Today I’m thrilled to have a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers. I’d love to shout her name from the rooftops – but once you read the post, you’ll understand why she’s decided for today to remain anonymous. I’m glad to be able to give her the outlet – and I hope that you’ll lend her an ear – and some support.
|Image Credit (edited): stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net|
I am utterly disgusted every morning I wake up and it’s my day to work. The night before? I’m worrying myself into a deep depression about how I have to be at work the next day.
I find myself on the verge of tears as I pull into my parking space. I sit in my truck and smoke one more cigarette while glancing at the clock and watching the clock switch to 0705…0706…I’m late again – but I really don’t care. Not anymore. Those precious six minutes are the last resemblance of any happiness I know I will have for the next harrowing 12-hour shift.
If my boyfriend drops me off the conversation goes like this:
“Ugh. I can’t do this. I can’t.”
“Yes sweetie you can. Just remember who you’re doing it for.”
A lot of people hate their jobs. They go to jobs that drain their souls of happiness just so they can pay their bills. Maybe it’s because they have to work there because it’s a family business. Maybe it’s because they don’t have any other options because of a dying economy or maybe because they just don’t have the education they need to move onto something bigger and better.
None of those apply to me.
Nobody in my family has ever worked in the career field I’m in. I live in a large city that is pretty stable economically wise and I certainly have the college education to be able to do what I do for a living.
So what makes my job different and the hatred for my job worse than the disdain others have for where they clock in each day?
I’m a nurse. Specifically a pediatric nurse. One on one with a special needs child who is the most beautiful child, barring my own son, that I’ve ever laid eyes on. Beautiful inside and out.
Over my past two and a half years I’ve been blessed to be with this child, I’ve learned more about life and what it means to love someone and care for them as if they were your own than my own family has ever taught me.
I feel like a piece of shit for hating my job. I feel like I don’t deserve the title I worked so hard to earn several years ago.
I worked so hard in nursing school. It was a whirlwind of hard and soul crushing moments mixed in with being witness to some of the most amazing miracles anyone could imagine ever bearing witness to.
I remember the first day of clinicals in my mind like it was yesterday. I see that eager and stalwart young nursing student smiling ear to ear along with her classmates, scared to death but so excited to begin her journey in being a part of the healing process for others.
I remember the first time I performed CPR on a patient and they lived. The first time I held a patient’s hand while they died.
Tears of happiness when I saw a patient walk again for the first time after surgery and tears of pain while standing in the back of a hospital room, watching and listening to mourning family members crying over a loved one, gone to another place finally.
I certainly remember saying I’d never work with children and then finally being placed in the home of my first pediatric patient and the instant realization that I loved it. Loved that a family trusted me enough with their baby. Trusted that I knew what I was doing and when I performed a certain task at hand, that I would complete it and make the life of their child better for having done it.
I wish…no…I pray, reverently, every single day for those feelings to come back again to me.
For 12 hours, I work my ass off for a little girl and do everything I’m supposed to do as her private nurse to make her life healthy and happy and then some. I love on her, I sing songs with her. I give her meds, feed her and change her diapers.
I also wipe her tears and cuddle her when she is restless and I don’t know what is bothering her. I use my critical thinking skills as her nurse to try and assess what may be wrong but even then it’s not always apparent. I am not a human microscope though. I can’t make her speak all of a sudden and tell me what hurts.
I can tell her mother though, that she is in distress. I can tell her mother that we should call the doctor just in case it’s something that needs to be checked out and not just a bad day.
What I can’t do is make her mother listen to me. Make her mother understand that even though her precious daughter has around the clock nursing care, she still needs her mommy.
Just because she can’t talk, see or hear, that she still knows when it’s her mommy holding her, soothing her. It’s her mommy cooing against her hair, planting kisses on her forehead. She knows.
There’s this thing called professional boundaries. They are very bold and plain and straight to the point. Yet every single day I’m pushed against a wall protecting those boundaries because a mother chooses not to fulfill her role even a tiny bit.
It wasn’t always this way. I remember a mother who used to micromanage and watch every little move we made in her home. A mother who used to be so strict about sanitizing every item that her daughter came into contact with. A mother who would dismiss a nurse from the case because she didn’t believe that her child bonded well with them. A mother of an ill child that made sure prescriptions were picked up in a timely manner so she did not go without even one dose for fear of seizures.
I combat roaches and mice on a daily basis. I beg for vinegar and cleaning supplies so I can disinfect surfaces. I demand that medications be picked up on time only to still go up to four and five days without them, until I swing by on my way to work to pick them up. I watch a little girl twitch with seizure activity occasionally because she hasn’t had her medication.
I deal with co-workers who don’t follow through with the plan of care and could care less if she sits in a dirty diaper until the shift changes because they don’t want to deal with it. Throw wet and vomit stained clothes into a hamper to mold and mildew because we can’t even do the laundry because a mother has forgotten to give us money…again…for the second week in a row.
So when I say I hate my job, people look at me and tell me, “You’re a nurse. You’re supposed to love and care for people. How dare you say you hate your job!”
There are rules and regulations put in place to deal with all the things I’ve mentioned that happen, the problem is when you follow your chain of command, still nothing happens. That’s when it becomes truly my problem. My decision.
I have to look at this child and decide the best course of action.
I lay in bed at night and I think to myself, “What was I taught in school? What are the rules according to the board of nursing? What would I do as a mother myself?”
And then it’s clear to me.
I have decisions to make. I have to make them soon. Not for me. For her.
I also realize that maybe, just maybe, it’s not really my job I hate, but the position I am put in with regards to these hard as hell decisions I have to make sooner than later. Unnecessary decisions that could have been avoided.
The phone calls I will be forced to make in the coming days. The disruption these phone calls will more than likely cause, but nursing isn’t always pretty.
It’s not always about blood and guts and dirty bed linens on an empty gurney right in front of your face. Sometime’s it’s about the blood, sweat and tears of the nurse that you don’t see, dripping from a caring heart hidden deep inside a soul so loving you can’t even imagine.
All for one little person.
That’s what I hate.