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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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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
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