"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Many Me's of Future Me

Right now, It is February.

I graduate in May. Early, May.

I take the NCLEX in June, most likely.

It is really, really, really time to start thinking about real and actual and concrete options for the next step in my life. I firmly choose not to say "the rest of my life" because I honestly don't have the commitment for that, unless I end up really, really, really liking my job... which, would be great.

I am really scared.

There are SO MANY CHOICES. I want to do a lot of different jobs. (In Nursing). But the nursing community *tends* to prefer you to choose a "line" of nursing work, rather than try a bunch of different things. OF course, some nurses disregard that advice and dart from working in a NICU to working in a doctors office...But most nurses follow a chain, or line. For example: Start out as EMT Nurse, go to ER nurse, go to ER chief  nurse, go to flight/transport nurse, go to...something crazy. Emergency has a TON of crazy options.

I honestly feel like I am in high school again, and I am changing my mind every single week  on what type of nursing I want to do.

There are four "paths" I can see myself following.

1) Labor and Delivery: I say this because I came into this Nursing program with L&D deadset in my goals- I desperately wanted  to be an L&D nurse and nothing else. Well, that has changed over the last three years, but recently I have been reconsidering that as a strong possibility. Will I be a midwife, as originally planned? Probably not. Is learning how to deliver a baby an amazing skill to possess, in any situation, for the rest of your life, in and out of the hospital? Yes. Will I like working on an L&D floor? Probably.

2) Floor Nurse. Regardless of this is on Med/Surg, or Oncology, or telemetry, or wherever...I think I would like being a floor nurse. Even if it is "at the bottom of the nurse chain" as far as nurse positions go, I would feel OK there. Once I got in my comfortable "been on the job for awhile" shoes. This reflects two parts of me. The part that wants to just be alone and come to my job, do really good work, and go home. It also reflects the part that desperately wants to make a set of nurse-friends on a floor that I can trust and rely on and laugh with, a lot. I want that. I want both parts. There are two nurses on my current floor that always work together and they always are making each other (and everyone else) laugh, and always have each others backs. I want that. But at the same time I feel that being on the floor promotes independence, if you so desire. I see a lot of nurses on my floor that are plenty sociable with the other nurses, (as I would be), but they stick to themselves and get their own work done. I can see myself being either.

I know, that as a floor nurse, I would be the best that I possibly knew how to ever do. I have a lot of Med/Surg experience. All I need perfection on is the actual "Nursing skills" (i.e. IV's, wounds, foleys, talking to doctors, reading doctors writing, calling doctors, giving meds, etc.). I have the "compassion" down and the Therapeutic communication down. the Caring. I'm working on my critical thinking and physical assessment skills. They will come. As a floor nurse, I would put every thing I have learned over the past 5 1/2 years as an aide and past 3 years as a student nurse and put it into giving every single one of my patients all of my attention and doing everything I can for them. That, I can't wait for. I always try to do that now, on my job, but it is very hard to do when you have 30 patients. I look forward to managing 6-10 patients (even though that is still a lot of work).

Units I would Like:
-telemetry (maybe)
-burn unit?

3) Emergency.

I never thought I would ever be putting emergency as a third option in my future. And its true...I'm not normally a fan of the emergency room. I never, ever came into this program ever expecting to like emergency nursing. However, it all started when I realized bigger goals that I had required emergency room nurse experience. (flight nurse, NASA, etc). At first I said- Okay, fine. So much for those goals. But after revisiting the idea a couple times, and actually spending a clinical day in the E.R., I wouldn't shoot the idea down completely....

this is why: (another part of me)- hence the blog title-
1) I like to work fast. I like having a TON of things on my mind to do. I like feeling scatterbrained. Not all the time, of course, but I like being busy. It makes me feel important, and needed. Like I am doing really important work. I like the thought of climbing up on a stretcher on my 14th hour of work and doing CPR. I like being so busy that I forget to even eat. Thanks to my ADD, I like having something to do every five seconds.
2) Patients are on a high turnover. This is a disadvantage and advantage- dis because if you like them, you can't connect with them, you can't get to know them. The most you can do is leave a lasting impression on them to help represent your hospital and move on to the next patient. Advantage because if you don't like the patient...well, they are in someone else's hands pretty soon. I would be seeing a lot more than 6-10 a day. But for shorter periods of time. ER nurses need excellent critical thinking skills, and need to be fast. Excellent instincts....Can I do that, though?

4) Holistic Nursing-
Okay. This is funny. A couple of months ago I was in an extreme holistic phase. I wanted to treat myself holistically and the rest of the world. I was obsessed. Have a headache? Take this herb. I wanted to focus on nutrition. This all sounds lovely, but pretty much means I would have to be a nurse practitioner. There are a *couple* other options with holistic nursing...but, I'm just not sure. I don't think I want to land in an NP position. But then again I once said I never wanted to do ER nursing. I still like nutritional healing. But I have lost a *lot * of faith in the whole shebang because all of my personal treatments for my own health failed, and I am back to square one- despite making a lot of dietary changes. And I can't afford to make an appt to actually see the HNP to discuss what else I could do...and then she would prescribe a lot of things, and thats a lot more $$, and I just don't know. Its complicated. So, Holistic nursing is still a possibility. But I'm thinking....less of a possibility than it once was.

Okay. This is a long post. But I got a lot of important thinking done. Tomorrow, or Sunday, look for Part 2: Actual Options, not Pathways. I.e.-Getting Specific. I also will talk about the student nursing convention I just got back from (I learned a LOT!!!) and update you on my new york times mission. But its late and this is long enough for tonight. Thank you for reading..

With immense amounts of love,

~ A Writer in a Nurse's Body


Things I could NEVER see myself working in ( I say this now, to document it!)
- Intensive Care Unit of any kind
- Psychiatric
- Oncology

PSS- THis actually isn't that long of a post. I thought I typed a lot longer. But I did a lot of thinking, so it counts as a long post. :)


Grandma and Grandpa Carney said...

We are sure you will be a wonderful, sweet and compassionate nurse, whatever area you choose to be in. We do think it would be a good idea, however, for you to continue on in school to get your masters degree right away. We wish you lots of luck whatever your decision. We love you and are soooo proud of you. Hugs and kisses.....
Love, your favorite Grandma and Grandpa.

A Writer in a Nurse's Body said...

Gram &gramps, I very very much plan to get my masters and even my doctorate in nursing. This excites me very much because I love school! However in the nursing community it is very much encouraged to gather at least a year of general medical experience before continuing education. Now it is time to decide what I want to major my masters in and what school I want to go to and how to get a hospital to pay for it! :-) thanks for reading! Love you both!