Friday, August 15, 2014

Dealing with Burn Out

I have been the nurse in this cartoon. So tired, I didn't want to talk to anyone, see anyone, or do anything. The unit I was on was very....incohesive. I was there to work and definitely learn. But apparently, I was an anomaly. I didn't know about cliques, or drama.
Passing meds, taking off orders, clarifying orders with pharmacy, patient care, getting the med room ready for next shift, serving meals, changing patients....gee, what was I thinking? I made work about work, and only had a few people that knew about my life outside of work. I still do that. I feel like I can do my life after work. But I've made the observation that many nurses make work their whole life. One could easily see how that can happen. You spend 36 to 60 hours a week with a group of people, you can make them your family. But, to quote Damon Wayans in the movie, "Major Payne", " I didn't say families don't break up, ". Professional distance isn't a bad thing. And making friends at work isn't a bad thing, either. Just don't make your whole life about work. Have friends that don't help you find a vein on a patient, but just play cards or go to the movies with you. Part of burn out is the hopelessness a nurse feels when she sees no end in sight. That nothing is ever going to let up, or things will always be this way. You have to make yourself engage at home. Small steps at first......(maybe go for a cup of coffee, head for the library, find a crossword puzzle to do, wash dishes by hand) and then bigger ones, (like take a fun class, go on vacation, an exercise program) will help with the burn out.
Changing units isn't a bad thought, either. Sometimes people don't gel. They are thrown together to do a job and varying philosophies on work ethics can make for bad feelings. For me, changing units was a great thing. I got a chance to "visit" when I had to float to other units on overflow days. See if that's an option. Sometimes just doing the same kind of nursing for years can burn someone out. Maybe if you can change floors, ( or even jobs) you can restore your faith in the career that you've spent so much time, energy, and money getting excellent in.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The best laid plans of mice and men

Well, I am at a fork in the road about pursuing my RN while working. I had planned on doing an online program with a local college to bridge to RN. The school decided to not accept anymore students and is doing away with the program entirely. Sigh.....
I don't want to stop working and give up our family's insurance to go back to school full time. Maybe there is something wrong with me, but at 51, I know my longevity in this field is going to be approximately 15 years, if that long.
I don't have that, "I'm a failure because I don't have an RN beside my name." syndrome. But I do, at times, get that, "I'm an RN, you're an LPN" differential attitude. Sounds crazy, but I really don't mind the taking orders aspect of the job. Let it be somebody else's call, and therefore, their own responsibility. I have had plenty of being in charge of everything in my life and I'm here to set the record straight: It's completely overrated.
My youngest turns 11 next month; my middle son just turned 19, and my oldest is 29: if the two younger ones want to go to college, then I can afford to send them and pay off my student loans. I know, it sounds so practical, but essentially that's my job....a practical nurse.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

8's VS 12's

It really annoys me.... I've been at this job 1 year, and I haven't figured out what to do with myself on my days off. Yeah, there's always cleaning, laundry, dishes, dusting, grocery shopping...etc. But, what's the fun in that? ;)
Up until 3 weeks ago, I was "working 8's" which is almost unheard of in the nursing world anymore. The only time I had two days off in a row was when it was my off weekend from work. That really reeked, by the way. So, I had the opportunity to change floors and change hours and absolutely took it! I work more with Geriatrics, which I have had my training in, and now work 12 hour shifts. The pro's definitely outweigh the con's but I'll give you the short list:


1.     You get three days off a week. Sometimes even a 3 day weekend.
2.     Therefore, you can plan to travel more because you'll actually not have to take time off to do it.
3.     You don't get asked to stay over.
4.     To me, it's easier to go through a 12 hour shift with a patient to see how they progress.


1.     Physically, it can be exhausting when your body is used to getting a break after 8 hours and now must carry on an additional 4 more.
2.     It's been hard to figure out when to take a lunch break. Used to be at 11:00 am, but now it's closer to 1:30-2:00 pm. I'm actually having to eat breakfast now to make it until then.
3.     While you work only 3 days a week, every other week, those 12's are 3 in a row.
4.     You lose 4 hours a week because it's technically only 36 hours. You can pick up on your off days, but right now, I'm thinking....uh, no.

My first couple of weeks I spent getting used to the physical change of 12's. This past week, it's my family who has had to manage without Mom being around. Hunnybunny does a great job of being the cook and chief bottle washer while I'm gone. Now that I'm getting  more used to it, I'd like to get back to quilting on  a regular basis. I have so much fabric, patterns, and just can't get organized.

Oh, and by the way, I'm signed up for medical microbiology which is the last prerequisite for nursing school. Yeah, I'm a glutton for punishment. Getting the RN will open a whole world of opportunity for me. This class is online, which blows me away. I have to get a microscope for the lab part. One of my nursing pals did A & P this way and totally endorses it. We will see.

Stay tuned.