Mid-Life Crisis: My Autobiographical Account of My Career as a LPN

  1. This article talks about my career as a LPN , and my search for fulfillment in this field.It discusses my career choices and educational choices, as well as a few insights into why I made those choices. Is it possible, as a LPN to achieve career satisfaction?

    Mid-Life Crisis: My Autobiographical Account of My Career as a LPN

    Ever wonder if you are having a mid-life crisis? Well,I am in the throes of one! I have found myself questioning if there is a difference between having a mid-life crisis, and having a "nervous breakdown." Over the last few years, I have definitely questioned my sanity!

    I have been a LPN for almost 19 years. In that time , I have worked many specialties: LTC, Doctors' offices in various specialties, staffing relief agencies, home-care, and addictions. I have learned an enormous amount in all of these positions. Some things have been positive, and some things have been negative, but I have definitely learned a lot.

    At the beginning of my nursing career, I worked LTC. I was in this position for about seven years. As time wore on, the patients were getting more acute.We were dealing with dementia patients who were frequently setting off bed and chair alarms, as well as a population that were basically med-surg patients. Except, on a true med-surg unit, a nurse would not be responsible for providing care to 30-60 patients ( depending on which shift was worked).Being perpetually short staffed and the increasing acuity of the patients made me fear for my license.Realistically, I could not provide the appropriate care, and it frightened me. After seven years in this position, I accepted a position in a doctor's office specializing in geriatrics and primary care.

    My mid-life crisis began several years ago. At the time, I was employed in another doctor's office setting . It was a very large practice that specialized in Diabetes and Endocrinology disorders. I started feeling restless in my position. Nursing politics, health care politics, and office politics were all starting to wear me down.Unrealistic expectations and time constraints that made me feel I wasn't able to provide good care were other contributing factors. I began to feel like I was working an assembly line, and could not keep up . There was also a coworker who overtly and covertly caused conflict among multiple disciplines. Her manipulations did not bring out the best in a lot of staff, myself included. There was high turnover in this office, and since I was the primary person who trained new hires, I was feeling more and more unfulfilled. To see someone that you have trained leave after six-twelve months is frustrating. The place became a revolving door. So, after eight years in this particular position, I decided to move on.

    I accepted a position in an OB/Gyn office. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening! Out of the frying pan and into the fire! Two weeks after accepting this position, I found myself fighting tears, and knew that it just was not a good match for me. Not long after that, a family member was diagnosed with a rare cancer. I used that diagnosis, citing the frequent doctor's appointments and impending surgery that she would need, as my way out. This position lasted all of six weeks! I do not even include this position on my resume.

    The bills certainly do not pay themselves. I did not even have another position lined up. It was a huge gamble! I began working several staffing agencies. One agency assigned me a home care case, which I still do once per week.The other two agencies sent me to various LTC facilities, or wellness clinics . I enjoyed working the wellness clinics. But between the three agencies, the hours were inconsistent. While I was grateful for the flexibility that working agency provided, which allowed me to take my family member to her various appointments, I began to look for something with more consistent hours.

    I found myself working part time in an outpatient drug and alcohol facility. While it is somewhat monotonous, it is not a bad job. Everyone has an easy going personality, and our director truly does attempt to make you feel valued. My gripe is that I am utilized at or near full time hours, but not receiving the full time benefits, and vacation accrual of a full time employee. I have discussed this with my supervisor. The result of the conversation was unsatisfactory. Because of that conversation, I am once again, starting to look for a full time position.

    Not only have I decided to make some different career choices, I have also decided to further my education. I am still trying to determine what I want to be when I grow up. Via a correspondence class, I obtained RMSR (Registered Medical Sales Rep) certification. I am finding it difficult to get into this field because I do not have sales experience. I have , however, had a couple of interviews in this field. That is a start, at least! It seems LPN's are often looked on as the pariahs of the medical community. So, I am thankful that I at least had the opportunity to interview for these positions.

    While attending the local community college, I have declared a different major three times! At first, I was going to pursue my RN. But my disenchantment with nursing made me back out. I then decided to change my major to Biotechnology. While the hands on research does interest me, and I love the science aspect, I would like to get into research in a different capacity,and not necessarily working in a lab. Now, I've decided to get some business management classes under my belt. We'll see how long it takes for me to declare yet another major. Pretty soon, I may likely be the most educated person without an actual degree! Yes, I am currently enrolled.

    Keeping my resume updated is beginning to feel like a full time job! The frequent changes, and life altering decisions reinforces my mid life crisis.While I still may be unsure of what the future holds for me, I am attempting to enjoy all of my experiences in this field.I will continue to strive for career fulfillment and advancement.
    Last edit by Joe V on Sep 10, '18
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  3. by   anne_marie_oregon
    Thank you, Joyce! It is nice to hear of another nurse's path. Yours has been varied, and I wish you the best in your future endeavors.
  4. by   elprup
    Yay I am not the only one wondering what I want to do when I grow up
  5. by   rn2be73
    I think i just don't want to grow up
  6. by   biggirl11
    Thank you Joyce, for sharing! I am still trying to figure out what I want to do or be when I grow up! I have been a nurse for over 10 years now, but something is missing. I am taking a little time out to re evaluate things.
  7. by   tgcid00
    Career satisfaction is what we make of it. A person can be satisfied with their job as a restaurant worker and another person can be unsatisfied as a CEO. The difference in these two people is their personal outlook upon life. Most people in middle adulthood go through a midlife crisis this is mostly due to fear of inactivity and meaninglessness. I recommend that you look at what makes you truly happy and try not to focus so much on career as a sole contributor to satisfaction. Focus ways to help others and in that way help yourself. I wish you the best.
  8. by   lpnpgh123
    biggirl,sometimes taking time to reflect and re-evaluate is a good thing. Good luck to you, whatever you decide to do.
  9. by   amygarside
    Thank you for sharing this kind of in-depth story of a nurse's struggles and journey. It is a way for us to also look at how we can examine our feelings especially in our line of work.
  10. by   somenurse
    I've stated from day one, that my goal n nursing WAS to try out every kind of nursing, so that when i hang up my stethyscope, i can honestly say, "I've done it all." And mostly, i have met that goal. Hard to find an area of nursing i have not worked.
    I'm very proud of that, not even slightly embarrassed about it.

    so because that was my goal----------i have never viewed my job-hopping, or specialty-hopping, or sudden direction changes in my career,
    as a drawback, or as a sign i was lost or any such thing,
    but, as part of my efforts to fulfill my goal of trying out every kind of nursing i had heard of.

    odd goal, maybe, but, it worked for *me*. Loved it. Kept me from burn out, kept things fresh, kept me on my toes, kept learning, and let me see so so so many things i otherwise would not have a clue about. Gave me a bigger picture perspective, and insights i don't think i'd have otherwise.

    My specialty IS floating. for real, that's me.

    but, for others with different goals, they might feel differently about switching up specialties. I say, "go for it, and enjoy the ride!"
  11. by   andreasmom02
    I am 32 1/2 yrs old, but this sounds a lot like me! I have jumped from one bad LPN job to another in the last few years! I'm starting to get really frustrated, and have juggled the idea of leaving nursing. My dream job is to be an RN on an OB/GYN floor in a hospital or clinic. I have kids though, and going back to RN school is a no-go right now... lol I've even thought of changing careers as well to make extra money to help my hubby & I. He is currently our main source of income. I need a low stress job, with flexible hours. My husband & I do not have much childcare help, and I need to be home with my kids. Thanks for sharing your story!