The Honeymoon That Never Came

Updated | Posted
by Merrie82 Merrie82, RN Member Nurse

Specializes in Medical Surgical. Has 1 years experience.

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So, I am a very new nurse, ie, still in orientation. I am feeling a little befuddled,  because I seem to have missed the everything is sunshine, and dewdrops, and kittens, phase of my new career. I'm hoping this doesn't mean I'm going to reach the 'boy I need a new job' phase exceptionally fast. Don't get me wrong, I like my job and my new unit, but I also am very much appreciative of my days off.

I started thinking about this because it came to light (ie I had no clue) last that my new unit only allows us to use 2 out of 5 weeks of earned time, and the rest we are supposed to cash out at the end of the year. (Or use as sick time, but I have no plans to become 'sick' so I can use my earned time, its just not in me). I am feeling particularly salty and crusty about this earned time policy, and wish I had known of it before I accepted this position,  as I do enjoy being able to take a day off here and there. In fact, I am feeling like a long weekend would be very good right about now ? ....and that's what I'm sayin'! I just started and I'm already ready for a break ? LOL. 

I have worked in the same hospital where I am now employed for a couple years as a CNA, and prior to this I worked for the same organization in a different role as a crisis worker for 3 years. It's also worth mentioning that things are a bit hairy at my hospital right now, as we are in the process of voting on unionization. Also, the covid. My old CNA unit is a covid unit, or has been since March, so I was maybe already a teensy bit burnt out. A friend of mine that I went to school with who also works in the hospital, and has transitioned to a nurse in her dept (ED) is feeling the same lack of ? and ?,  so im not alone. 

I just hope that this is not a foreshadowing of the shortest career in nursing history ?‍♀️?. This is my second career, and I cannot afford a 3rd LOL. Honestly though, did y'all experience the kittens ?  phase, or jump straight to the "2 more days and I get a day off" phase? I really do like a lot of aspects of my job. I find it to be interesting intellectually. I like the hustle and bustle and organized chaos. As hard as it is, I value being able to be there for patients when they are struggling, or when they pass. I like feeling like I accomplished something at the end of the day. So that's good, right? ???

Thanks for all your wisdom in advance❤

TheMoonisMyLantern

TheMoonisMyLantern, ADN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Mental health, substance abuse, geriatrics, PCU. Has 15 years experience. 1 Article; 922 Posts

Well, I don't know who told you that your first years in nursing would be sunshine and rainbows, but they sure did tell you a line of bull! The first couple years of being a nurse are HARD it is most often then not a baptism by fire, the learning curve from new grad to staff nurse is a steep one for most graduates and it simply takes time to build those skills that allow your shifts to run smoother. It's true that once you finish the novice portion of your career that in new jobs you'll have a "honeymoon period" but I find that most newer nurses don't experience that simply because at that point you're just trying to survive the shift!

But don't be dismayed by that! It is perfectly normal to really enjoy your days off and not be thrilled to go to work because you just described 3/4's of the American work force! We don't work for fun or for satisfaction but there is a perpetuating myth that nurses experience some Joan of Arc type vision from God that calls them on a mission of mercy and compassion as a nurse, and for most people that just isn't true. Sure, I love helping people, and I even love nursing, but I find fulfillment mainly from my personal life, not my professional life. It is vital that you do this as well, because if not, the hardships that we experience with nursing will drive you from the bedside.

I agree with you on the fact that it is really sucky of your employer to limit your vacation usage. Sadly this is not unheard of in healthcare, I've experienced the double standard of "Well, non clinical staff get 4 weeks off. Clinical gets 1 or 2" it's bull. Hopefully once you get unionized you can get that changed.

Stay the course, things do get easier the longer you've been at a job and the more experience you get.

Nunya

Nunya, BSN

Specializes in NICU/Mother-Baby/Peds/Mgmt. Has 40 years experience. 771 Posts

I cannot believe a hospital gives you 5 weeks of PTO but only allows you to use 2.  Is this legal?  If it is then you best hope that you get unionized and you can get this changed OR you learn to take care of yourself and call off, because obviously the hospital doesn't care about taking care of you.  I would think they would rather have planned absences  than people calling off here and there?  I mean, does that even make sense for them to do that???

Merrie82, RN

Specializes in Medical Surgical. Has 1 years experience. 55 Posts

1 hour ago, TheMoonisMyLantern said:

Well, I don't know who told you that your first years in nursing would be sunshine and rainbows, but they sure did tell you a line of bull! The first couple years of being a nurse are HARD it is most often then not a baptism by fire, the learning curve from new grad to staff nurse is a steep one for most graduates and it simply takes time to build those skills that allow your shifts to run smoother. It's true that once you finish the novice portion of your career that in new jobs you'll have a "honeymoon period" but I find that most newer nurses don't experience that simply because at that point you're just trying to survive the shift!

But don't be dismayed by that! It is perfectly normal to really enjoy your days off and not be thrilled to go to work because you just described 3/4's of the American work force! We don't work for fun or for satisfaction but there is a perpetuating myth that nurses experience some Joan of Arc type vision from God that calls them on a mission of mercy and compassion as a nurse, and for most people that just isn't true. Sure, I love helping people, and I even love nursing, but I find fulfillment mainly from my personal life, not my professional life. It is vital that you do this as well, because if not, the hardships that we experience with nursing will drive you from the bedside.

