My Burnout as a Bedside Nurse
I must confess: I love being a nurse! I have been a nurse for 21 years now. Funny, I completed nursing school when I was 31 (with three children, a husband, and a very busy life). I remember when contemplating finishing school as a nurse I thought briefly I was too old to go back to school. (I was 28 at the time). I had a good education base from a four year college, and every time I started to complete the nursing part, well, I would have another baby. I started and made it through with no more babies, and my almost lifelong dream of becoming a nurse was realized!
I started out on a general medical/surgical floor. I didn’t plan on spending the rest of my nursing career on a med/surg floor, but you know, it was recommended at that time everyone get a good med/surg base of experience.To fast forward things, during my career, I have worked in an ICU of a large trauma center, worked in home health, and was blessed to care for cancer patients for 14 years.
Things have changed tremendously since 1990. Health care has gone from paper charting (which was very quick, check, check, check, and you are done) to complex rules regarding legal documentation and implementing computers. Now, I for one, love my personal computer and use it all the time. It is a little different to start out charting by exception using a paper chart on the outside of the door, to learning complex computer systems and charting they way we do today. By dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s, it just takes longer and longer to chart, and make sure the documentation is meeting all requirements.
I am not sure exactly when I started feeling overwhelmed as a nurse. I could blame this on many things. The bottom line is I failed to care for myself as a caregiver. At the time, as I gave more and more of myself as a mother, a nurse, and a wife, I just didn’t see that I was giving out everything, and taking nothing back in. You just can’t keep giving and not fill back up.
As I started taking classes on being a wellness coach, I really was hit with a reality. I wasn’t well. The very thing I wanted to learn and coach others on as a nurse, was exactly where I was failing. I had to take a serious look at my currently situation and give myself a reality check. I had to be honest and admit where I was in my career was not where I wanted to stay. I realized I could stay where I was, or take the plunge, get away from the familiar, and really start living out my dreams.
Once I set my intention for change, and really put this to a prayer priority, changes really started manifesting. I had really wanted to move towards a preventative field of nursing for quite sometime, and didn’t realize by not following my path of purpose, I was causing myself harm and stress. The classes I was taking as a wellness coach and vision board coach brought clarity to my purpose and path. Yes, I have left bedside nursing. However, I haven’t left nursing! I am as proud today to be a nurse as I was 21 years ago. That is the wonderful thing about nursing. You can be a nurse, and still walk the path you dream of. I work as a nurse educator, but I also work with a great team of nurses, all wanting to teach health and wellness to others. It’s an awesome time to be a nurse! The field of nursing is wide open for pioneers and walking through those uncharted territories!