I had an epiphany of sorts last night whilst at work.
For the last few months I have been struggling with working full time and trying to get my requirements done so that I can get into nursing grad studies. I was convinced that this is what I wanted to do with my life. I am not content being a general duty nurse. The longer I work on the floor, the worse I'm going to be, I think. Shift work is getting to me. I am becoming too frustrated with everybody else who doesn't share the same drive as I do. This impatience always rears its ugly head when I am dissatisfied with life.
I feel like I'm at a crossroad. The application for grad school is due in February and I need to make a decision about my life.
Sure, I think I'm a good nurse. There are areas of being a nurse that I just love and I don't regret being a nurse. I'm just really dissilusioned right now with nursing. I thought my life would be better if I challenged myself more or if I picked a more independent aspect of nursing such as being a CNS. I'm also afraid that if I choose to study gerontology, it will be too limiting. I have seen that having such a position just gets you that much closer to the politics. I'm wondering if I need to get out of health care altogether. It's just bringing me down and I don't see it getting any better. I'm afraid I'm headed for burnout.
Psychology is another love of mine. I "minored" in it while I was a nursing student in university. I have a lot of classes under my belt already. Would it be crazy to abandon my ambitions to be a CNS and pursue this instead? I think I'm a gifted counsellor already. I could definately apply what I know about working with dementia towards psychology. The thought just opens up a whole new world for me. To study dementia from the cognative psychology point of view would be facinating. Imagine doing so, without having to put up with all the Bull**** of nursing along the way.
In a way, I think it would be a relief to focus on something different then nursing for once. Oh what to do, what to do??!!
Can you help me decide?
Jan 3, '03
Glad2behere: Thanks for caring!
I've been around long enough to know that my current malais (Did I spell that right?) is probably temporary and I will probably muddle through it for a couple of months until something inspires me again. It's happened to me before and surely will again. It's just a little more disappointing this time because thing have gone so well in my job this past year that I had thought I had found the job I would stay in until retirement. Now, I am not so sure.
What set it off this time was my yearly eval in December. I had spent the year being constantly praised by one of my bosses (the DON) about what a great job I was doing and what a joy I was to have around. I created a summer externship program for nusing students that was a huge success and took over our relationships with all the local schools of nursing (and that had not been in the job description I had agreed to). I accomplished all of this while my mother died in the Spring and I broke my right hand and wrist in the summer.
Anyway, my other boss (the Director of Nursing Staff Development) actually wrote most of my eval -- and while the over-all score on the eval was fine, there were some piddly things in there that really ticked me off. They took me completely by surprise and made me really question my loyalty.
The biggest thing was that I got a low score for "treating other people with courtesy and respect" because apparently one of the secretaries in the Education Dept. said that I was essentially, "uppidy." This completely blindsided me as I had spent most of the year trying to suck up to this particular secretary, who handles the school of nursing schedules. I told her repeatedly how happy I was to have her help because I am not very good at clerical tasks and apparently she took that to mean that I consider clerical tasks to be "beneath me" and all my education. She totally misunderstood my intentions. Was I ever given a hint that she had negative feelings toward me? Of course not. Her misinterpretation just appeared in writing on my eval from out of nowhere.
Now, you might think ... "No big deal. No one's going to see those sentences on that eval." However, my hospital has a formal policy that it will not give job references. So, if I ever leave here, the only way I can show I did a good job is to show my perspective employer my evals. How could I ever show anyone an eval that says I don't treat people with courtesy and respect?
The point is ... I thought I had gotten to a point in my career at which this sort of thing would not happen. It's not that I expect people to "kow-tow" because of my PhD and my somewhat lofty position in the hospital's hierarchy. It's just that I am once again reminded that it's often not the quality of the work that you do that matters: it's whether you have sucked up to right people in the right way. I had no idea this secretary (with whom I have minimal interactions) had so much power over me.
Nursing is too much of a popularity contest -- like junior high school. In what other profession do the beginners feel free to "tell off" their bosses? In what other profession do staff people with Associate Degrees make more money than Managers, Educators, and Researchers with Master's Degrees and PhD's?
Yes, I checked. If I had come to this same hospital as a new grad with an ADN and simply stayed here as a staff nurse, I would be making more money than I do now with a PhD in an advanced practice position.
It's all just discouraging. No, I am not planning on leaving nursing -- or even my current job -- any time in the near future. I've accomplished many positive things and I need to let those accomplishments be my reward. I shouldn't need a "pat on the back" come eval time -- but I do. We should be celebrating each other's accomplishments instead of nit-picking every little thing. Of course I know that I am not perfect, but I did a darn good job this past year and I did not deserve that slap in the face.
We currently have a nursing culture that is all about the negative, and that negative culture has worn me down at the moment. I keep looking for the positive, and lately, I have not been finding it.
I've said to much about the specifics of this matter. Please realize that I am taking a risk by being so open about it.
Last edit by llg on Jan 3, '03