180 Degrees

What’s that trite saying about teaching an old dog new tricks? Well, this old dog is about to learn a few.

I have officially re-entered the nursing workforce. I’ll admit, it is a bit sooner than I anticipated, but when an opportunity comes knocking, and it’s one that you’ve been waiting for, it’s usually best to open the door, greet it with a smile, and let it in.

I am returning to the bedside.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted out of my future nursing career, and after a nice break, I thought long and hard about what I didn’t want as well. I think it takes a strong nurse to know what he/she wants, and an even stronger nurse to know what he/she can never do again.

I can’t do geriatric nursing anymore. I just can’t.

And I definitely can’t do management. No. Fucking. Way.

Those two combined were enough to make me seriously consider leaving the profession entirely. I wasn’t even sad at the prospect of never feeling my stethoscope around my neck again or wearing a white management lab coat. I wanted out with a passion. At the very least, I knew I needed a lengthy mental and physical break from both of those pursuits.

Geriatric nursing is its own animal, and that animal isn’t always inside the walls of an assisted-living facility or nursing home. Geriatric nursing likely resides in just about every area of adult nursing, but when it came down to brass tacks, I just couldn’t be the nurse to care for these patients.

I realized I could no longer face a shift where my patient was unable to either communicate or comprehend teaching. I could no longer allow myself to be used as a punching bag. I could no longer watch these patients in the wee hours of the night hang on yet slip away. I could no longer manage the compassion needed to deal with unrealistic familial expectations. As a manager, I could no longer look my nurses in the eye and feed them a line that I felt was complete bullshit. I could no longer allow myself to spew the corporate tag line as a way to justify the bottom line. I felt my nursing self slipping away bit by bit. I very literally nearly lost my nursing soul. I lost the will to survive as a nurse. I hated every second of it and didn’t care if I ever returned.

I was blissfully happy as a mom and a housewife, and I still derive great enjoyment out of it. I didn’t miss nursing one single bit, but there was this small part of me that wondered if there wasn’t something out there that was meant just for me. The nurse was in there gnawing at me to find my sweet spot.

Back in mid-April I applied for a Postpartum nursing position at a local hospital. I told myself that if I were to return to the bedside, it would only be in THIS capacity. I was finally beginning to feel those pangs of anticipation and excitement that can only be found when applying for a nursing job that I REALLY wanted. I realized quickly that THIS nursing, THIS population, THIS position was the one I desperately wanted. Time moved slowly, but finally I got the call I had been waiting for.

I got the job.

I. Got. The. Job.

Shit.

This changes everything. I am re-entering the nursing world in a brand new capacity. I am doing a complete 180 and will now be caring for new moms and babies. It’s rare when life and career meet, but I feel that this is exactly what is happening now. I’m going to get paid to help new moms with what is possibly the most important event in their lives. Postpartum nursing just got its newest nurse.

And I couldn’t be happier.

To the nurses and managers I leave behind, I thank you. Thank you for being some of the best I have ever worked with. You know who you are. To fellow managers who survived many a corporate meeting with nary a side-eyed glance or heavy sigh. I salute you. I hope you institute powerful, much-needed, positive change in the organization, and you know what? If you don’t, that’s ok, too. Sometimes it’s just enough to survive the bullshit and come back for another day. To the bedside nurses I had the pleasure of working with at the geriatric bedside as both a nurse and as a manager, I will miss you, but I won’t miss the kicking, spitting, shouting, expletives, falls, unruly families, Care Experience, Rounding for Excellence, GRASP acuity scoring,  shenanigans.

Okay, maybe a little….

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