Back In The Saddle Again

by VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN Guide | 4,872 Views | 20 Comments

A longtime desk-jockey is thrown head-over-heels off the metaphorical horse, then slowly makes her way out of the quicksand, dusts off her Stetson, and saddles up to ride the range as a working nurse once again. Git along, little dogies......there's a new cowgirl in town!

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    Back In The Saddle Again

    With apologies for the Old West metaphors.....I am, indeed, back in the saddle again as a floor nurse. And as sore as my old bones are from the unaccustomed exertions of this past week, it's a good kind of tired that reminds me of what it was like to be a nurse.

    As expected, it hasn't taken me long to recall how I used to manage my shift, or to take the first steps in re-establishing myself with the aides and other nurses. Many of the staff are friends from the last time I worked here, so I'm a known quantity, which makes it much easier to transition back into this role despite the upheavals I've been through since I last called this facility my home-away-from-home.

    Though I'm still technically on orientation, I already feel comfortable here. I'm learning two different jobs---float nurse and admissions nurse---as well as re-learning the charge position on the long-term care unit. I'm essentially the utility player, which is great because I'll certainly never be bored. As I've discovered over the past couple of years, boredom is a job-killer for me; I'm a sprinter, not a marathon runner, but I can go a lot farther if the view is interesting!

    My friend (and now boss) also wants to train me as a fill-in for the care managers when they go on vacation, as it's very difficult to run a unit for another RCM along with one's own. This too is exciting, although I'm glad subbing for them will be only temporary. I made the mistake of mentioning this aspect of the job to my psychiatrist, who literally made me swear an oath that I would never, ever, EVER take any sort of management position without talking it over with him first. (And even then, he said he'd insist on accommodations for my health issues, which as I recall were what got me pitched head-over-heels off the last horse I was on.)

    That's OK.....if he wants to slap the stupid out of me, he'll have to get in line because my family and friends will do it first. But there's not much to worry about, because every time I even think about being in charge of anything beyond my residents and crew for 8 hours, my stomach clenches up and I feel decidedly queasy. I'm sure I'll be tempted at some point in the future, but all I need to do is look at the fistful of pills I swallow twice daily to remind me of why I DON'T want to go back into management.

    I'll admit that running the floors again is tough on this overweight, fifty-something body, and it's probably going to be a few weeks before I stop feeling like I'm dying. I'm just thankful that I lost a bunch of weight before coming here; I'm actually lighter than I was the last time I worked in this building, and I'm sure I'll sweat off another 10-15 lbs. before I hit a plateau again. Oh, darn!

    It's hard to believe that after having sat in an executive chair in an air-conditioned office and making big bucks for almost three years, I'd be content to go back to the bedside in an old LTC and become a wage slave again. But life is a funny thing, and I've learned some great lessons during this odyssey I've been on.

    For one thing, our priorities change quite a bit when it stops being about money or status, and I'll never regret that I didn't spend more time trying to acquire these things. My husband and I are alone for the first time in over thirty years; our kids are all adults and raising families of their own......now it's OUR time to enjoy the fruits of our labors. It's a great thing for a couple to reconnect and rediscover each other in these later years, and that can only be accomplished when the frenetic pace of everyday existence slows down. There's so much more to life than increasing its speed!

    Even though my days are still jam-packed, now with cares to perform and shift reports to write, somehow they don't feel as rushed as they did when I carried 24/7 responsibility for eighty-five people, many of whom should have been in a place like this instead of assisted living. I know there'll be bad shifts, bad days, bad weeks; but I also know that when there's much more bad than good in my life, it's time to drop the reins and change horses in mid-stream, rather than keep pushing the old nag until we both drown.

    OK, enough with the horse-pucky. Suffice it to say that I'm happy to be out of the quicksand, and while I no longer entertain any illusions about the 'forever job' (it doesn't exist), I'm definitely not ready to be put out to pasture yet. Yippee-ki-ay!
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 29, '13
    HappyWife77, faithicu, GHGoonette, and 20 others like this.
  2. About VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

    VivaLasViejas has '17' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'LTC, assisted living, geriatrics, psych'. From 'The Great Northwest'; 55 Years Old; Joined Sep '02; Posts: 25,212; Likes: 36,543.

    Read more articles from VivaLasViejas

    20 Comments so far...

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    YEEE HAW!!

    Now I feel like starting "OOOOOOOOOKlahoma where the wind goes whippin down the plain......."

    All the best, Viva!! xo
    VivaLasViejas and Liddle Noodnik like this.
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    So glad you are working and happy working where you are! Thank you for the update. The staff and patients are fortunate to have you.
    silverbat and VivaLasViejas like this.
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    I didn't realize you'd already started orientation, yay!

    xo
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  6. 1
    please be careful and not commit to more than you can handle....
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  7. 2
    Quote from Ginger's Mom
    please be careful and not commit to more than you can handle....