I agree with you on the fact that it is really sucky of your employer to limit your vacation usage. Sadly this is not unheard of in healthcare, I've experienced the double standard of "Well, non clinical staff get 4 weeks off. Clinical gets 1 or 2" it's bull. Hopefully once you get unionized you can get that changed.

Stay the course, things do get easier the longer you've been at a job and the more experience you get.

Thank you!! I do find satisfaction and fulfillment from my personal life, thank God! The Joan of Arc thing really resonated with me ❤. I honestly don't know that anyone told me there would be rainbows and happy unicorns, I think I somehow just imagined it LOL. I will keep on keeping on. And yeah, maybe the union will change things. IDK if it will even pass, the hospital is doing a bang up job at union busting,  but we shall see.

Merrie82, RN

Specializes in Medical Surgical. Has 1 years experience. 55 Posts

27 minutes ago, Nunya said:

I cannot believe a hospital gives you 5 weeks of PTO but only allows you to use 2.  Is this legal?  If it is then you best hope that you get unionized and you can get this changed OR you learn to take care of yourself and call off, because obviously the hospital doesn't care about taking care of you.  I would think they would rather have planned absences  than people calling off here and there?  I mean, does that even make sense for them to do that???

Hi! It doesn't make much sense to me, since then you're having to cover unplanned absences as opposed to planned ones, but ?‍♀️. As far as it being legal, I'm sure it is, the hospital has a very good legal department to make sure they aren't breaking the law. The bummer to me is that I didn't realize that was the "policy" bf I accepted this position,  since it seems to be department specific. But what am I gonna do. I will just keep trucking,  and the next time I am job shopping, I will know better, and I will ask before! I accept the position. 

kp2016

kp2016

Has 20 years experience. 444 Posts

If that is an actual picture of you and your real first name you might want to change the picture and choose a non identifying name.

We live in a very small world and HR/ managers can be vindictive.... and let's face it given that yours are OK with blocking nurses from using their earned time off.....I think you get the point.

JBMmom, MSN, NP

Specializes in New NP Hospitalist, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 2,108 Posts

Sorry that your new job came with a very unfortunate time off policy, and I'm sure you're not alone in wanting to use your time off to be away from work. 

Being a new nurse brings challenges that you've never faced before and I don't think that many people would describe it as a honeymoon. At least not from a marriage that lasted. And anyone that started in the past year with this time of COVID has certainly faced challenges unlike other new nurses before them! As others have pointed out, nursing is like any other job, a job where you go to earn money, in order to do the things you want to do when you're not there. There's nothing wrong with looking forward to your time off, it's a healthy thing.

I hope that things settle in for you and you find a level of happiness or at least acceptance with your current position. If it's not for you, at least you have options once you have experience, that's the best thing about nursing. So many areas to work in with different jobs, don't throw in the towel yet. Good luck!

Merrie82, RN

Specializes in Medical Surgical. Has 1 years experience. 55 Posts

9 minutes ago, JBMmom said:

Being a new nurse I hope that things settle in for you and you find a level of happiness or at least acceptance with your current position. If it's not for you, at least you have options once you have experience, that's the best thing about nursing. So many areas to work in with different jobs, don't throw in the towel yet. Good luck!

Thank you ? it's not that I don't like my job, I do. I just was remembering all my previous jobs where I was so excited to go to work, and there was definitely that honeymoon period where all was right with the world etc, and feeling a bit weird that this didn't occur with my new nursing career. But it sounds like its pretty normal so im not going to worry too much. ?

Merrie82, RN

Specializes in Medical Surgical. Has 1 years experience. 55 Posts

6 hours ago, kp2016 said:

If that is an actual picture of you and your real first name you might want to change the picture and choose a non identifying name.

We live in a very small world and HR/ managers can be vindictive.... and let's face it given that yours are OK with blocking nurses from using their earned time off.....I think you get the point.

Done, good point. Thanks ?

Davey Do

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 43 years experience. 1 Article; 9,855 Posts

Slightly off topic, but not really, Meerie:

Do you journal? In reading your opening post, I thought you may try it, as your style of expressing yourself in the written word is not unlike mine when I do something I term as spewing.

My spewing in the written word, with small illustrations, is extremely therapeutically cathartic.

Just a thought.

Merrie82, RN

Specializes in Medical Surgical. Has 1 years experience. 55 Posts

1 hour ago, Davey Do said:

Slightly off topic, but not really, Meerie:

Do you journal? In reading your opening post, I thought you may try it, as your style of expressing yourself in the written word is not unlike mine when I do something I term as spewing.

My spewing in the written word, with small illustrations, is extremely therapeutically cathartic.

Just a thought.

I used to do quite a bit of journaling, along with other more creative writing. I should pick it up again now that I'm out of the school grind. 

Davey Do

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 43 years experience. 1 Article; 9,855 Posts

1 minute ago, Merrie82 said:

I used to do quite a bit of journaling, along with other more creative writing. I should pick it up again now that I'm out of the school grind. 

I thought I sensed that. Have you tried illustrations within the narrative, like emojis placed within your posts?

One thing I noticed about my journaling from years ago, that the narrative were not as stimulating as I would have liked. Once I made images to go with the narrative, it became a more interesting read.

I'm working on my own personal emojis and will exhibit them here, if I can get your permission to post images in your thread.

Regardlessly, I would encourage you to go for that journaling. I sense you're quite the natural!