Not working, NOT feeling guilty. In fact, training to get my CDL (Commercial Driver's License) so I don't have to take another nursing job until it is 'safe' to do so. Feel sorry for all y'all that just got out of nursing school and feel obligated to work as a nurse to pay back loans. Nursing work AND saving shrewdly has afforded me this 'pause' to re-evaluate what makes me excited to get up in the morning. When hockey hurt more than it was fun, I put my skates and equipment away. I'm in the same space now, making a decision about working as a nurse. I worked at some of the largest HIV treatment centers in the U.S. (Houston), understanding my risk of HIV, Heb B, etc. was elevated from working in the OR, but I felt relatively safe in my practice. This was because I could control what I did, being careful handling blood & body fluids and appropriate PPE.
This pandemic is entirely different. In the past year, working in two different states that had mask protocol orders in place, I found myself in communities in those states that were living in an alternate universe. The non medical town folk, AND, the should know better nurses I worked with wouldn't wear a mask?!? Other colleagues report working in doctor owned surgical facilities that 3 of 5 doctors are COVID positive, and, never quarantined, never missed a day...came to work POSITIVE and thought that was okay because they were wearing masks?! I have experienced the COVID break room risk, with no distancing, people with masks OFF much longer than it takes them to eat or drink, and, managers that can't or won't lead in these difficult times.
There is a turning over of reptilian management in healthcare, to something that is even MORE malignant and focused on dollars not patients or the infrastructure to provide care to patients, nurses. It was always 'bad' but it is orders of magnitude worse now. They expect nurses to battle COVID defenseless, without adequate PPE. This baloney about mask reuse was malpractice a year ago, and, in the elapsed year, production has afforded more supply to the market. One place I went to did a fit test on a very good N95, then switched the brand when you got to the clinical area, to something that didn't fit....criminal behavior, if I cared to file a report with CMS....I don't. Don't believe the doe-eyed looks they give you about 'lack of PPE', they know EXACTLY what they are doing, because their budget metrics tell them what supply levels they SHOULD have based on pt DRG's. Their cost saving bonuses are coming at the expense of not just PATIENT lives, but NURSE lives...they KNOW that!
Will I take another contract RN job? Maybe, more likely NOT.