Where are they now?

1 Oct

Oh, hi!

Early last week, one of my good friends from nursing school sent me a text that read, “I miss having a life.”

I stared at the text with a mixture of anger and confusion. I knew what she was referring to. She had started her second week of training as an RN. She was lucky enough to not work through nursing school and had the summer off to travel and spend time with her friends and family. Working 40 hours a week was feeling overwhelming to her.

I, however, was in my ninth week of working as a nurse, after only one week between quitting my job as a vet tech and staring as a nurse. I was confused by her message, because for the first time in years, I feel like I have time, like I’m able to have a life.

It’s only dawning on me now just how much I put myself through to become a nurse. For three years (1.5 of prerequisites and 1.5 of nursing school), I managed to hold down a job, manage many pet sitting clients, and work hard enough in school to become my class’s valedictorian. None of this was easy. There were moments of breaking down in exhaustion, feeling frustrated, and questioning whether it was all worth it and would ever come to an end.

I wanted to post about my different clinicals (Psych, Maternity, Pediatrics, Community) and the impact they each had on me. I wanted to write about graduation, studying for the boards, the job hunt. But everything happened so fast, and I’m still having a hard time believing that I get to be where I am today.

From the outset, I wanted to be in the emergency room. Fast paced emergency situations were always my favorite at the veterinary hospital, and I loved the idea of seeing a wide variety of complaints. The ER is what I wanted, and just about everybody told me it was impossible. I had professors tell me that I wasn’t meant for the ER. I had classmates tell me that the ER was for the heartless. Advisors and recruiters told me it was a pipe dream, and I should settle for less. In New York State, there are very limited programs that allow new graduates into the emergency room. In New York City, only six positions were made available in 2019. Five at the hospital I work at, and one at the only other hospital that hires new grads into the ER.

I feel lucky. I feel grateful. When I spend time in the ER now, running around feeling dumb and useless, I also feel excited and incredulous that I’m one of the lucky few. By a simple twist of fate, one of the families that I used to cat sit for had connections at my hospital and were able to instruct HR to consider my resume for the ER fellowship. This leaves me with mixed feelings of being undeserving and embarrassed that cat sitting is what landed me my dream job. But I’ve decided that it comes down to what I do from here and how valuable a nurse I become with this opportunity that I’ve been given.

So now, I’ve bequeathed my cat sitting clients to co-workers from the vet clinic, and I’m working a healthy 37.5 hours a week. On my days off and in my evenings, I come home without anything to study (sometimes I briefly review things I encountered during the day), without any modules or homework assignments. I don’t have to run to an apartment in the Upper East Side to feed or medicate any animal. It’s like I’m learning how to be a person again.

I go for long runs in Astoria Park. I sip Guatemalan coffee while reading New York Times op-eds on my iPad. I binge watch all of “Fleabag” in two days. I make Shrimp Scampi over orzo with a side of steamed broccoli and a glass of white wine. I spend an ungodly amount of time looking at throw pillows and art for my new apartment (my first ever sans roommates). WHO AM I?

So when I think about getting back to my life and having all this free time, of course writing is at the top of my list. I’m so rusty at this point, though, that I’m having issues getting back into the groove. I always loved having this blog, because it always felt like a good warm up to keeping those writing muscles strong. I’ve just been conflicted about how or what to write.

While my vet tech days were full of stories about the clinic, my experiences as a nurse are largely things I can’t write about. I have to maintain privacy for my patients, and I don’t want to get into any hot water with my employer. A lot of the nurses I follow on social media have anonymous accounts that are private. My employer hasn’t made any rules about that sort of thing, but I really don’t want to rock the boat or have any uncomfortable conversations with HR. So I’m trying to decide: do I want to write innocuous posts about nursing that have nothing to do with my employer (is that possible?!?)? Do I want to start an anonymous blog about nursing? Should I write about other things altogether and let this be a blog about all things non-nursing?

I don’t know. I’m not even sure who would read this or see this after it has been dormant and abandoned for so long. The people that come to this blog seem to want answers about Penn Foster or about life as a Vet Tech, two things I don’t want to talk about and don’t even feel qualified to talk about. But for me this is an exercise, a means to write. Maybe there won’t be another post for 10 months. I guess it just feels good to write again. I didn’t know how to break the ice on this long silence, so here is this imperfect, rambling post. I’m alive. I’m an ER nurse. Above all, I’m happy.


8 Responses to “Where are they now?”

  1. Vivian October 1, 2019 at 10:45 pm #

    So happy for you! Congratulations on all your accomplishments! I, too, am a vet tech in an ABSN program, and I, too, am juggling working a little and studying a lot. You are an inspiration! I can understand your trepidation about writing your experiences in nursing, employers do not need much of a reason to terminate an employee these days… I hope you your heart will eventually guide you with regards to what you should write about. You are a fantastic writer, and I would read your work regardless of the content!

    • Chrissy Wilson October 2, 2019 at 9:10 pm #

      Thank you! Your kind words mean so much to me! I think you’ll find that your vet tech experience helps you in your nursing program! You’ve got this!

  2. Nancy Rowlinson October 1, 2019 at 11:02 pm #

    I love your blog. Could you write about a mix of things. Your life, your job, only keeping it very anonymous, maybe just talking about how being a nurse makes you feel, lessons you learn from it?
    Don’t stop. We love you and your blog. Write anything, and it will be good.

    N and G

    • Chrissy Wilson October 2, 2019 at 9:11 pm #

      Thank you so much! I’ll try to write more while walking that fine line of privacy.

  3. Sue Knight October 2, 2019 at 11:49 am #

    This blog reader wants to hear about Chrissy, whatever you care to share. And is thrilled for this update and what it conveys. SO happy for your happy, and the way experience keeps solidifying your wisdom in listening the voice within. Everything is relative, isn’t it? What’s feeling like spacious new freedom to you doesn’t to others. And BTW, I believe the ‘who am I?’ question is tremendously valuable to ask oneself regularly. I try to do it at least once a week, and I keep learning, and often laughing, from the answer. Looking forward to more from you, whatever, whenever. ❤️

    • Chrissy Wilson October 2, 2019 at 9:12 pm #

      Thank you! As always you are full of wise words and good advice!

  4. Kristin M Wilson October 3, 2019 at 3:44 pm #

    Hi Chrissy, First let me congratulate you on your achievements and landing in your dream job! Another strong Wilson woman! And welcome to having a life again. I only got out of 60 hour weeks in my late 50’s! I too look back on my life in amazement, wondering how in the world did I pull this off this level of success, against so many odds?

    Coincidentally, when I became interested in medical school, also in my early 30’s, I was drawn to the emergency medicine. My interest was kindled when I was involved in outdoor leadership training and we were offered a several month course in Mountaineering Medicine. Each week a different doctor addressed us on one of the main topics in emergency medicine. I found it fascinating and relished the challenge of diagnosis and doing what I could under less than ideal circumstances. I ended up neither going to med school nor to nursing school, instead opting for a second bachelor’s in computer science. I did not begin working in the field until I was 39. And after a varied career I now work for the largest HMO managing development of solutions for regulatory and market-driven changes to the insurance offerings. Talk about things coming full circle.

    Enjoy your new stable life and pursuing those paths that enrich. Hope to see you again soon.

    Your cousin,

    • Chrissy Wilson October 6, 2019 at 6:20 pm #

      Thanks for your congratulations! It’s amazing where life takes us when we just follow our hearts.

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