Saturday, November 16, 2013

Outwardly Submissive Inwardly Defiant

I start off with an apology to any/all my fellow readers with my absence from blogging.  Starting my career as a nurse, has taken its toll on me, leaving me with little “free” time.  After landing the job of my dreams and finally passing NCLEX, I figured things would even out a bit.  I imagined when I agreed to working 36 hours per week that (3) 12 hour shifts would be the only time I was expected to be at work. That would leave me with 4 days off per week.  Unfortunately, however, I was wrong. 

When you’re a new L&D nurse, there are certifications that you must pass like Neonatal Resuscitation Program NRP, and renewing my Basic Life Support BLS.  I’ve had mandatory unit meetings, emergency drills, skills fairs, not to forget to mention the hospital required quarterly meetings, and numerous CBTs (computer based trainings) that needed to be finished before starting a new fiscal year.  I’ve attended workshops, insurance meetings, and new hire orientations.  My head is figuratively swimming in overload and I can’t see straight.    

Should I even go into the “variable” shift?  Yes, I better so you all get the full picture here.  My shift is variable which means I could work any shift as long as they’re 12 hour shifts, and usually the same shift for the full week.  For example I could work any of these shifts 7A-730p, 7p-730a, I’ve even worked 3p-330a and 3a-330p for the 3 days I’m scheduled that week.  But during my first month and a half, my schedule was something like Monday 7P-730A, off Tuesday, Wednesday 7A-730P, off Thursday, and then Friday 7p-730A.  What the heck, talk about screwing up my body clock big time!  Some weeks they schedule me (3) 8 hour shifts usually 3P-1130P, and then a 12 hour shift to round it out.  Add to that the expected/mandatory 28 hours of on-call in a 6-week period and the excessive amounts of charting that turns any 12 hour shift into 14 hours easy, and my measly 3 days of work quickly turns into regular overtime.  The beginning of the month has gotten better; I’ve been working days mainly instead of that crazy yo-yo day/night routine.

My co-workers say it’s just the time of year for all these meetings that coincidentally seem to fall within my current schedule.  They say things should “let up” soon and to “hang in there”.  Let me be the first to say, I’m truly grateful for being employed, amen, hallelujah!  I know there are people out there who would trade places with me in a heartbeat if they heard me gripping.  It’s just difficult to be so entwined with this job that I forget what day it is.  I’m not in-the-know with how my kids are doing in school or socially.  My bed is cold and lonely without being able to sleep with my hubby.  My body is more present at the hospital than it is in my own home.

I guess this just gets to me because I’ve had to sacrifice the past 5 years, being present but absent from my kids, with my commitment to school.  I truly thought my family life would be better, but in some ways its worse.  I still miss important school outings (unless I show up, after working an overnighter, and have been awake for 24 hours with my eyes squinting because I’m using every ounce of energy just to keep them open).  My only time away from work seems to match up perfectly with my hubby and kids’ school/work hours, so as soon as they come home I give a quick kiss and “I love yous” and I’m out the door.  The work life is better in the sense that I’m not constantly worrying about some test I have to take or which chapter I need to study, or what project I should work on, or which partner I should call for group work.  When I’m done working, I leave work at work.

I’ve tried to take a moment and talk to my husband about maybe cutting back on hours, so instead of working 36hpw, I would work 28hpw.  That way I could still pick up hours (and help out when needed), but have more time away from the place.  My hubby is skittish of this plan because he’s worried there will be slow times, with no hours to pick up, leaving us financially wounded.  He wants me to stick it out until the first of the year when we both have a moment to look at the budget and see if it’s possible to cut back on hours.  I have to agree with him.  Since moving into a bigger home and attaining new monthly bills, the last thing I would want is to not be making enough money.  Still sucks to have to wait though!

On top of all this change, my hubby got promoted and I’m very, very, very joyful for him (really I am)!  He got a pay raise, feels more accomplished than ever, and gets to travel with his company more.  In the future this job promotion could even bring me to places I’ve never been.  However, he has to travel 4-5 days per week around the country, which brings a sense of worry to me being the only parent close to home.  An even bigger worry during those days that I’m working an overnight shift and my kids are home alone.  They’re both teenagers, but I still don’t like the idea of no one being home with them on those nights.  Unfortunately my unavailability has brought me to look for a new job.  Something that offers school time hours, with no nights or weekends.  Wait a minute…let me do the laughing for you, hahahahahahahaha!  Such a pipe dream I’m living in, to think a new nurse could ever land a job like that!!! 

Well I’m also praying for the Lord’s direction and His will be done.  I know my kids and hubby will survive when this is all said and done.  It’s just that I didn’t think I’d have to sacrifice my days off.  And yet, it seems, in this new profession, that’s exactly what I’ll have to do.


  1. 37 years of missing out on family holidays, birthdays, special occasions, family gatherings - even funerals. It's a real sacrifice as a nurse and after a while you have to make a or work. Sometimes work thinks they are first but in the end, it's the family that you want to say you had spent time with. If I had to do it all over again, I would rather choose family and friends and live within my means... :( even if that meant doing without a lot of things that I think are necessary.

  2. I think I would be happier if my schedule were more predictable like M-F 8-5pm. Then I could make plans to be involved with my kids' lives. I've applied at an adjoining clinic multiple times since becoming a nurse and I've had a few interviews. But nothing solid yet. I suppose it has to do with my itty bitty experience in the field. I think I could handle work from home so I could be available and home more. But again, I'm not able to find anything that would allow basically a new grad to take on any job like that. TBH (to be honest) I've been feeling lost, like I don't think hospital nursing is what I want to do for much longer. It has taken a toll on my body. I've prayed the Lord would show me the path I should be taking or at least finding contentment until His way becomes more clear. I don't want to make a lifestyle out of missing out on my family.