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Dream Job?

September 30, 2012

I finally did it. Took me three years, but I am finally working in acute care. Well, I will be October 1st . It’s odd, because I have done a lot, taken care of a diverse population of patients, but I never felt like a “real” nurse.

I was hired at a private long term acute care hospital. It is the best of both worlds. High acuity patients who need an extended hospital stay. I will still see a lot of crazy wounds, but I will also manage nutrition, antibiotic therapy, hemodynamics, and the rest.

It’s 12 hour shifts, so I can have a life.  Well, I not a life, but I’ll have time for schoolwork. It’s nights, so I don’t have to get up at 5am.  Most of all, the staff and management seem happy. This will be a huge change from my current clinic, where patient care sometimes seems secondary to the drama that’s playing out like a bad soap opera.


One step forward…

August 10, 2012

I had my phone interview Wednesday. It went as all those screening interviews do: quick and dirty. Asked my strengths and weakness. He did say I would hear from the hiring manager by today, so he didn’t throw my resume in the trash, at least. I tried not too gush, but I am really excited about this opportunity. The hospital is an hour and a half away, but it’s worth the drive. I’ve been trying for three years to get back into the hospital. Now that I’m starting grad school (the first time was just practice), I feel a new sense of urgency. If I don’t have somewhere to apply my learning it won’t stick.

Leaving the wound care center will be the hardest part.  I was just cross-trained to cover the hyperbaric chambers, and I’m one of the few nurses that doesn’t give my director a bunch of drama. At one point my director said she would never stand in the way of someone “finding their bliss,” so I hope that means a good reference despite my ditching her (with notice, of course.)

Rolling Stone seeking moss

August 6, 2012

I’ve been working at the wound care clinic for six months. It’s not horrible all the time, but there are so many things that frustrate me, some that even concern me. I have learned a lot from working there, I don’t discount that, but there is no where to go from here. I have cross-trained to run the hyperbaric chamber, but I don’t see myself in the clinic 5 years from now. I could try for a Clinical Coordinator position if and when we open another wound center, but…

I guess what it comes down to is that I want a job so interesting and exciting that I don’t have the desire to scan the job openings every weekend. I also want to work three 12-hour shifts so I have time to volunteer again. I thought of Med-Surg, but that seems like a lateral move. I want to get into the ICU. It’s been in the back of my mind fro the beginning, keeping me from being really content anywhere.

I want to understand WHY my patient is experiencing the symptoms they are rather than just being told what to do about them. I want to be challenged every day.

This angst is so much worse now that I prepare to start grad school. I will be taking advanced patho and pharm, and I want to apply theory to practice.

I’m afraid I have pigeon-holed myself. I hate to leave a job after six months, but transferring internally is a valid option, so, on a whim, I applied for an ICU job with my health system at a hospital over an hour away. They have a training program for nurses looking to move into critical care. Didn’t think I had a chance, but the recruiter emailed me the next day. I have a phone interview next week.

Time to brush up on my behavioral interview answers…


Previously on…

July 9, 2012

I was accepted to the online Master’s program and also started a new job at the wound clinic at my community hospital. I started classes in January , but after a single quarter, I became discouraged by the program’s lack of rigor. A local university happened to extend its application deadline, so after looking into their CNS program, I put together an application. I was accepted for Fall admission. Meanwhile, I am finishing up the quarter at my current school, working at our insanely busy clinic up to 50 hours a week, and struggling to figure out where the heck I should go from here.

Same Story, Different Degree

October 17, 2011

SO, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I applied to graduate school on Friday. Now I just have eight to twelve weeks to go until the university makes an admission decision. The wait might just kill me.

The Road Less Traveled

May 8, 2010

My one month anniversary came and went at work. I received my company Blackberry today, and I’ve been checked off all my competencies,  so I am officially off orientation. It’s been a great month. I am absolutely LOVING home care! It’s been an amazingly good fit. Some of my mentors in nursing school were home health/community nurses, but the specialty hardly crossed my mind. I did home visits during my hospice rotation, and I never thought it would be for me. Now I can’t imagine being stuck in a hospital.

April 24, 2010

I received an invoice from my alma mater charging me a $300 late fee for a single overdue book. I admit, it was really overdue, but still. It was quite a threatening letter, actually, especially considering how much I paid to go to that school. I’ll never get another copy of my transcript unless I pay it, apparently. Of course, I have quite a few copies on hand, but one never knows. The most ridiculus part is that if I hadn’t returned the book, they would have only charged me the $20 to replace it.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. ~Seneca

April 11, 2010

My supervisor told me that because I am a new home health nurse, she expects to see a “deer in the headlights” look before the end of orientation. I’m not sure I can muster the appropriate feelings for that. It’s her fault (along with the rest of the staff).  It is an amazing team at an extremely ethical, patient-centered company (apparently this is not the norm). The office does all the coding, the documentation is streamlined. Everyone has made me feel so welcome, so supported, that I know I’ll get whatever I need to succeed. I can ask anyone anything and they will all be happy to help. I’ll be autonomous in the field, but never alone. I feel incredibly lucky to have stumbled upon this agency.

My sudden reversal of fortune just proves that being open to change can bring opportunities to you that you never would have imagined. I start with my preceptor on Monday. I can’t wait to get out there!

Update: It’s official, I am a working RN!!

April 7, 2010

HR called today to extend an offer of employment. I am so thrilled/relieved! My private duty patient will likely be in the hospital another ten days, which would mean ten days of no income. Talk about serendipity!

Strange Days

April 6, 2010

I know I haven’t said much, but I want to reassure everyone that I am not giving up on this whole nursing racket. In fact, I have been doing private duty nursing since January. The wife of my patient called me up out of nowhere. She had received my resume from a friend, and she needed someone ASAP. It doesn’t pay much (the family is paying me out-of-pocket), but it is challenging and interesting work, and I love the family.

I have been there over thirty hours a week, so I was slacking off on my job hunting, choosing instead to spend the evenings hanging out with my kid. On a whim, I applied at a local home care agency. I didn’t give it another thought, since every home care I had ever applied with wouldn’t look my way without that magic year of experience. Surprisingly, the manager called that day.

I have been looking for a full-time RN position for almost a year now, and this is only the second interview I have been on. I wasn’t sure I could work it around my commitment to my private duty patient, but I went anyway. I am so glad I did! The first thing the director told me is that she could see from my app that I had worked my way out of some pretty bad teen years. She said she was very proud of me for turning my life around. I was amazed and touched by what she said. It was a far cry from the scoldings I regularly received from the Dean. I was very clear about my commitment to my patient, and she saw no conflict of interest. Some of her nurses even work for more than one agency. I guess that is pretty common, actually.

The weird twist is, my private duty patient ended up getting admitted to the hospital last week. I feel bad because it was not what he wanted, but he is also not ready to cease aggressive treatment, either, so there was no other choice.  I haven’t heard from the agency to set up orientation (they should call today) but having the next ten days free will make orientation easier to schedule.

The more I think about it, the more interesting this job sounds. There is a lot of autonomy and care planning, not to mention patient teaching, which I love. Oh, and lots of wound care and IV. I was really impressed with this operation as well. The agency was started by a nurse, and most of the staff have been there for a dozen years. They are organized, the paperwork is streamlined, and they offer a great orientation, many education opportunities, lots of flexibility, and really good pay.