I don’t mention my job much here, but I am a nurse. I’ve been a nurse for five and a half years. It is my second career, the first being a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher. I began my nursing career on a standard Medical/Surgical unit aka Med-Surg. I learned so much in my nearly three years there. I saw a wide variety of cases. I confronted most of my nursing fears head on as I delved into patient care which included post-op patients, pre-op patients, patients with drains, tubes, dressings, etc. I learned to manage my time with an often overwhelming patient assignment including admissions and transfers. The experience prepared me well. Med-Surg nurses are often overlooked and underrated. I have great respect for Med-Surg nurses who have dedicated their careers to this demanding, specialized niche of nursing that really serves as the backbone for all of nursing.
After being floated numerous times to the Intermediate Care Unit (IMC), a monitored cardiac unit, I knew that the time had come for a change. The great thing about being a nurse is that there are so many areas I in which to practice. The switch to cardiac care initially proved to be a challenging yet rewarding change for me. My co-workers were incredibly supportive and knowledgeable. However, my training was severely lacking and I trudged along for a year feeling as though I was not quite cut out for the critical care setting. Aside from the frequent staff drama there were also some major administrative and management changes that had occurred a few months after starting the position in IMC. I had an erratic schedule and I was leaving later and later each day. I loved the patient care aspect but the rest of it weighed heavy and caused a great deal of unnecessary stress both at work and home. I got talking to one of the nurses from the Psychiatric Unit and after numerous chats she told me of a night shift nursing position available on her floor. I went to Human Resources that morning after work to apply. I didn’t even need to think about it.
Did you ever just feel right about something? I knew instantly that this was the path I was supposed to take in nursing. Needless to say I have been on that unit for almost two years. The time has flown by and I have never been happier in my nursing career. I absolutely love what I do. I work with a terrific group of people. I have a supportive boss. I get out of work at 7 am on the button which makes bringing Carlos to school possible and going for runs immediately after work on the weekends a lot easier. I have a set schedule and no mandatory holiday schedule. Though we are required to work some holidays there is a sign up sheet that is posted for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. The funny thing is the slots get filled without any difficulty or argument. Some of us like the extra money and don’t mind working those holidays, others are so grateful to be able to have the time off.
It isn’t hard to believe that while working on the previous nursing units I was unable to lose weight and though I tried to run I didn’t stick with it. Since I started on the Psych Unit I have lost and maintained an 8 pound weight loss. I have been able to commit to running. I find sincere support and interest from my colleagues. They actually let me blab about running amongst other things. It’s a two way street as I love hearing about their lives too. We all lend an ear when someone has a dilemma or had a bad day. We work great as a team. I truly enjoy going to work at night (oh and believe it or not I love working nights!).
Being content at work has translated to other areas of my life. I always believed that my career would be a priority. That was until I had my son. I am a hard worker with a very strong work ethic. I’m motivated and driven to succeed, but not in the same way I once thought was important. Ultimately caring for Carlos is my primary job and one that I am blessed to experience. People often ask me if it is difficult to work nights. I reply, “my night job is not nearly as difficult as my day job.” When I come home in the morning grinning from ear to ear it’s not only because I’m happy to see my family, it’s because I’ve had another great night at “my other job.”