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Do I ever regret Quitting Nursing?

So this is a question that comes up from time to time in conversation – people ask me if I regret quitting nursing. I even find myself asking myself that. The short answer is no. There are however things I do miss about it – I definitely DO NOT miss the backache, headaches and stress. I feel better paid for the work I do now as an online entrepreneur and I do not want to go back to a position or career in which I’m literally breaking my back and getting mistreated by my employers. The stress is absolutely not worth it.  (more…)

NursingHabits Free Book

Artwork by Jeff Conway: Buy his paintings.

Hi loyal readers.

I want to thank you for the ongoing support and love. I’ve been rather busy but I still get so many beautiful and touching letters and comments coming in daily. You have inspired me to give back to the nursing community. I’ve been working on a new book which I’ll be publishing for you all to download for free! The book is a more detailed account of how I turned my career around after suffering nursing burn out. It will also contain advice and tips designed to help you decide what’s the right move for you.

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Dealing with people who shame you for quitting nursing.

Have you ever complained about a certain aspect of nursing or contemplated quitting nursing only to find a bunch of people that would shake their heads at you and make you feel ashamed for feeling the way you do?

Some common complaints and the judgmental responses you may get:

nursing-habits-icon“I don’t get paid enough! I work overtime without pay. I often have to stay in on lunch breaks and after hours because there just isn’t enough staff and the patients struggle at the end but now I’m beat, broke and don’t have much time for my family or friends.”

 

person

“Nurses shouldn’t be looking for money, they should be doing nursing out of the goodness of their hearts and as a service to humanity.”

 

I’m sorry but times are tough and the “goodness of your heart” isn’t going to save you when they try to repossess your house and put your kids on the street. If that’s the case why do doctors get paid so much? Nurses have every right to be well compensated for the work they do. It doesn’t make them evil if they ask to be better paid. They still care about the patient at the end of the day but they have needs too!

nursing-habits-icon“I am stressed out, burnt out, losing my hair, my manager won’t help, we’re understaffed and overworked.”

 

person“You chose nursing, deal with it, you should be doing this out of the goodness of your heart. Stop bringing the nursing profession down.”

 

Now I know there are people who really are very thin skinned and complain because they want to complain, but allot of us don’t want to have anything to complain about! Pay us well, give us enough staff, treat us like we’re valued, assist us when we’re overwhelmed. It isn’t much to ask. I know I personally pushed myself to do everything I possibly could to keep things running smoothly and it did nothing but harm at the end. Too many nurses end up with damaged backs and health issues that cannot be helped or reversed and it’s usually because they aren’t given the resources they need to survive such a difficult and challenging career. I also often found that management would try to cut corners and save money by sidelining the needs of nurses and expecting them to make do under unbearable conditions. Like running a full ward of 32 critically ill patients with only 2 nurses. Again the goodness of your heart isn’t going to heal your broken back at the end of the day. No other career in the world is expected to run on love alone.

nursing-habits-icon“Doctor Who is being nasty again, he didn’t get his coffee because I answered the telephone at the nurses station and now he wants me fired”

 

person“Doctors are very important to us because they make us money, a nurse is replaceable, we don’t care much for the goodness of her heart, goodbye and good luck finding a new job.”

 

Nurses are constantly made to feel undervalued and doctors can be such bullies about it. How can anyone be happy in a job that doesn’t let them feel valued or wanted? There has to be a sense of accomplishment and a sense of being valued.

Here’s an interesting talk about how people really want to feel valued in their profession not just do the job and get paid for it.

So the next time someone makes you feel like you’re the scum of the earth for raising complaint about your job, tell them you appreciate their input, (it is important to hear them out, they may actually have a point at times), then evaluate whether you’re being unreasonable in your complaint, more often than not, you’ll find you had a good reason to feel the way you feel and you should do something about it. Nothing improves by laying low and staying silent!

What are a nurses pet peeves?

