For Sale: Used Nurse. Dirt Cheap! - page 4

I'm not sure if it's because I was a good deal older than many of my classmates when I graduated from nursing school and found out very quickly that I was nowhere near as smart as I thought I was, or... Read More

  1. by   MaritesaRN
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    It's taken me a dozen years to get here, but I have finally decided that I'm no longer a "new" nurse.

    I'm not sure if it's because I was a good deal older than many of my classmates when I graduated from nursing school and found out very quickly that I was nowhere near as smart as I thought I was, or if it's merely because I'm in awe of nurses who are around my age and have practiced for many more years than I. But whatever the reason, the road to success in nursing has been a lot harder, not to mention longer, than I expected. And I'm sure there are those who wouldn't call me successful at all, seeing as how I'm back to where I started, as a charge nurse in a long-term care facility.

    I, on the other hand, see it as having come full circle.

    As a newly-minted RN, I was ambitious and eager to move up, and with some life experience going for me, I progressed swiftly through the ranks in the years following licensure. I sampled nursing much like a smorgasbord, starting out in LTC but then "graduating" to the hospital, then to a mid-level management position in residential care, and on to senior management in LTC. I returned to med/surg nursing for a few years, but then went right back to management---this time in assisted living---and there I believed I would remain until retirement. I missed using my nursing skills, and I wasn't fond of the 24/7 nature of management, but overall, life was good; I was earning more money and assuming greater responsibilities, and some of my superiors were beginning to talk of my potential as an administrator.

    Unfortunately, I was missing the whole point..........only I didn't know it until my career basically crashed and burned in the fall of 2008. I'd left a job I was more or less contented with to take a similar position with another company that lured me with promises of increased prestige and the kind of salary I'd only dreamed of. At first, I was literally wined and dined with expensive meals, a showy all-expenses-paid seminar, a trip to San Francisco, opportunities for advancement. I was wooed with flattery and given stock options.

    But as I've learned many times, when something sounds too good to be true, it almost always is.......and when reality set in, a mere two months into the job, I realized that I had been set up to fail by both my immediate supervisor and the company itself. It was inevitable---I was working 50- and 60- hour weeks, scrambling to keep up with impossible demands............and most of them had nothing whatsoever to do with nursing. I might as well had "Public Relations Person" on my name badge instead of R.N. To say that I hated this with a pink and purple passion would be an understatement; I hadn't gone into nursing to kiss VIPs' rear ends, conduct tours, or take orders for lunch with a cloth napkin draped over my arm. I hadn't gone through the rigorous training of nursing school so that I could sit behind a desk, answering the phone with "It's ALWAYS a great day at (blank) Assisted Living, how may I direct your call?" instead of teaching the care staff how to administer medications correctly.

    So when I made the decision to get out, I went to see an old friend who had just taken the DNS position at a local nursing home, and begged her to put me to work. At this point I didn't even mind going back to the floor, even though I was certainly not in good shape physically and wasn't sure how long I'd be able to do it, if indeed I could at all. I didn't care about the pay, the hours, the weekends...........all I wanted was a job. My friend, being a nice woman who just happened to be in need of staff, obliged by giving me one. And as it turned out, a chance to be a nurse again.

    Life, as most of us discover at some point, is really weird sometimes. Just about the time you think you've got everything wired, the proverbial rug gets yanked out from under you and you find yourself questioning every assumption you ever had. I thought I was supposed to be ambitious. I thought I was supposed to want more responsibility, more money, more everything. I didn't. I wanted to take care of people. I wanted to be able to turn over the keys at the end of a shift and not worry about it until the next day. I wanted to do a good day's work and accomplish the goals for that day instead of always worrying about the long term. And I wanted to know my residents as people again..........not as names on a checklist.

