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bbear2102 MSN, RN

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bbear2102 has 15 years experience as a MSN, RN.

bbear2102's Latest Activity

  1. bbear2102

    Finding My Place in Nursing

    I think informatics is a good choice. EHRs are always changing and improving. You could also try outpatient nursing in clinics. That can be less physically demanding than bedside nursing. Insurance companies also hire nurses and I think sometimes you can work from home in those roles. There are so many options out there so keep looking!
  2. bbear2102

    Finding My Place in Nursing

    My career path in nursing has taken many twists and turns. I always knew that I wanted to be a nurse, this was the easy part. While I was in nursing school, I decided that I wanted to be a critical care nurse. After I graduated, I started working in a medical ICU. I worked in critical care for 14 years. I loved it, and I was good at it. I had wanted to teach since nursing school when I had a particularly harsh nursing instructor. From that experience, I vowed that I would teach one day so that there would be one less mean instructor in the world. Over time I lost focus on that idea until my friend pushed me to pursue my master’s in nursing education. I applied to the master’s program and to an open position as the educator for my ICU at the same time. The last three years of my ICU career I was a unit-based educator. Unfortunately, burnout took a toll on me and I needed to leave the critical care environment. I took a job in the outpatient world, and after 2 years I knew I needed to be back in education. I went back to an inpatient educator position working with new graduate nurses. This was a great fit for me, but the work environment was toxic. A coworker was working part-time as a clinical instructor at the nursing school that I had gone to for my BSN. I had always wanted to teach at my school. I interviewed with them and was offered a position. I started working right away. I was able to start teaching at the school with just a master’s degree, but with the understanding that I will enroll in a PhD program. I have since been accepted into a PhD in nursing ethics program. I have been at the school for a year now and am learning more and more every day. Currently, I teach a clinical for second-semester students as well as facilitate in the simulation lab. Clinicals are great, it is so awesome to see how excited the students are when they perform new tasks or finally grasp a new concept. Working in the simulation lab is allowing my teaching skills to sharpen as well. I continue to improve on my debriefing skills after each scenario. It is great when we are able to have robust discussion after a simulation. I have also had the opportunity to design new, challenging simulation scenarios for the students. I am using all of my prior experiences in my current role. I use the experiences that I had as a bedside nurse, as a supervisor in the outpatient setting and as an educator with the new graduates. All of my prior experiences have helped me in different ways in my current role. The best part of my job is simply being a part of the education of future nurses. I felt lost for a while trying to find my place in nursing again after leaving critical care. I wanted to feel challenged but also feel that I was making a difference. I always said that I wanted to change the world, but I didn’t know how. I have found that in teaching. This opportunity is everything that I was looking for. I am able to be a positive role model for future nurses and help prepare them to care for others. It is hard work and I continue to improve with each clinical I teach, but it is worth it. Nursing is such an amazing career because no matter what you can always find your place. It may take time, it may take a few tries, but there is something for everyone in nursing. We can all find our place and we can all make a difference.
  3. bbear2102

    My Experience With Burnout

    For some reason there are nurses that feel burn out and some that don't. I always wondered what they were doing that I couldn't to avoid this feeling? I don't bieve that we should compare ourselves to others and how they deal with stress. Everyone is different and we all have our own stories. I truly believe that we will all find our passion in nursing. There are so many options that over time maybe our niche may change but we'll land in a new one if we remember why we love nursing and what drew us into this field.
  4. bbear2102

    My Experience With Burnout

    You are right-you need to put your health and happiness first. I would think about what made you want to become a nurse and try and keep that feeling with you. We are lucky that there are so many options for careers in nursing. Think outside the hospital setting-school nursing, outpatient clinics, insurance companies, and more. I always thought to myself-there is no reason for me to hate my job. I am a nurse and this is what I've always wanted to do, so I need to find a way to love my job again. Good luck reigniting your passion.
  5. bbear2102

    My Experience With Burnout

    what a beautiful quote, thanks for sharing!
  6. bbear2102

    My Experience With Burnout

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I think it helps to hear that others have had the same thoughts and feelings.
  7. bbear2102

