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Sarah Jividen BSN, RN

Emergency Room & Neuro Trauma

Sarah RN, BSN is an emergency room nurse and blogger at www.mothernurselove.com.

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Sarah Jividen has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency Room & Neuro Trauma.

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  1. I remember when I first made the decision to go to nursing school. I was 31-years-old and struggling with the idea that I had spent 9 years working in a career that I didn't really like. In fact, I hated my profession. I had spent nearly a decade selling medical equipment to hospital operating rooms, traveling up and down the west coast, schmoozing with doctors and hospital purchasing managers so they would buy my stuff. But even though my heart wasn't passionate about my profession at the time, I was passionate about working hard and performing well. So, each year I met my professional goals and advanced in the profession. Which, in turn, also made it harder for me to leave. But then one day, it hit me. I didn't want to just work in the medical profession. I wanted to be an actual medical professional. I remember thinking how bored I was sitting on the sidelines as a device rep, watching procedures and literally thinking, "this is SO lame, please shoot me!" So (a few mental breakdowns later) I finally did it. I signed up for the 7 prerequisite science classes that I needed to take before I was even able to apply to nursing school (as a prior journalism major, I hadn't taken very many science classes at that point). I took my classes in the evenings after work. And I started studying to take the TEAS. It all took me about a year to complete, and in 2010 I started my journey to become a nurse. Things You Need To Know... #1 Nursing school is crazy hard (and expensive) Not only will you have daily classes, labs, weekly exams, and intense competition from classmates, but you will also be working clinical shifts as a student nurse. Many nursing programs also advise against outside work during the program because they warm that you won't be able to keep up with the work. And in California (like many other states), hospitals are no longer hire nurses who don't have a BSN. As a result, many nurses are graduating from nursing school with 50-100K or more in student loan debt. #2 You will probably have to work night shifts, at least in the beginning Nurses are needed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Since many nurses don't want to work all night, seniority is often the deciding factor when it comes to assigning nurses to the day shifts. Some hospital units even have a rule that new nurses must work night shifts for at least the first few years of being there. You will want to invest in a great set of blackout shades, at least one pair of blue blocker sunglasses, and a box of ear plugs (so the guy mowing his lawn at 1100 doesn't wake you up). #3 Working three days a week as a nurse isn't as easy as it sounds I remember thinking how awesome it would be to only have to work 3 days a week. I mean come on, its only 3 days! But that also means that the days you do work are incredibly long. Nursing shifts are often advertised as being 12 hours, but they are actually more like 14-16 hours once you factor in oncoming nurse reports, overtime due to short-staffing, and your commute to and from work. #4 You will be afraid that you might kill someone This one is a real fear because, for example, if a nurse makes a medication error or forgets to check vitals or a patient's neuro status's per order, then you actually accidentally could kill someone. But as you grow more tenured in your career, you develop a sixth sense for things that might go wrong and you figure out how to triple check in the most time-crunched circumstances. And you learn how to assess your patients quickly enough that if there are any vital or neuro status changes, that you can get the help you need before things go downhill. #5 You will learn to balance more information then you have ever had to before There really is no such thing as multitasking, because our brains can't actually focus on more then one things at the exact same time. But nurses developed the uncanny ability to juggle multiple ongoing tasks for multiple patients for up to 12 hours a day - such as medical orders, patient requests, vital signs, medications, allergies to medications, lab values, care plans, etc ... We forget too eat and pee all day, but we remember the important medical information we need to know for our patients. Being a nurse stretches your brain further then you even thought it could go. #6 Nurse abuse really does happen Sadly, abuse against nurses isn't uncommon. In fact, nurses are expected to put up with levels of abuse that would NEVER be acceptable in just about any other professional setting. I have been cussed at more times than I can count, in just about every colorful way you could imagine, for just doing my job. Even worse, violence against nurses is prevalent (especially emergency room nurses) and it usually isn’t even routinely tracked. I have been lucky not to find myself the victim of direct physical violence as a nurse as of yet. Many nurses have not been so not lucky. #7 Your whole body will start to hurt There is alarming evidence now that even proper lifting techniques expose nurses’s spines to dangerous forces. If that's not bad enough, chronic back pain in the nursing population is a common ailment. An evidenced-based review at the Texas Women’s University reported that estimates of chronic low back pain among nurses range from 50%-80%. You may not be able to escape some of the wear and tear from being a nurse at the bedside. However, you can pick up healthy habits outside of the hospital like yoga, running or weightlifting to help recuperate on your days off. #8 You will find that there are multiple types of job opportunities away from the bedside One thing that I Iove about being a nurse is that there are so many job opportunities away from the bedside for nurses. So even if you decide that beside nursing isn't for you anymore, there are other nurse occupations to look into. Here are a few examples from some of my nurse peers: aesthetics nursing legal nurse consultant nurse blogger/freelance writer medical/pharmaceutical sales professional nurse coach nurse recruiter Despite the Intensity, I Love Being a Nurse I'm proud of what I do to help humankind, all within a 12-hour shift. I get to help people in some of the worst moments of their lives, and I am surrounded by other co-workers who enjoy being helpful as much as I do. And, I am always being inspired to keep learning more. References Violence against nurses in hospitals not routinely tracked, reported Violence Against Nurses Working in US Emergency Departments Even 'Proper' Technique Exposes Nurses' Spines To Dangerous Forces Mind-Body Exercises for Nurses with Chronic Low Back Pain: An Evidence-Based Review
  2. Great post! Burnout in nursing is real and you don't have to stay in the same specialty if you heart just isn't in it anymore. There are so many different ways to practice nursing.
  3. Sarah Jividen