    Who knew that one could find redemption in an old, rundown building that sits on what must be the West Coast's largest ant colony? But that is exactly what's happened in the seven months since I shook the dust of Snootyville from my feet and returned to nursing as I first practiced it, twelve years ago.........only better. The bloom is long off the rose---I know what the workload is---and I'm OK with the lack of glamour in it. However, I also find myself much more patient with residents, staff, AND bureaucracy than I used to be. I never call in. I don't leave stuff for the next shift. And my fears about being too old and out-of-shape for floor nursing have evaporated in the reality of being over 40 pounds lighter.

    I don't know what the future may hold, or how long I'll stay where I am---hospice nursing has been calling to me for some time now, and its voice is becoming both louder and more insistent. But for now, I'm "too blessed to be stressed": I'm doing something I love, and my time off is all my own. Wealth and position are lousy substitutes for golden afternoons playing with the grandbabies on the freshly-mowed lawn, eating supper with the family, and enjoying these last precious weeks before my youngest child embarks on adulthood. I missed so much of life when I was spending all of my waking hours either at the job or thinking about the job; nowadays, I have less money, but what I've been given in exchange is well worth the cost!

    So while I'll probably never retire---I can't afford to now that I've given up my souped-up 401(K) and my stock options---I have essentially retired from the rat race. But if you're a hospice agency and you need a good used nurse, dirt cheap.......well, I could be just the one you're looking for.


    Thank you...I myself will be changing direction in my career. Right now I do medical review for insurance
    and UR for Medicare. For some reason the rehab or long term care is my choice. Why ? honestly I do not know why I choose this field. My only experience in this area was when I was a student nurse and was assigned to a nursing home , and my case was an Alzheimer case, and this can be difficult than the usual resident. Maybe for some reason that I am not aware yet. Honestly, it is a position that you can always find a job, considering the economy now. I am not that young , but I am a healthy person. I just need somebody to run through me as to what is expected of an RN in a LTC facility? I too have those high paying jobs, but the duties are impossible to complete unless you work 10 hours instead of 8. There were places that set me up to fail, just impossible things....and for my sanity I left these places as fast as I could... there is no way a disorganized facility or hospital is going to tell me that I can not do the job, because I know that I am a hard worker .
    I just need to know where I will fit. This will be probably my last position. I too can not retire.
    Really appreciate your story, so maybe you can talk to me as to what to expect in this type of work. I am getting prepared to get an AANAC, certification in MDS, but I think I need to gwt my feet in there first?
  2. by   VivaLasViejas
    Well, there are some times when trying to retool a troubled career smack dab in the middle of it just won't do.......sometimes, it's best to simply go back to basics and start all over again.

    First thing, try NOT to worry about the future while you're figuring out your next step. When I first took this position, I thought of it as my 'temporary' job---something to put food on the table until I healed up and decided what I really wanted to do next. About three months into it, however, I realized that it was my real job, that for better or worse, I was going to stay with it for the foreseeable future.

    Yes, I do want to go into hospice nursing at some point, but I'm not ready yet, and I'm not going to push myself into becoming ready. I have found that thinking ahead too far only makes me anxious and gets those old insecurities riled up ("I need to make more money, I need to plan for when my body won't let me do this any more, I need to make my family proud of me" etc., etc. etc.). I have to remind myself that there IS enough money, my family IS proud of me (especially now that I'm around a lot more), and that my body's holding up pretty good.........in fact, I'm probably 'younger' physically today than I was five years ago.

