Loyalty

Recently a nurse died after she was attacked at work.  The situation saddens me.

Nurses are loyal by nature.  This situation has me thinking that maybe we aren’t being loyal to ourselves.

Some reports of the incident said that the nurse finished her shift and some reports said that she didn’t and she went to the ER.  She sustained a torn ACL and her head was slammed against a desk.  I don’t think with those injuries she could have finished her shift but maybe she felt fine and thought that she could.  The unit may have been understaffed already and she didn’t want to put her fellow nurses in a bind by going to the ER.  This patient attacked multiple nurses.  I know that not all of the nurses could go to the ER at the same time.

I remember when I got my first job as an RN.  I wanted to be a good nurse.  At that time, in my mind, being a good nurse meant that you inconvenienced yourself.

For example, not taking a lunch break, staying 4 hours after the shift when someone called out, not letting management know that I hadn’t taken a lunch break, and going to work even if I was sick.  I probably lost out on hundreds of dollars by not telling management about not taking my lunch breaks.  I learned early on not to tell because I got called into the office and told that I need to work on my time management skills because I wasn’t able to take my lunch breaks.  It was hard being a charge nurse with 6 patients of my own.  When I stayed till eleven o’clock to help out, I still had to drive an hour home.  So I wouldn’t get home until midnight.  Those days were the longest days.  I got up at 4 am and wouldn’t get into the bed until after 12:30 am.  Sometimes I would have to work the next day.  The only thing that saved me those days is that the manager would let me come in at 11 am instead of being there at 7 am so that I could get some sleep.

I learned how to say no when they asked me to stay afterwards all the time.  I would do it sometimes but not all the time.  I was getting so sleepy trying to drive home after a 16 hour shift.  I was also spending a lot of money on hotels when I was too tired to drive home.  I didn’t want to get into an accident by being so sleepy.  I had to learn my limits.  I was in my late twenties but I was starting to feel like I was older than that.  I wasn’t taking any care of myself.

I also had to learn how to say no to my co-workers.  I don’t like to work 3 days in a row.  I never have liked to.  I’ll do it sometimes but I don’t like it.  When my co-workers would ask me to switch a day on my schedule that would put me working 3 days in a row, I would have to say no.  I also love to have 3 days off in a row too when it happens.  I don’t ask for it but I love when the scheduler puts it in my schedule.  It feels like a mini vacation when it happens.  When my co-workers would ask to switch because they saw that I had 3 days off, I would most of the time tell them no.  I learned that I had to stop inconveniencing myself all the time so that they would like me.  I will help when I can but I do have the right to say no, just like they have the right to ask.

I remember one time when I went to work sick.  I was giving a patient their medicine and all of a sudden the room started to spin.  My ears started to ring.  I had to sit down on the small dresser and take some deep breaths.  Eventually the room stopped spinning and my ears stopped ringing.  I had been feeling sick that morning.  I didn’t want to call out because we were already short staffed.  Once I got to work and had that dizzy spell, I was also scared to drive home.  I lived an hour away from my job.  What if a dizzy spell happened while I was driving home?  So I worked my shift.  Thankfully I didn’t have another dizzy spell and I was able to drive home safely but I probably should have stayed home and taken myself to a doctor.

Do you think that nurses are loyal to other people more than they are to themselves?

In my experience when I take care of myself, I’m able to be a better nurse for my patients.  I have to be loyal to myself first before I can be loyal to anyone else.  I can’t give anything when my cup is empty.

Nurses are givers by nature.  We love to take care of our patients and help them but when it comes to ourselves we put ourselves last on the list.

Maybe we can’t change that overnight but maybe we can start by eating a healthy lunch at work or drinking more water.  Your mood and energy level starts with the food that you put in your body.  Its a small step that will have a major impact on you.

Timelines

I recently had someone tell me that I’m almost 40 and I need to put down some roots somewhere.

I’m so glad I have a life coach.  I sent her an email about the situation and she reminded me of something.