    Why I Quit Medical Device Sales To Become A Nurse

    Becoming a nurse was nothing like what I expected. As a business person working in the medical device field I thought I knew so much more then I actually did about what it is really like to be a nurse. I learned that you don't know what it is really like to be a nurse unless you are an ACTUAL nurse. This is one reason why I believe there is such a large disconnect between the business side and the clinical side of nursing. I think there are too many non-clinically educated business profession making decisions that directly effect patient care. Another great reason to have more nurses in business!
  4. Sarah Jividen

    Why I Quit Medical Device Sales To Become A Nurse

    Thank you, Nurse Beth! I appreciate that you took the time to read it!
  5. Sarah Jividen

    Why I Quit Medical Device Sales To Become A Nurse

    I love working in the emergency department. I have worked in a few different specialties and it took me a while to find the one I was most passionate about. I am also passionate about writing about the nursing lifestyle. There are so many things you can do as a nurse besides work at the bedside. Thank you for reading!!
  6. Sarah Jividen

    Why I Quit Medical Device Sales To Become A Nurse

    Thank you for reading and leaving a message! Best of luck to you I’m nursing school. It is a lot of work but also a very fulfilling career with a lot of opportunity!
  7. Sarah Jividen

    Why I Quit Medical Device Sales To Become A Nurse

    Thank you for reading and leaving a comment:-)
  8. Sarah Jividen

    Why I Quit Medical Device Sales To Become A Nurse

    Thank you for reading my article and leaving a message. I have thought about the possibility of going back into medical sales a couple of times in recent years but each time decided that it was in my interest to explore other options. I love the clinical aspect of nursing as well as writing, both of which I wouldn’t be doing as much as a medical salesperson. I am so glad that I got that experience though!
  9. My nursing career path has been unconventional, to say the least. I began my first post-college career as a medical device sales representative selling medical equipment to hospital operating rooms. Then after a decade in the field, I went back to college and earned a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. I hear about nurses trying to break into medical device sales all the time. But I have never known anyone who worked in medical device sales and then went back to college for a nursing degree. Not once. Here is the story of why I quit a successful 10-year career in medical device sales to pursue a career as an RN... As a very young adult, my first priority was to make money After graduating with a BA in Journalism in 1999, I was ready to start making money. After all, I was broke and tired of being poor. I was also passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, so a sales job in the healthcare field seemed like a natural fit. Over the course of my decade career in sales, I worked for a fortune 500 company and a few startups. I covered huge territories and at one point even spent almost an entire year living out of a hotel. It was a lot of hard work, but the money was there. But I got better every year, despite a gnawing feeling that my calling was somewhere else. My twenties flew by before my eyes. One day after a lot of soul-searching I finally decided to go back to school and earn a BSN. My sales counterparts couldn't believe I would leave the medical device industry after what most would consider a very financially successful career. I tried to explain the best I could - that I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. And medical sales just wasn't doing it for me anymore. I eventually had a shift in my professional priorities Even though I wasn't an actual healthcare professional at the time, I got to work in hospital operating rooms and observe almost every kind of surgery. It was through those experiences that I learned I wanted to be more truly clinical - instead of just repeating a sales pitch with each new physician who gave me the time of day. More specifically, I wanted to