"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?"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Internal Breakdown

Breakdown. Thats different from Burnout.


All the experienced nurses look at you, waiting for it because they know its going to come. They know every nurse goes through it. They have to go through it. No one makes it through the first two months without a good, solid breakdown.

The most important factor about you, though, is how you pick yourself back up after you fall down.

Today was probably my first "breakdown" (internal). There was  a moment where I literally had at least six *critical* priority tasks to accomplish. What do you even do first? They are all top priority, so what takes even more top priority?? Sometimes its a fine line of ethical debate.

During that one moment where I had many important (and unimportant) things to do and I was rapidly running out of time, I was about to lose it. I literally had to stop everything, take a deep breath, and then get back to it. I didn't have time to lose it.

In my experience, I've seen new nurses really breakdown. I've seen them cry on the floor, cry in breakrooms, cry with their preceptors, quit the job, snap at coworkers, etc.

But I literally don't have time to do that. I don't have time to cry. Yes I feel overwhelmed and like I'm drowning. But If I seriously took the time to go into a corner and give up and cry, what the heck would happen to my patients? Other nurses don't have time to cover for you. There is no time to lose it. Instead, there is time to tell yourself that this will pass, and to just keep moving as fast as you can with being safe, keep re-prioritizing, delegate as many things as you can, and keep it together.

Its hard when it all comes down to acting. When you have a thousand tasks on your mind, and you are literally walking 25mph in the hallway, and then you have to slow everything down when you're with your patient, even though your brain is trying to move a thousand miles a minute to get things done. You can't zip around the room like a maniac. You can't talk fast with patients. You can't act like your in a rush. You have to make it seem like you have all the time in the world to sit and be with them and answer all their questions. You can't ruin it all by leaving in a rush after you just poked them, gave them new meds, hung a random bag on their IV, etc. They need explanations. Slow explanations. Its easy to forget that patients have no idea what you're talking about half the time. GO slow.

It's hard when you're keeping up with all the chaos, you feel like you're drowning but at the same time you can see the light of the top of the water at the same time. You have 8,000 really important, hard, tasks to do at that moment but somehow, you're holding it all in and you're ok, but then, the copier breaks- and for some ungodly known reason the universe does not want you to scan this stupiddddd piece of paper down to pharmacy that you really need pharmacy to get and you cant give up because its kind of crucial and WHY IS THE COPIER NOT WORKING when you need it to the most???

That, my friends, was the moment I nearly had my (external) temper tantrum breakdown.

I nearly almost even stomped my foot and whined and literally wanted to scream that despite making it through most of the wicked storm, I couldn't make this stupid copier scan a paper to pharmacy. That, is frustrating.

Its kind of like grief. When  a spouse loses their spouse, they somehow make it through. No dramatic breakdown. But then the dishwasher breaks 5 days later, and they find themselves sobbing and sobbing for 3 days straight over the dishwasher. But is it really over the dishwasher? No. Was my near external breakdown over the copier? No.

I have a great team of support system nurses. They are all my friends, being that ive been an aide on the floor for so long. They all came up to me in my time of need and asked if they could help. But I couldn't even tell them what to do because I couldnt even keep track of it all myself. I was so busy that I couldnt even take a minute to figure out what they could help me with. I was having a hard enough time keeping up with keeping everyone safe by myself, and for some reason the thought of proper delegating just seemed like it wasn't worth the hassle. Its hard to delegate to another nurse. Lets say you just really need your insulin coverage given, but you're tied up somewhere else. If another nurse does it, they know nothing about your patient. They don't know your patients quirks, where they like their insulin, where they got it last, etc. The patient doesn't know that nurse. So in their mind, here is some random new person in scrubs coming at me with a needle. They don't know anything more than that. But when they see me, they know and trust me and understand what I'm doing because I've been doing it with them all day.

Somehow, I made it through. I know I am becoming a much better nurse, day by day. I am catching myself before I make mistakes, I am asking all the right questions, I am communicating very well with doctors, I am getting to be great at working with IVs, and I have gotten a multitude of very pleasant compliments to my face and to others about my work. I know I am still a baby nurse but I know once I get a true hold on things, I will be really great. I feel destined to be really great. Its a toss up because I want to be great enough to change the world of nursing. But in order to do that, you generally leave the bedside. You go into political nursing. Or supervisory nursing, maybe. As much as I love to entertain the thought of being that important one day, I can't bear the thought just yet of not being that nurse at the bedside with you making all the difference to you at that moment in need. So we shall see. Even 100 years doesn't NEARLY seem like enough time to do all the things I want to do, in my career and life in general. And I don't even have 100 years. I have like 80. If I'm blessed.

If I had the offer to live immortally and never grow past 35, I'd take it. To stay between my age now and 35 forever and age really, really slowly, that'd be grand. Theres so much I feel like I need to do in this specific age time span. My career, my masters degree, husband, (well, boyfriend needed first), kids.....there isn't enough time for all of it!  I wish I could make these years really last. Im turning 24 In June which is almost 25 and then how the heck am I 5 years away from 30!?


My second wish would be to never need sleep, ever.

but thats another story.

Well, I worked late until 9:30 pm. Got home at 10. Ate dinner. Wrote this blog. Going to bed now. Doing it all again tomorrow. Yay.

With so much love,



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