I have decided that it is probably time to give it up. I don't want to, but I don't see that I have a choice. I have been an RN for almost 20 years. During that time, I have taken years off to care for my kids at home. The last time I worked for any amount of time was in 2004. Since then, I have kept up my CEUs and taken an RN refresher course. I also got a job in a LTC facility a few months ago that I could not handle physically due to some physical limitations that I have. I have had disc surgery on my neck twice in the past eight years. At this point, not only did the surgeries not really help the situation, but if I flex my neck for longer than a few seconds, I get a screaming headache on the right side of my head that will last for at least two days that OTC pain meds can't touch. In doing my three hour med pass at the LTC facility, I would have to flex my neck for hours, hence the HA pain, and I had to give up the job. I have since applied for countless hospital positions, thinking that it wouldn't be quite as hard on my body--since you get to sit down at least some of the time and no three hour med passes-- and because that's where my 10+ years of experience lies, and all I get is no response, or polite emails or letters telling me that the position has been filled by someone more qualified. I have also applied at dialysis centers, nursing agencies, etc. to no avail.
Under those circumstances, I am thinking that it is time to just give it up and hang up my stethoscope. I don't have my BSN or any administrative experience, so a nursing desk job, at least in my area, is out of the question at this point (not to mention that I would constantly be flexing my neck to look down at paperwork or whatever-I can hardly stand to even sit and read a book at this point), and I can't afford to go back to school to get my BSN. Have any of you had an experience such as this? How did you cope with it? I feel useless, washed up, and unskilled to do any other kind of work. It's so frustrating! I am planning on becoming a hospice volunteer who goes to visit hospice patients in their homes to keep them from being lonely and to try to cheer them up a little bit, and orientation for that starts in January. That will help with the feelings of uselessness, but it's not really the same. DH has a decent job and we have rental property, so I don't absolutely have to work as a nurse or starve and I feel very blessed and relieved about that, but still...it's disheartening.