Reality

Because just in case the usual aches and pains of my days aren’t enough…

I fell yesterday. I was going out to the grill to check on the chicken, and my leg gave out and I fell to the deck floor in a heap. I stayed there for a time. Assessing the situation, because my foot was twisted in one direction and my hip twisted in another, and I was alone. It took me a few moments to first recover from the pain, and then figure out how I was going to upright myself without further twisting my already inflamed joints.

A day later, and my knee is still protesting my clumsiness, making it hard just to lift myself from a sitting position.

And I wonder how my shift is going to go tonight.

An already physically demanding job is getting more physically demanding, because on night shift, we have lost not just a few nurses, but a few techs as well. It’s the story of bedside nursing across the country. RNs being asked to do more and more with less and less.

July will be a year since I graduated nursing school and started my career as a bedside nurse at a community hospital. I like what I do. The environment is rich with learning experiences, and the team (or what’s left of it at the moment) is great. But more night shifters are on their way out, and despite the promise of another group of nurse and tech graduates starting in the summer, it wont be until late fall until they are ready to work on their own and make a difference in the holes in the schedule.

I’m just not sure if I can wait that long. My days off are spent recovering from balancing the demands of my job with the chronic pain I suffer from, as well as keeping up with laundry, cooking, and food shopping. Relationships are suffering, too. My marriage is under enormous strain right now, and my daughter is hitting some important milestones as a high school junior: SATs, prom, sports events…

I’ve applied to graduate school, to finish my education as a Family Nurse Practitioner, in hopes I can bow out of my job with a more appealing excuse besides, “it hurts too much,” or “I can’t keep up.” But the reality is setting in that if I dont make it in this year, I may have to find a nursing job doing something else.

Because it hurts too much. And I just can’t keep up.

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