    Best wishes to you. Long-term care is not for everyone, but there are great rewards in it for those of us who love it!
  3. by   LadysSolo
    I agree about management - when my suprevisor at the hospital I had worked at for 22 years found out I was getting my Master's Degree, she said she would have to start "grooming" me for management. When I asked her how long she really thought I would last in management, she replied, "Maybe 5 minutes." Very true, which is why I took the NP track instead of management. B*** kissing has never been my "best thing."
  4. by   psigrl
    Bravo!!!
    Glad to know you made it to the other side. Congrats.
  5. by   quezen
    HOW do we get so brainwashed? I went into nursing for all the reasons everyone cites, plus I wanted to be able to make a salay above fast food, and still be able to work when I was older.
    I GOT SUCKED IN TOO!
    I did that 24\7 thing and I was proud of myself for being able to do it.
    I have learned recognize the hand of a power greater than money, systems and myself in the fate that tripped me up and brought me crashing back down to earth, and to reality.
    You are so right, we have accepted for ourselves the healthcare system with it's elechlons of money and power as normal. Live to work, not, like many other countries in the developed world (with health care systems rated above ours here in the USA), work to live.
    How much of our health $$$$ goes into propping up that glitzey overpaid corporate infrastructure?
    I only work PRN or agency nowdays. I have learned to recognize a nurse who has 'been there, done that' , who has real, hard fought for knowledge, experence and know-how, but who can be found plodding along in a staff job at an LTC, on on the night shift in a hospital. They are flecks of pure shinning gold in a murky stream.
  6. by   LockportRN
    Maritesa,
    I know what you mean about 'impossible situations' and you are very wise to leave for your sanity! I have such a hard time 'quitting' (is how I see it in my stubborn, never let them tell you what you can/can't do mind-lol) or walking away. A personal defect I know .

    I also know how it is to be 'set up to fail' and have the corp. leaders try to place their disorganized system failure on you as the nursing leader. I fell for that once, but never again.

    I think with your background that you have made an excellent choice! It has been my experience in all the LTC facilities that I work that the MDS nurse has a unique position. Yes, you would normally get an office. You're direct boss would be the DON (I've never seen the ADON impact the MDS personnel) and depending on the skill level of the Administrator and the organization, you would also answer to him/her. They generally look at the 'numbers'. It is a Monday thru Friday position and many times, if a nurse wants to complete this in 10 hour days 4 days/week, it is allowed. Also, I have never seen an MDS nurse being 'pulled to the floor'. A big plus for any nurse that may have an injury/arthritis or other serious diagnosis that would limit movement but no limit to their thinking. (how many nurses do we know that have destroyed their bodies in this profession!). The MDS nurse is usually in the Administration on-call rotation which does not mean that you come in to fill in for staffing shortages, but so that you can offer direction, talk to family members, check on residents and offer the nursing staff guideance over the phone. If anything serious should occur (power out, tornado warnings, etc), you would direct the in-house nursing supervisor what to do, then make a follow-up phone call to the DON and Administrator.

    A wonderful thing about being an MDS Coordinator or assistant is that you still have a HUGE impact on the patients (without the back breaking work)! It really involves you speaking to them and their families, auditing the chart, educating the nurse. Your Medical Review background will help you tremendously as you complete the MDS and gather all the information needed. You're UR background will have a better opportunity to see any areas where improvement is needed or where the 'team' is lacking , ensuring the best outcome for the resident.

    I've always thought that completing the MDS would be a great way to end my nursing career. If you have never worked in LTC, I would suggest it. It is not mandatory but if you can try it even part time for a while, I believe that it will make your transition into LTC and LTC MDS MUCH easier!

    Well, congratulations and good luck! I am so impressed with what you are doing. I just love this profession, it offers so many varieties of opportunities for growth with continued, true life-long learning!
  7. by   CseMgr1
    Quote from LockportRN
    This 80's mantra was so enmeshed in my brain that 17 years later, I am currently not working (as much as I HATE to say this, burnt out). I look at the years that I lost with my children. I wonder, did I positively impact anyone? Where any lasting changes made for a single person? (other than I my children and myself?) I think about what I want to do now and why did I get into nursing in the first place. While looking for work (admittedly halfheartedly although if I don't do something very soon I will loose my house) I am repeatedly pigeon-holed right back into management. sigh! At the same time, it's been a minute or so since I've passed meds and the CA I had was in my eye and the vision isn't good enough to start an IV, which has me nervous.


