From Nursing: Is There Life Out There?
I knew it was too good to last forever.
Today, in a meeting with my company's regional director of operations and the corporate nurse consultant, my Executive Director and I learned that we will both probably be let go if our building doesn't pass our re-survey next month. We got our butts handed to us during the exit interview last time, and we've had some challenges that have put us behind schedule in getting the new programs up and running in response to the problems found during the inspection. The timing couldn't possibly be worse; we expect the survey team back at any time after the first week of March, and we simply aren't finished fixing everything, let alone learning how to use all the new paperwork that Corporate put in place to address the documentation issues.
Neither of us was surprised; we're both longtime directors, and this is a place we've both been before. The proverbial handwriting is on the wall.
Still, the discussion had a surreal quality to it, especially before my boss was summoned to join the RDO, corporate nurse and me in my office. The RDO sat down in the floor supervisor's chair and gazed straight at me with his head cocked to the side, looking for all the world like a certain physician I see fairly frequently, and asked me the same type of questions Dr. So-and-so always does.
"Are you OK?" he wanted to know, speaking in a tone that was more concerned than condemning. "How are you doing? I mean, how are you really doing.'' He was to repeat these queries at several more junctures during the conversation, which made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I have never felt the need to inform Corporate about my personal health issues, but I got the sense that he knew everything and was just waiting for me to come clean.
Fortunately, this was NOT my first rodeo, and since I don't use my 'nonconformity' as an excuse for being remiss in my duties, I said nothing along that line, only that I'm very stressed out and frustrated at the circumstances under which I'm working at this point.
Which brought to mind something I promised myself when I realized that I'd lucked into the best nursing job ever: that this was it. This was the job I would retire from. Little did I know that this statement would come back to haunt me as I approach late middle age and realize how great are the odds against finding another nursing job. Especially one I can actually handle.
I'm old. I'm tired. I'm cynical. I'm a train wreck, both physically AND mentally. And I've decided that if I do end up in the unemployment line, I'm done.
As much as I've loved nursing, I know my days are numbered even if I do squeak through this crisis. I'm far too prickly now to just stand back and co-sign people's BS. I'm easily distracted and tend to lose focus when faced with piles of paperwork. I'm quickly overwhelmed, and easily undone by the stressors inherent in the work. Plus, I'm at an age where it's time to think about what I want out of my later years. Hmm, let's see....should I enjoy my home and family, or would I rather go on forever with the 50-hour weeks? And how long will my mind and body hold out if I continue to put myself through this day after day, month after month, year after year?
I don't know.
What I do know is, I need a Plan B. Of course I'll continue to work hard at keeping my job, because I really do enjoy it a good portion of the time (and the pay isn't half bad either). And if I do come through intact, I'm staying where I am until I can't take even one more snotty patient or irate family member. But I am just not going to put myself through another round of interviews for nursing positions.....if I can even get them, that is. I have an associate's degree, bad knees, and flat feet that can't run the floors anymore. A few years ago I could, and did, get away with it because my experience was so varied; now it's a different story, and with my lack of advanced education I'd be lucky to find a swing-shift job in a nursing home. Which I can't do. Great.
So, to assist me in redirecting my energies, I'd like to know what you all think would be a good job for me. I mean, besides Wal-Mart greeter (which I don't think they even have anymore) and carnival barker. What do you think I could do that would make me reasonably happy AND keep my husband and me off the streets? I don't need a career anymore, but a job paying a living wage is a necessity.