Tag Archives: er nurse

Where are they now?

1 Oct
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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.