    What I DON'T miss are the phone calls, 10 minutes after you have left the building or the ones that come just as you are ready to go to sleep after working for 12 hours to tell you that the night nurse just called off, or the phone calls in the middle of the night that not only wake up your whold house, but that keep you awake in your 'menopausal state'! I don't miss having the master key, answering to administrators, assistant administrators, CEO's, corporations, IDPH and families everytime there is an error made by a nurse or a CNA that did not follow the policy. The scheduler that puts 'ghost' names on the schedule leaving the facility 'short' and all the oncoming staff mad at you. Having to cut staff because of the 'budget' which was always small to begin with and then looking at the exhausted faces of your nurses and cna's and the angry faces of the families and docs.
    There is no shame in admitting that you are burned out.

    Yesterday I was reminded of just how much I am burned out, as I completed a new home care admission on a 90-something-year-old man, who did not have a clue as to what was going on. He obviously had dementia (which his family vehemently denied). His SIL verbally attacked me as I attempted to complete my neurological assessment because he did not "like" the questions I was asking him, and his daughter did not want to sign any of the required legal forms, even though it was painfully obvious that her father was incapable of doing so. The house was oppressively hot and humid, making the assessment even more miserable. I couldn't get out of there fast enough, and I muttered to myself as I drove away: "I don't need this crap. I'm too old for this".

    I dread going into the office today, for I don't want to have to face the prospect of having to do one more visit or admission...or get dinged for one more uncrossed "i" or uncrossed "t".

    Sad, isn't it?
  8. by   VivaLasViejas
    Quote from CseMgr1
    There is no shame in admitting that you are burned out.

    Yesterday I was reminded of just how much I am burned out, as I completed a new home care admission on a 90-something-year-old man, who did not have a clue as to what was going on. He obviously had dementia (which his family vehemently denied). His SIL verbally attacked me as I attempted to complete my neurological assessment because he did not "like" the questions I was asking him, and his daughter did not want to sign any of the required legal forms, even though it was painfully obvious that her father was incapable of doing so. The house was oppressively hot and humid, making the assessment even more miserable. I couldn't get out of there fast enough, and I muttered to myself as I drove away: "I don't need this crap. I'm too old for this".

    I dread going into the office today, for I don't want to have to face the prospect of having to do one more visit or admission...or get dinged for one more uncrossed "i" or uncrossed "t".

    Sad, isn't it?
    Sounds to me like it's time to find your bliss, and then follow it..........even if it's not in nursing.

    Hey, as much as I enjoy my work, I'd quit in a heartbeat if I could make a living as a writer. It was always my first love. In fact, I wrote a semi-regular column for an Escondido, CA newspaper many years ago, and I was even published in the San Diego Union and the LA Times before I was thirty years old. It didn't pay much, if anything, but seeing something I'd written in print with my byline.........well, it's better than CHOCOLATE!

    Let me tell you, if I could've earned enough with my commentaries to keep bread on the table, we wouldn't even be having this discussion........but I'm sure that's why things worked out the way they did. I didn't really have that much to say when I was younger (even though I certainly thought I did), and now through a combination of work and life experiences, I have a few bits of wisdom to offer now and again.

    So, about following your bliss: You are right, you're too old---and life is too short---for bad jobs. Don't put up with it a minute longer than you have to. I wish you the best~:heartbeat
  9. by   MaritesaRN
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    Well, there are some times when trying to retool a troubled career smack dab in the middle of it just won't do.......sometimes, it's best to simply go back to basics and start all over again.

    First thing, try NOT to worry about the future while you're figuring out your next step. When I first took this position, I thought of it as my 'temporary' job---something to put food on the table until I healed up and decided what I really wanted to do next. About three months into it, however, I realized that it was my real job, that for better or worse, I was going to stay with it for the foreseeable future.

    Yes, I do want to go into hospice nursing at some point, but I'm not ready yet, and I'm not going to push myself into becoming ready. I have found that thinking ahead too far only makes me anxious and gets those old insecurities riled up ("I need to make more money, I need to plan for when my body won't let me do this any more, I need to make my family proud of me" etc., etc. etc.). I have to remind myself that there IS enough money, my family IS proud of me (especially now that I'm around a lot more), and that my body's holding up pretty good.........in fact, I'm probably 'younger' physically today than I was five years ago.

    Best wishes to you. Long-term care is not for everyone, but there are great rewards in it for those of us who love it!


