and building up. I don't think I've ever pondered about what happiness truly means so much in my life, and what it means to me.

    And the closer I get to realizing this... the easie it gets to breathe. Letting go of that pressure ... and just going after what I want!
  5. by   Davey Do
    Quote from CardiacDork
    It's a lot simpler isn't it? Than I'm making it out to be? I know that, but I think being honest with myself is the first and most difficult step.
    It's all about the seeking, the trip.

    "The aesthetics of the transitory".
  6. by   beekee
    Congratulations! Enjoy the new journey. I hope it brings you happiness.
  7. by   Cat365
    It sounds like you are a 5 and 10 year planner. That's not a bad thing, but sometimes plans need changed or adjusted. It's not a failure to decide not to pursue a goal you just have to adjust to new goals. What is it that they say about battle plans never surviving the initial engagement of the enemy?

    Hmm, I have no more advice, just support for your vent.
  8. by   CardiacDork
    Quote from Cat365
    It sounds like you are a 5 and 10 year planner. That's not a bad thing, but sometimes plans need changed or adjusted. It's not a failure to decide not to pursue a goal you just have to adjust to new goals. What is it that they say about battle plans never surviving the initial engagement of the enemy?

    Hmm, I have no more advice, just support for your vent.
    What is a 5 and 10 year planner? And you're right, it's NOT a failure and thank you for bringing up that word because that's exactly how I feel... but I'm beginning to shed those feelings. I'm just done. Done pretending or trying to do something I don't want to. Honesty with myself and acceptance are feeling pretty good right now.
  9. by   Cat365
    Some people don't look beyond tomorrow. They go to work and they come home. They don't plan. Some people have a years plan. I'm going to save money for a car, a down payment, etc. Some people plan 5-10 years or more down the road. You are a long term planner. You had a long term plan. 1. associates degree 2 start at a hospital 3 BSN 4 ICU 5 CRNA.
    You looked at your ultimate goal of CRNA and broke it up into doable, time scheduled steps. You may even be longer term than that. You may be putting aside a set amount of money for a house or retirement.

    Some people plan long term and some people fly by the seat of their pants. (I'm a bit of both) Being a planner is a good thing. It really is, but it sets you up for feelings of failure when you don't achieve those goals. (You are probably a bit of a perfectionist too)

    The thing you have to realize is that you didn't fail to achieve a goal, you just adjusted the goal. It's a good thing that you are self aware enough (and sensible enough) to realize that the path you are on might not be the best one for you.
  10. by   CardiacDork
    Quote from Cat365
    Some people don't look beyond tomorrow. They go to work and they come home. They don't plan. Some people have a years plan. I'm going to save money for a car, a down payment, etc. Some people plan 5-10 years or more down the road. You are a long term planner. You had a long term plan. 1. associates degree 2 start at a hospital 3 BSN 4 ICU 5 CRNA.
    You looked at your ultimate goal of CRNA and broke it up into doable, time scheduled steps. You may even be longer term than that. You may be putting aside a set amount of money for a house or retirement.

    Some people plan long term and some people fly by the seat of their pants. (I'm a bit of both) Being a planner is a good thing. It really is, but it sets you up for feelings of failure when you don't achieve those goals. (You are probably a bit of a perfectionist too)

    The thing you have to realize is that you didn't fail to achieve a goal, you just adjusted the goal. It's a good thing that you are self aware enough (and sensible enough) to realize that the path you are on might not be the best one for you.
    Wow thanks for this analysis. Really I never thought about it this way and you really helped to put things into perspective as to why I'm possibly feeling a certain way. You're right, I do plan. I am a planner.

    I remember now so vividly my psychology lectures. I recall my professor... a very petittie woman, with a short haircut. I remember her lecture one day over identity and how men tend to particularly be inflexible and rigid with career plans and how closely they tie their personalities and ID to their job. That's just it, I feel like not following through these plans makes me a failure but that thought is flawed in every possible way.

