You don't just stop being a nurse.

  1. 13

    You aren't any less of a professional just because you stopped going to work every day. I wouldn't say that nursing is my 'calling', but being a nurse is part of who I am and it would take a lot to change or take that out of me. You can take the nurse out of the care provider role, but you can't take the care provider role out of the nurse!

    The tail end of 2011 was bad for me. All of 2012 was a roller coaster, mostly full of valleys. This year began with me hitting what felt like rock bottom, but then things started ticking upwards. I've now been at a new job for 5 weeks and am almost off of orientation, and I'm finally feeling like a normal person once again.

    I wish I could say that I just got lucky or that things changed over night, but it took work. I'm a work in progress and I certainly can't stop now. I have to keep this momentum going. Yeah things are going alright, but that doesn't mean that there won't still be hiccups. The key in things working, though, is that the way I see things has changed.

    I'm doing my best to stay mindful and in the moment. I used to be the kind of person who would always expect and prepare for the worst case scenario. Sure it makes sense to pack your umbrella if there is a 90% chance of rain, but canceling a day at the park because it rained yesterday is overkill. Being fearful of getting fired over one wrong move is being paranoid.

    I didn't get so anxious overnight and it's going to take me a lot longer to feel comfortable in my own skin again. I got through nursing school relatively unscathed, but of course it didn't prepare me for the world outside of NCLEX. I started as a new grad in psych and was really excited to be on the job. I thought that night shift would be a good place to start because it would be less hectic than days. I was right, but I found 12 hour nights to get incredibly long with passing meds at 2100 and then a few 0600 medications too. Charting was easy for me and the only thing that was really stressful was handling admissions. Of course not all psych patients sleep either, but it was doing 3 admissions in one night that started getting really tiring. I decided to give grad school a try and enrolled at my alma mater.

    It was hell going to classes at 1700 on my off days and although I loved what I was doing, I couldn't stay on nights any longer.

    I switched to days when the opportunity arose and the days and following months flew by. I became good at passing 0900 meds, admissions and discharges, and putting out fires throughout the day.

    I tried to do it all though, and that's when things started to fall apart. I tried to take 3 classes while working full time. One of the classes was a teaching practicum, and then I also took policies and procedures as well as research methods. Not a smart idea and even though I dropped policies and procedures, I wasn't able to give my all to my teaching practicum. My practicum was the last class I finished, even though I still have 3 gen Ed classes to finish my Masters in Nursing Education.

    I started getting burnt out and my unit began feeling unsafe. I got bitten by a patient and that was the last straw. Management refused to do a debriefing and reconsider safety measures on the unit (the nursing station was open and a patient came behind the nursing station, biting me and hitting another staff member, who received a shoulder injury). I couldn't deal with the stress anymore and turned to teaching.

    Six months after starting a position I was highly underqualified for, I got out of teaching. When a high school hires you less than a week after your interview, to start in less than two weeks to begin the second half of the school year and you have NO teaching experience, run away! I had no written curriculum, no teacher's copies of textbooks and students who had been through several other teachers during the first half of the school year. It was not a good experience for any of us. I was encouraged by the principal to reconsider my role and reapply for the position if I received a state teaching certificate.

    Let's just say that life happened between May of last year and this year, and here I am! I'm doing my best with my patients, working on my time management, and remembering some of the basics from nursing school. I was unemployed from June 2012 to May 2013 and out of clinical practice since January 2012. I felt so out of practice starting back on the floor, but it was amazing how things started coming back to me. During the time in which I was unemployed, I struggled to tell people about myself when I couldn't say what I did for work. I didn't feel comfortable saying I was a nurse without clinically practicing.

    I'm coming to learn that being a nurse and the qualities required to be an effective nurse don't leave you if you leave the clinical environment, or even if you aren't working. Being a nurse does not define me, but I think who I am makes me a nurse.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 21, '13
    htredmon, SamHill, MauraRN, and 10 others like this.

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    About pinkiepieRN

    Dolcebellaluna is a nurse in her mid twenties, regrouping and finding her bearings once again. She aspires to be a nurse practitioner and you should see her back in grad school within the next year!

    pinkiepieRN has '5' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'LTC/SNF'. From 'Baltimore, Maryland, USA'; Joined Feb '13; Posts: 309; Likes: 333.

    Read more articles from pinkiepieRN

    9 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    BRAVO!!!!
  4. 0
    ((HUGS)) Well done!!!!!
  5. 1
    wonderful to read this having gone thru much of the process w/ you - yay! Great article!
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  6. 5
    DolceBellaluna, thank you for posting this. I am in a similar situation....although not identical. Having graduated over a year and a half ago with the much cursed ADN, there isn't a hospital around where I live that will even give consideration to an ADN.

    I'm venting a little and am emotionally exhaused. I, like so many others, went to nursing school in my mid forties. I have two young sons, husband, home, etc. I graduated cum laude. Nursing always has been in my heart and I still feel lucky enough to have realized my dream of becoming an RN. This past year, I have done a lot of school nursing as a substitute. I really enjoy it, and it isn't the cushy job so many people wisecrack about. It is by no means ER, ICU, etc. But when there is an emergency, it's ME. Not a resident, another nurse, respiratory, etc.