    I really like your thoughts. I am currently in medical review w/ insurance and Medicare.....but I also have w/ me my daughter and my grandaughter. I am one of those that got hit w/ life's crisis...so I will probably be working until I can not work anymore. I have accepted this. Kind of concern w/ my age ---not a young chicken anymore!
    I feel that the long term care for old people is the place to work. I like old people and belong to a culture that respects our elderly and put them in a pedestal. I am concern of the understaffing. I am not afraid of hard work so this is not the issue, but they need to be realistic w/ their staffing. What is the best shift to work? this could be my calling ??? I will not know unless I work part time to see if it is something I would like to do. Understaffing is my pet peeve. What is the ratio of the patient? what are the duties of the night supervisor? I really appreciate a response please.
    Thank you in advance!
  10. by   VivaLasViejas
    Regrettably, understaffing in LTC is the rule rather than the exception. My facility staffs better than almost anyone around, but it's still 1 nurse to 25-30 residents, along with a med aide (shared with another unit) and 2.5 CNAs on my shift. (Our CNA-to-resident ratio is 1:8 on 7-3, 1:11 on 3-11, and 1:18 on 11-7.) There are days when it's adequate, and then there are some when you could have 15 people running around that floor and it's not enough......it all depends on what's going on at the time.

    Generally, I have little to no problem completing my assigned work in the time allotted, although I do sometimes have to stay over to chart if there's been a couple of admissions or falls (LOTS of paperwork there). I'm efficient, if not particularly speedy on my feet, and I'm thorough; yet I usually have time to do a little extra..........so I don't really have a whole lot to complain about.
  11. by   CseMgr1
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    You are right, you're too old---and life is too short---for bad jobs. Don't put up with it a minute longer than you have to. I wish you the best~:heartbeat

    You got that right.

    I was fired today.

    No reason was given other than I was not a "fit" for the job.

    Am filing for unemployment benefits tonight. That will give me 26 weeks to find my "bliss".

    I'm DONE with nursing, I know that for a fact.
  12. by   MaritesaRN
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    Regrettably, understaffing in LTC is the rule rather than the exception. My facility staffs better than almost anyone around, but it's still 1 nurse to 25-30 residents, along with a med aide (shared with another unit) and 2.5 CNAs on my shift. (Our CNA-to-resident ratio is 1:8 on 7-3, 1:11 on 3-11, and 1:18 on 11-7.) There are days when it's adequate, and then there are some when you could have 15 people running around that floor and it's not enough......it all depends on what's going on at the time.

    Generally, I have little to no problem completing my assigned work in the time allotted, although I do sometimes have to stay over to chart if there's been a couple of admissions or falls (LOTS of paperwork there). I'm efficient, if not particularly speedy on my feet, and I'm thorough; yet I usually have time to do a little extra..........so I don't really have a whole lot to complain about.

    Thank you ---- appreciate the peek over the LTC duties. What are the main RN function for the 3 shifts? I know any emergent case you can call the paramedic. and I think it depends if it is purely LTC or a combination of rehab.
  13. by   VivaLasViejas
    Quote from CseMgr1
    You got that right.

    I was fired today.

    No reason was given other than I was not a "fit" for the job.

    Am filing for unemployment benefits tonight. That will give me 26 weeks to find my "bliss".

    I'm DONE with nursing, I know that for a fact.
    Aw, sheesh..........I'm sorry, CseMgr, that's a lousy break you didn't deserve.

    I can't help thinking, though, that this will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. From your recent posts in this same vein, you've described a corporate mind-set that demands total allegiance to the job and a willingness to sacrifice anything, and everything, for the job. That's not what most of us go into nursing to do; it's when we become businesspeople first and nurses second that everything pretty much goes into the toilet, IMHO. I don't know about you, but I never envisioned becoming a corporate automaton who, when some administrator says "frog", I jump. .

    Please keep us posted during your journey. I am sorry that this happened to you, and wish you the best no matter where you go.:heartbeat

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