    My Experience With Burnout

    I think that over the years that I have been a nurse healthcare in general has changed greatly. The expectations of nurses over the years have increased while support has not. Especially in the last five years it seems as though healthcare has been moving in fast forward. Electronic health records, new guidelines set for reimbursement, and documentation requirements changing on almost a weekly basis takes its toll. Even though in the grand scheme of things ten years is not that long there were only a handful of nurses in my ICU that had more experience than me. I'm not sure at this point if burnout is inevitable or something can be done to avoid it altogether, but I do believe it will take complete support from hospital leadership to make a change.
  8. bbear2102

    My Experience With Burnout

    For me it started four years ago. Like many nurses I was experiencing burn out. I had been a critical care nurse for six years in a large university medical center. In the beginning I started to feel a lot of anxiety when at work. I had the skill and the knowledge to do the job but over the years the emotional and physical stress had caught up to me. I preferred to work night shift and with that came the overwhelming responsibility of watching over the waves of new nurses that would all start on nights. There would be shifts when I would look around and realize that my options for resources that night were nurses with less than one year of experience. I would just hope that everything went smoothly. I started looking for jobs outside of the ICU environment. Every time I would think about leaving the job that I had loved for so long, I would think it's not time yet, I will know when I've had enough but not yet. So the emotional blows kept coming and I kept barely holding on because I knew that I was making a difference in the lives of my patients. To help with the burnout I started cross training in different areas. That helped for a little while as it changed things up for me. I would talk things over with my supervisor, who was also a great friend. She suggested going back to school. She knew that this was something that was always in the back of my mind and encouraged me to get started. Just as I was finishing up my school application the educator position for our ICU opened up. Instantly I knew I had to apply. I thought it was the perfect move for me. I thought for sure this would help me re-ignite my passion for critical care nursing. I got accepted into the Masters in Nursing Education program and got the educator position at the same time. I was so excited for both. School was a big adjustment and very stressful but I was really enjoying the new role as educator. I felt like I was making a difference again and impacting the new nurses as they went through their internships. This was merely just a band-aid for what was still looming below-burn out was still present, I was just distracted from it for a while. The demands of the job increased my fire and passion slowly decreased. I was working long hours and filling in on the unit when we were short. I felt like I was being pulled in a million directions. I wanted to make sure that the new nurses had the best chance for success, I wanted to give my patients the best care possible and I wanted my ICU to be the best in the hospital. Nurses on the unit were also showing signs of burnout and disengagement. Negativity was spreading like wildfire. It was really hard to keep trying to be positive when I was surrounded by negativity. Seasoned nurses were starting to leave, others were starting nurse practitioner programs, and some were transferring to different departments or hospitals to change their scenery. There were not many of us who thought we could sustain life as an ICU nurse for the rest of our careers. We found solace in talking to each other but that did not solve any of our problems, just let us know that we were not alone. The demands on the nurses were constantly growing yet the time to complete the growing amount of tasks was not. I would try to talk to family and they would try to help, but they just could not understand. They would try and remind me of the good that I was doing and the lives that I was positively affecting. My response would always be "but at what cost?" This job was killing me-emotionally, physically and spiritually. I now knew it was time to let go. At this point I had now been an ICU nurse for over 10 years. The thought of leaving the ICU broke my heart but I had to finally put myself first. I started looking for jobs but I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I was just about to finish my masters program so there were many options open to me. While I was searching for jobs and interviewing for various positions I attended the American Association of Critical Care Nurses National Teaching Institute. I went with a heavy heart knowing that I would not be an ICU nurse for much longer. I soaked in all the education that I could and enjoyed every moment. For the little time I had left I wanted to try and make a difference in my ICU. It took me a couple of months to find the right job but I did. I took a job as a nursing supervisor in an outpatient clinic. It was so hard to face the reality of leaving what was always my dream job but I knew I had to do it. I really enjoyed my new job. I started working out with a trainer, eating healthier, and since it was a Monday through Friday job I was finally on a normal sleep schedule. I still mourned the loss of my identity as an ICU nurse but it finally hit me that I did not miss the reality of what it is now to be an ICU nurse, but what it used to be. I could not ever get that back and that gave me comfort in my decision to leave. Looking towards the future I still have a passion for nursing and changing lives, I will just have to figure out a new way to do it. My dream to impact the nursing world is still very much with me. Jessica Strasen RN, BSN, MS
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