    To get to the point, I found out late last night that I did not land the 2nd permanent position I have interviewed for. I am so tired of interviewing, getting hyped up about a potential position and then let down.

    In regards to getting my bachelor's degree, we have been on one salary since I've been in nursing school. I really do not have the resources to start my BS right now. So, I have an RN license that apparently is virtually useless.

    I have to state this and get it off my chest. How does the current hospital environment negate a woman/man in mid-life that went for and worked so hard for their RN? For years and years, hospitals have been staffed with ADN nurses. Suddenly, we are useless and out-dated?

    I mean no disrespect to anyone age group or those holding BSNs, but I do know what's its like to suffer a loss, care for a sick child, be a member of a community. The "REAL" stuff life is made of. Why does that get discounted in the eyes of the current hiring environment? Hospitals are so focused on magnet status....that's all it really is, a status. Of course, higher education is valuable and necessary. But when did it become the norm to discount the value of true life experience. Isn't that necessary to care for our patient's? I feel so kicked to the side and useless. I am not a complainer, a quitter or one to feel sorry for myself. I want to help people, care for them and contribute. I just never thought no one would want me to do that.

    Thanks for allowing me to vent and for sharing your feelings. I'll hang onto your story and words for the reason to keep trying. Best of luck to you!
    VivaLasViejas, MauraRN, Esme12, and 2 others like this.
  7. 0
    Thank you so much for sharing. I have had a lot of bumps in the road with this industry. I am now working in the ED which is extremely crazy. I hope that after a year or two, I will be able to have enough experience to pursue becoming a PA. It is getting harder and harder working on the floor and I realize my body can't take it.

    I also was out of a job for almost a year but my situation was due to being ill. Once I came back I felt in some ways like a fish out of water. Sigh. The road to success is definitely a bumpy one.
  8. 0
    Thank you so much for sharing your inspirational story...the main theme I picked up was just keep going..
    After having a period myself, of being un-employed, and applying for well over 80 jobs, and that is not a joke, finally I have found a position. The economy where I live work wise, is quite slow, with something like 90% of RN grads unable to find post-grad work, I consider myself lucky to have found an EEN role, being Nurse Gr3. I deferred RN study this year, and am unsure if I will pursue it at this stage. The road is surely full of up and down moments, but I love nursing, and any job that allows education and growth is a good one.

    Good luck to all, and thanks again for your story.
  9. 0
    excellent!
  10. 0
    Quote from Muttlover
    DolceBellaluna, thank you for posting this. I am in a similar situation....although not identical. Having graduated over a year and a half ago with the much cursed ADN, there isn't a hospital around where I live that will even give consideration to an ADN.

    I'm venting a little and am emotionally exhaused. I, like so many others, went to nursing school in my mid forties. I have two young sons, husband, home, etc. I graduated cum laude. Nursing always has been in my heart and I still feel lucky enough to have realized my dream of becoming an RN. This past year, I have done a lot of school nursing as a substitute. I really enjoy it, and it isn't the cushy job so many people wisecrack about. It is by no means ER, ICU, etc. But when there is an emergency, it's ME. Not a resident, another nurse, respiratory, etc.

    To get to the point, I found out late last night that I did not land the 2nd permanent position I have interviewed for. I am so tired of interviewing, getting hyped up about a potential position and then let down.

    In regards to getting my bachelor's degree, we have been on one salary since I've been in nursing school. I really do not have the resources to start my BS right now. So, I have an RN license that apparently is virtually useless.

    I have to state this and get it off my chest. How does the current hospital environment negate a woman/man in mid-life that went for and worked so hard for their RN? For years and years, hospitals have been staffed with ADN nurses. Suddenly, we are useless and out-dated?

    I mean no disrespect to anyone age group or those holding BSNs, but I do know what's its like to suffer a loss, care for a sick child, be a member of a community. The "REAL" stuff life is made of. Why does that get discounted in the eyes of the current hiring environment? Hospitals are so focused on magnet status....that's all it really is, a status. Of course, higher education is valuable and necessary. But when did it become the norm to discount the value of true life experience. Isn't that necessary to care for our patient's? I feel so kicked to the side and useless. I am not a complainer, a quitter or one to feel sorry for myself. I want to help people, care for them and contribute. I just never thought no one would want me to do that.

    Thanks for allowing me to vent and for sharing your feelings. I'll hang onto your story and words for the reason to keep trying. Best of luck to you!
    You are so right on about the whole ADN debate. Another piece of that saga is that so many of us are second career folks like me. I have a Bachelor's in another field, worked in the corporate world of real estate/legal business, owned my own business, raised a child, then received LPN diploma, then ADN. According to the nursing industry here in Massachusetts, none of that counts. Doing a comparison of all of my college credits vs the BSN curriculum, I am more educated in all ways, including having taken Ethics, Philosophy, Chemistry, Macro and Micro Economics, etc. Not to mention real life. It is quite frustrating. I have precepted new grads with BSN degrees, nice people, can write great care plans, but I actually had one administer insulin to a patient's upper thigh...through the johnny. LOL!!!
  11. 0
    I have gone back to school part time while continuing to work full time. It is a struggle to balance life. I can't wait for graduation. I have 36 weeks until then. If I did not have such a loving and supportive husband I probably would not have gotten this far without a mental breakdown.
    Take care of your self and keep healing.


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