    What happened? Idk exactly but I experienced life, I aged a bit, my tastes changed, and that's life. It's dynamic, organic, and ever changing. I gotta put the past in the past and embrace who I am becoming, as scary and disappointing/bittersweet it can be to part ways with past plans... this is much like leaving a relationship that's no longer functional... after you've tried and gave it your best.

    I recall my professor telling us... the entire class

    ”dont be rigid ... don’t be rigid... be flexible”
  11. by   Cat365
    Glad I could help. Please forgive my typing mistakes. I've been typing on my phone, in bed, and without my contacts. Not an easy task.

    My schooling was a bit heavy on the psychology simply because I loved it. I chose nursing instead of counseling because I'd be rotten at it. In my grandfathers only partially joking words "You'd get a suicidal patient in and say. 'You failure. You tried three times and still haven't succeeded?'" I really wouldn't but eventually my mouth would get me in trouble. It usually does. That's why ER is so great for me. I never have the same annoying patient two shifts in a row. I can bite back my words around anyone for 12 hours.

    PS. In some ways your instructor was likely right. Have you ever seen the damage strong winds do to trees? Older hardwood trees often break, but younger, more flexible trees just bend in the high winds. (I couldn't resist adding a metaphor)
    Last edit by Cat365 on Nov 23
  12. by   CardiacDork
    Quote from Cat365
    Glad I could help. Please forgive my typing mistakes. I've been typing on my phone, in bed, and without my contacts. Not an easy task.

    My schooling was a bit heavy on the psychology simply because I loved it. I chose nursing instead of counseling because I'd be rotten at it. In my grandfathers only partially joking words "You'd get a suicidal patient in and say. 'You failure. You tried three times and still haven't succeeded?'" I really wouldn't but eventually my mouth would get me in trouble. It usually does. That's why ER is so great for me. I never have the same annoying patient two shifts in a row. I can bite back my words around anyone for 12 hours.

    PS. In some ways your instructor was likely right. Have you ever seen the damage strong winds do to trees? Older hardwood trees often break, but younger, more flexible trees just bend in the high winds. (I couldn't resist adding a metaphor)
    Hahaha. No worries on the typing errors. I'm making some typos and errors as well, attributed to similar reasons.
  13. by   Here.I.Stand
    Life is too short to be miserable at your job.

    I too once had the goal of becoming a CRNA, and I scrapped that plan because I DO love being an ICU nurse! A tiny part of me feels like somewhat of an underachiever each year when colleagues leave for anesthesia school... but pretty quickly my thoughts turn to "But you don't want to be a CRNA."

    If you have a passion for teaching, you should be teaching. Nursing education certainly needs the best and brightest.
  14. by   37changes
    I'd just like to offer the perspective from someone a little further down the road, AGE-wise. (I am not a nurse, I'm a student).

    The #1 thing that comes to mind when reading your post is that it sounds like you do have the freedom & ability to change your mind. I'm guessing you don't have children depending on you. So SO many people have painted themselves into a corner and have no way out. There is no time to think about true happiness because each day is just focused on survival. (Maslow comes to mind).

    If you have the opportunity to do what makes you truly happy, seize it. Whatever that may be. No one -- NO ONE -- is going to care or be affected by your choices as much as you are. Letting go of what others may think of us is a difficult transition, and one that doesn't happen overnight. But it can be so freeing. Also, realizing that not one single step on your journey was pointless, or a waste. Every moment that leads you to this moment, at this time, on this day, is a moment that shapes you as a person. Knowledge is gained in every setting. That will continue to happen, regardless of which direction you go.

    So my post is just meant to say, follow your gut. It's telling you. Do it while you are able to do so.

    In moments of stress or anxiety, I often question what I'm doing. But the next thought in my mind is: If I quit right now and walked away from nursing school, what would I do? What would I WANT to do? What else can I picture myself doing? What would that look like? And the fact is, right now, there is nothing. Nothing at all. So I push forward. For me, having these moments brings me peace in my decision, and helps me know I'm on the right path for me, at this time in my life. But if you can close your eyes and picture anything else for yourself that is within reach -- man, go for it. Just do it.

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