Thursday, January 10, 2019

TEN years?!

This week marks the 10th anniversary of starting my first nursing job ever. Ten long, short years ago. I remember how nervous I was to take care of patients, even though I hadn't yet passed my NCLEX and thus was still considered a new nurse graduate not even allowed to chart or administer medications.

It's been a wild ride. I worked my way up from terrified brand new nurse, to mostly competent baby nurse, to proficient trauma/critical care nurse, to occasional charge nurse, and then decided to leave my confidence level in the dust to start travel nursing. I spent nearly five years doing that, where I met friends all around the county, worked in varying levels-of-shitshow hospitals, learned to adapt out of my comfort zone, and then met and married some dude I met halfway across the US. I'm now back to full time nursing at a single hospital. I bought a house and generally live a pretty cushy life full of caffeine, friends and family, and instagramming about my cats. I get cursed out pretty regularly at work but that's to be expected because I do work ER after all. I precept new grads occasionally, and have had the opportunity to change some of those new grads for the better. I mostly have my shit together at work, although sometimes the day does wear me down and defeat me.

I don't know if I can do ER forever, although I swore up and down when I started that I absolutely would. The changing environment of emergency medicine is probably the biggest obstacle, but the lack of respect from hospital administration, my aching feet after 3 long consecutive shifts, and need to challenge myself are also factors.

I do love my job though. I love the ER, and honestly can't see myself doing anything else for the forseeable future. I'm good at this job, and when I need a change or to challenge myself I take on a new grad orientee, or learn a new skill, or ask to be trained into a new role. When or if I do get tired of all this - perhaps hospice nursing? I think I'd enjoy that. We see so many people yanked out of this life violently, tearfully, unwillingly, that I imagine it would be a welcome change to be with people who know their time has come. I don't think I'm mature enough for that job just yet though, but maybe in a few more years.

It's also been a fun ride with this blog. I started it over eleven years ago! ELEVEN! I haven't even had my all time #1 comfy sweatpants for that long. Shit, I've had this blog for double the time I've known my husband - even weirder is that this thing is how I met him in the first place. Life is funny sometimes.

Here's to another ten years of nursing and blogging about it, although I ain't even gonna lie and say I'll post more frequently. Y'all know better than that. Cheers!


Old FoolRN said...

Congratulations on a very full, productive nursing life. ER nursing was way too hard for me and I enjoyed fighting with surgeons more than with patients.

jon spencer said...

Maybe, PA or NP in your future?

Just alittle coffee to go... said...

The changing environment is everywhere in hospital nursing. I've been a nurse >35years and it's been a rollercoaster ride. Up's and down's. Nature of the profession I guess. Good luck to ya.

Aesop said...

Next year is 25 for me, with 20 straight in the ER.
And I now do 5- and 6-day weeks, not 3.
Because I can.

I worked with a lady who had 53 years in ER nursing before she pulled the pin in her mid-70s (she was literally a nurse before I was born, and uniforms came in any color you wanted, as long as it was snow white, including the cap and stockings, and needle sharpening was an OJT skill); I started too late in life to make that milestone, and have no desire to challenge her for the record.

There's a few hours I could have lived without, but I wouldn't have missed a shift.

If I hit the Powerball, I'd come to work in a Hawaiian shirt for scrubs, buy dinner for the shift, and leave skidmarks out of the parking lot, but otherwise, the only change in my future is the bare bones chance that I'll go all the way to MSN in a few years, just so I can download the decades of my experience to new crops of Bambi nurses for a few years before retirement, so I don't have to worry what kind of newbies will be taking care of me when my body finally craps out one day.


Just remember, the key to the ER during the worst shifts is a lyric from Manfred Mann's song Blinded By The Light:

"...But Mama,
That's where the fun is!

Fibril_late said...

I was an RT for five years and convinced ER was my destination; not so, it turned out Cardiology would be my passion. After 35 years of all those ICU venues and Diagnostics, I "retired". I have a lot more time, but I have a feeling there is more to be (and time will tell). I know I will keep my license and ACLS current for another couple rounds (Have to as an EKG Instructor, anyways.) As long as you have a passion for what you're doing, and keep learning more, life is good and you'll be one of the experts.