Monday, January 21, 2013

out to pasture

I've been an ER nurse for 23 years, actually 24 this year.  Is that unbelievable or what?  Am I crazy?
How did I work there so long? I raised a son. He kept me distracted from concentrating on the job.  The job was just part of my life. 

I've been thinking a lot about retirement.  I can retire early. So I will. I'll have to keep working though because I am quite a ways from real retirement age.  I need health insurance and the other benefits too. I've been thinking about what kind of job I would get. I want to stay in nursing because its good money.  Best money I'll make.

I've even started looking at jobs. None of them appeal to me. So it started me thinking about really leaving the ER. 

ER nurses have a love/hate relationship with their job. It is the most frustrating, overwhelming, stressful, exhausting job you could have.  Dealing with the sick public pretty much sucks people.  I hate to bust your Florence Nightengale bubble people, but it does.

So I think: What would it be like to not work in the ER any more? My life would be a lot less stressful. No more 12 hour shifts. No more exhaustion. Here's the thing: Despite feeling like I can't stand the job some times, there is a part of me that thinks I would miss parts of it.  OMG did I just say that?

There is part of met, despite the fact that I want to hit myself over the head for saying this, gets satisfaction out of it being so hard.  It is a perverse satisfaction, but there it is. A part of me enjoys the weirdness, the humor and variety of it.  A part of me thinks it is pretty cool that I can help save someones life.  A part of me likes the challenge. 

Then there is the part that is very tired. 


Anonymous said...

I work in a privately owned psych unit. I work 40hrs/wk instead of 36 but make $20,000 more a year than when I worked at a hospital. Less stress and more pay. Why not look for a small inpatient clinic and work there? Or be a travel nurse. When my kids graduate me and the husband are hitting the road.

jimbo26 said...

You have spent your life helping other people ; now is the time where you have to think about helping yourself . Please do not wait until you are burnt out .

Mallory said...

Maybe you could cut down to a couple of shifts a week, and have a different job the other days, or write, or go back to college?

Full time isn't the only way to go.

Perhaps add in some public education /school speaking about the kind of self-inflicted problems that land people in the ER, and what it's like to see them. Drugs, addictions, speeding/DUI, etc.

It's usually the police who do this sort of thing, and it might have more impact from someone who actually sees the health consequences every day.

I don't imagine that it would pay very well, but it could be very satisfying.

Anonymous said...

How about one of the new stand alone ERs? Totallydifferent working environment out at 212....

JEMK said...

I would say it is pretty cool that you help save lives. :)

ndenunz said...

"... gets satisfaction out of it being so hard."

That's what she said.

beadnik said...

I did over 20 years in a small ER, night shift all the way. Finally got phased out (I was and ACLS, PALS, IV certified LPN2, but LPN's in acute care are a thing of the past. Was great while it lasted, though, and I pulled my weight and had the respect of my coworker RN's and docs). Did a lateral shift into a doctors office. Came home after my first day there and cried. "I'll never save another life" was what I think I said to my ex. Three years later, I'm mostly happy about the change, I'm nearing retirement age, I find I really feel better working days, I enjoy having weekends and holidays off. There are plenty of frustrations and little problems in office nursing, but so far no one has walked in and handed me a dead baby, so that makes just about anything pretty easy. Find something else and make it work. You can only give so much to the ER, then getting out makes a lot of sense.

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Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog and now i know why. I have been in the ER for 24 years but am not ready to say goodbye. Went back to school, looked at other avenues and still came back to, with all its frustrations, that I like it here. Also, won't get paid in other avenues what I get paid here and not really ready to take the pay cut yet but trying to arrange that I can in the future. I work in a smaller hospital but all the frustrations are the same as I have, I always erlate to what you say.