jump into the procedures that I was selling products and actually be a part of the medical team. Not sit and wait on the sidelines for hours until they used the product I was selling (if they used it at all). More importantly, though, I was continually drawn to help people and learn clinical life-saving skills. I was tired of going home every day feeling as if I wasn't doing enough with my life to make the world better. Sounds a little cliche, I know. But this little voice in my head kept telling me that one day all I was going to say about my life was that I was a "salesperson." And I wanted more than that. So one day, l quit my career and went back to school to earn my RN. Starting over as a nursing student was humbling I paid my own way through my nursing prerequisites and another college degree. And let me tell you - college is so much more expensive now then it was in 2000. I was lucky that I had such a large savings from my prior career to help get me through. In addition, I also worked as a bartender at night - sometimes until midnight - and then had to be at a clinical rotation by 0700 the next morning. I studied nonstop for 3 years. Nursing school was so much harder than medical sales, or my first college degree for that matter. In fact, I didn't even know school could be that hard. Still, I pressed on, feeling like I was going to get kicked out at any moment for failing a test (and 1/4 of my cohort actually did get kicked out, its a miracle I wasn't in that group). To this day, nursing school is the most difficult thing I have ever done in my professional life. I was a nurse's assistant during nursing school I worked as a CNA during my last year of nursing school and I both loved and hated it. It was such an honor to give care to my patients in some of the worst times of their lives. It was primary, basic care - and it was important! I tried to give my patients humility. I helped people feel human when they felt invisible. But being a CNA was also so challenging- both physically and physiologically. This is because for the first time in my life I was not at the top of the food chain. I sometimes felt like I was just a staff person to boss around. No longer did I have my salary plus commissions, my company car and expense account, my catered lunches, my bonuses and my stock awards at the end of the year. And sometimes I missed it, but not enough to ever go back. I finally attained my RN, BSN title After three years of nursing school and a lot of sweat and tears, I finally graduated with my BSN. I began my career specializing in a neuroscience and stroke unit and earned certifications as a Stroke Certified Registered Nurse and Public Health Nurse. In 2017, I began a new phase in my nursing career as an emergency room RN. Being a nurse means that I am ALWAYS learning. While being a nurse is exhausting and I have moments of extreme burnout, I do feel that nursing is my calling. I am a closet science geek and the love cerebral stimulation that I get as a nurse. I have had the opportunity to see more disease states, complex injuries and unusual diagnoses than I ever could have imagined even existed. It would not be an exaggeration to say I learn ten new things every day at work. To top it off, I am surrounded by some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Many of my co-workers have the same drive for helping people I do. They motivate me to keep learning. My experience in medical device sales was a valuable part of my overall career growth In fact, I am so grateful for my time in medical sales. My experiences have given me a much different perspective than many of my nurse peers. And I see my experiences as a huge advantage for my professional development. Working in the medical sales industry gave me valuable business and communication skills. I met a lot of great friends with whom I still have close relationships with. My organizational and time management skills are much more fine-tuned and I learned how to be a professional in the workplace. I just like to think of myself as being a little more well-rounded now. After all, the businesswoman in me still exists. But now I have the clinical prowess and expertise as an experienced RN to match.