I don’t need to live my life how anyone else wants me to live my life.

I did that for about 30 years and it never worked for me.

I feel like society and some people around me have a time line for my life.  At 40, I should be married with kids, living in a nice house, and have a career.

I have found out that you can plan your life in a certain way but life doesn’t always go as you plan it sometimes.

When I was in my early twenties, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in college.  At the time, all I wanted to do was get married and start having kids.  I wanted to be a stay at home mom.  I wanted to be married right out of high school.  I could have cared less about going to college and getting a degree.  I was trying to force relationships with guys that I knew wouldn’t last.  I eventually had to give up on that idea and start thinking about what I wanted to do in my life.  To be honest, if I had of gotten married in college, I would have probably dropped out of college.  The first 2 years of college, I didn’t see the point because I didn’t have a major and didn’t know what I wanted my career to be.  After the third year started and no proposals, I had to decide on a career.

I do know that I wouldn’t be where I am right now if I had of stuck to that plan.

Being a nurse has helped me tremendously in my life.  I am glad that I chose to become a nurse.

Like my life coach says, its ok to have a plan but its also ok to be open to changes.  God/Universe will work things out and sometimes it doesn’t look like what we planned.

For example, last year I wanted to take some time off but I also wanted to extend at the hospital that I was at.  I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to extend because I wanted to take a vacation.  I decided to try anyway.  I asked for a week off after my assignment ended and then I would work for 4 weeks and take another week off after that.  My contract was accepted.  So now that has become my norm.  After I work the first 3 months, I take off a week every four weeks.  That way I can go somewhere for a week or just stay at home.  My mood has improved because I know that I have a vacation coming after working four weeks.  When I started travel nursing, I never imagined that I could take so many vacations.  Some travel nurses work for 6 months and then take 6 months off.  Some take a month off in between every assignment.  I didn’t know that was possible until I became a travel nurse and started talking to other travel nurses.

To some people around me that life style isn’t good enough.  A woman approaching 40 should have a house, she should be on her way to being married with kids, and have a stable career.

Right now I don’t know if I want to settle down somewhere.  I like being a travel nurse because I can take a vacation when ever I want to.  As a permanent staff nurse, I would have to build up enough PTO to take a vacation and I have to have it approved before I purchase anything for a vacation.  I remember at my one of my permanent jobs, administration would tell us not to book anything for a vacation until the time off was approved.  Even if we saw a great price on a plane ticket don’t purchase it because the time off might not be approved.  For example about 6 years ago, a nurse that I knew was planning her wedding, and she had enough PTO saved up to take a month off.  She only wanted 2 weeks off.  The floor was so short staffed that she was only approved for one week off.  The hospital gave her the week off for her honeymoon but not her wedding week.  That nurse ended up having to postpone her wedding.  Some hospitals are so short staffed that they aren’t able to give the nurses the time off that the nurses request.

Have you ever felt like you weren’t meeting your time line or some one else’s time line for your life?

Every thing happens when its supposed to happen.

I needed to take some time off from dating and get to know myself and love myself.  There was nothing wrong with that.

I’ve learned that every one has a different path in life and also a different time line for their life.  Some people get married in their twenties.  Some people get married in their sixties.  Some people have children and some don’t.  Some people become a millionaire and some don’t.  Some people own their own business and some don’t.

Just because a person isn’t where some one else wants them to be in their life doesn’t mean that the person isn’t on the right path for them.

As a woman I do feel pressure from my family and society to be married and have kids.  Especially since I’m in my late thirties.  Some of my patients ask me why I’m not married yet.  Some of them even try to hook me up with their sons or another family member.  Some patients tell me not to settle and that its ok to wait to be married and have kids.  I will get married but in my own time.

Every one has their own dreams and goals in life.  I’m working towards a life that I love and in my own time.

I read this quote recently, “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” – Chinese Proverb.

Just one more quote that I love from Steve Jobs.  “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most importantly have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”