    Who, me? I would NEVER...... j/k

    I know, I'm really bad about that. As foolish as it is, I keep testing the limits of what I can handle, with the inevitable results. But, I'm learning ways to avoid that (thank God for a great doctor and cognitive-behavioral therapy!) and hopefully this time I'll be able to resist the temptation to take too much on. I think I will.
    sallyrnrrt and FranEMTnurse like this.
  8. 4
    Wow, I am right where you probably were a few weeks back. I was the Director of Operations for a branchof a Home Health Company. I too had the big office, the big check, and the hope of having theforever career. Because of my tendency for "boredom", which is strange to say now looking back, I found myself looking out the window wanting more. More what? At that point in time, all I knew was I hadto get out. I could no longer be responsible for making sure others did their work. I found out that I am not a good caretaker of grown adults who know how to do their job, just choose not to. It was an
    exercise in futility. So I left.

    After a few weeks at a competitor's HHC, I found out another amazing thing about myself. I can no longer tolerate crazy, BS, or lack of accountability. I can not tolerate dysfunctional thinking and having to work in circles trying to please people. So I quit that job too!

    What's next? who knows. After reading your post, I have a tendency to maybe go work at the hospital again. The dream job is out there, but maybe its too late for me, or as you say, does it even exist?
    FranEMTnurse, Marisette, MauraRN, and 1 other like this.
  9. 6
    Quote from pcbnurse
    Wow, I am right where you probably were a few weeks back. I was the Director of Operations for a branchof a Home Health Company. I too had the big office, the big check, and the hope of having theforever career. Because of my tendency for "boredom", which is strange to say now looking back, I found myself looking out the window wanting more. More what? At that point in time, all I knew was I hadto get out. I could no longer be responsible for making sure others did their work. I found out that I am not a good caretaker of grown adults who know how to do their job, just choose not to. It was an
    exercise in futility. So I left.

    After a few weeks at a competitor's HHC, I found out another amazing thing about myself. I can no longer tolerate crazy, BS, or lack of accountability. I can not tolerate dysfunctional thinking and having to work in circles trying to please people. So I quit that job too!

    What's next? who knows. After reading your post, I have a tendency to maybe go work at the hospital again. The dream job is out there, but maybe its too late for me, or as you say, does it even exist?
    (Nodding vigorously. ) You nailed it! I don't know if you're old enough to remember the old Peggy Lee song "Is That All There Is?", but that's pretty much it in a nutshell. I had it all, and it was too much and yet not enough at the same time.

    At my age, life is more about finding one's authenticity.....or at least, it should be. It's a little hard to do when you have to pretend all day that you're someone you're really not---kissing up to people who don't know their butts from a hole in the ground and with whom you would never associate in a million years given the choice. Playing the Ice Queen and writing up staff members who are going through personal problems and foul up at work, even though you feel bad for them and want to give them a break. Exercising authority you don't really have.

    I'm convinced now that those things, even more than the burden of 24/7 accountability and the overwork, were responsible for the mental breakdown that cost me the job. I'm still on a lot of medication, but I'm healthy now for the first time in years so I count this as a victory.
    Marisette, FranEMTnurse, kbrn2002, and 3 others like this.
  10. 3
    As we say in the South, "Bless your heart!".... Did we have the same job? I only stayed 3 months and saw the writing on the wall.

    I was told to stay 6 months, "give it a chance". However, it was oil and water. It would never work, so why stay and be miserable.

    I'm now a "do not rehire" at my last 2 jobs. I am unemployed, broke, but happy! I am so sorry that you had to endure what sounds
    like "years" of pain and torture and end up on meds. I also was put on an anti-depressant and after taking just 2 doses, thought to
    myself, What am I doing? Do I have to take medications in order to work? That was my sign to quit. I could see all the signs
    of a mental breakdown in my future so why go there.

    How did you discover what to do next? How did you decide that working the floor would be your salvation and where you would find
    your comfort zone? I feel like at age 56, physically, I can't work the floor and be on my feet all day. Not to mention pulling on patients and lifting. Where does one go after all this trauma? (and drama?)
    Marisette, MauraRN, and VivaLasViejas like this.
  11. 2
    Well, I didn't really decide to go back to the floor, but when the opportunity to go back to my old, much-loved workplace opened up, I jumped on it. I'm pushing 55 myself so I don't know how long it'll last, but I'm going to find out!

    And, the breakdown I suffered was due in no small part to an out-of-control bipolar episode brought on by the severe stress I was under. I became extremely anxious and just could not go on. I still wonder how the heck my employer got around the ADA in terminating me, but at this point it's all water under the bridge and I'm well now, so I'm moving forward.
    sallyrnrrt and MauraRN like this.


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