Nurses put up with a lot of sh*t. Both literally and figuratively. Here’s a list of sh*t I hated dealing with in my nursing career:

1. Doctors with huge egos. 

images-150x150A doctor I know once had a nurse fired simply for answering the ward telephone in his presence. In a hospital there are all kinds of emergencies and answering the telephone may well save a life! Of course nothing could be more important than Doctor Bruised Ego over there!

 

 

2. Managers with their nose high up in the air.

Some managers develop a similar sort of bloated ego as doctors do. This can cause a lot of issues for everyone. Of course I wouldn’t class all matrons (or doctors for that matter) the same way…just a few.

3. Patients that think they own you.

crazy-nurse-150x150Technically they do sort of own you. They can get away with murder and there’s almost nothing you can do to those obnoxious patients…almost.

Nurses I worked with at least found ways to warn each other about these patients by using code words in the patients diagnosis. “This is Mrs Smeegle and she has HPT, DVT, Chronic PIA (pain in the ass)”. Or for a particularly dimwitted patient we’d say “we have a case of low apgar”A scoring system used on newborn babies to assess their physical condition. A low apgar score, would usually indicate a lack of oxygen to the brain and the possibility of retardation.. It was little ways of not only warning other nurses that this patient may be a danger to herself and others, but also a tiny bit of vengeance for her terrible attitude (having a little inside joke/laugh at her expense). Yeah, some might find this horrendously offensive but I think it’s harmless compared to the immense amount of stress these types of patients inflict on nurses daily.

4. People that think of you as a walking pharmacy because you work at a hospital.

How many times have people come up to you and asked if you could get them meds? Like you have the ability to just walk into the hospital take whatever you please and hand it out to everyone. Well, yeah you can get away with that sometimes in tiny quantities and there are people who you really don’t mind helping out, but then there are those that keep coming back for more, or worse, they tell their aunts, uncles, cousins and cousins cousins cousin that you can supply them with free meds for a lifetime. nursing-habits-icon

5. People who think all you do is clean poop and sleep all day! 

This should have been higher up on the list. This makes me go CRAZY INSANE! I just can’t stand it when ignorant people undermine the job as though they’d survive even one hour doing what nurses do! It’s an insult above all insults. Say that to a nurse and you’re not gonna have a good time next time you need to get your shots buddy!

Let me know in the comments below what you find unbearably maddening from your experiences as a nurse. How do you deal with the issues that you experience? Also, if you’ve got a story to tell from a patients/doctors/managers perspective, I’d love to hear it.

What’s it like starting an online business?

It’s a new world for me, working as a full-time web developer instead of as a nurse who is always aware of the date and time. Time is everything to a nurse. It’s a very orienting routine. In contrast, running an online business doesn’t allow for a set routine. Clients hail from all parts of the world and you want to communicate with them in real time over skype or chat or at least reply to their emails quickly enough to keep them happy. You’ve got to get yourself a good reputation and it starts with good communication skills and flexibility. Time is muddled; you don’t know whether you’re eating breakfast, lunch or supper. You shower at 3 in the morning and you miss entire days, lost in endless hours of code, clicks and keystrokes. I am not complaining though, I love my job but I do find that without a routine, it’s inevitable that you will crash.

stress-and-sleepI find myself either sleeping too much or too little. At times, no matter how much I’ve slept, I can’t keep my eyes open through the night to work. At other times, I could go full days without sleep, which may have certain hallucinatory side-effects that could either be fun or maddening, depending on which side of the insanity meter you’re leaning toward (I think I’d be the laughing type if I was mentally ill *giggles hysterically*).

Your body functions best when it knows what to expect and with my crazy hours, my body is raising some complaints. Aside from the sleep issues, I tend to sit for long hours in one spot straining my shoulder and neck, as the glare of the screen attacks my eyes. When you do this sort of work, time disappears in chunks and you’re stunned half to death when you open a window, expecting a starry black sky but finding rays of sunshine blasting in instead.

The point of this post is not to whine but to put it out there that running an online business has many challenges and it’s a rocky ride while you’re still trying to find a working system but if you have a viable idea for an online business, it’s well worth a go, and it is in fact one of the best ways to make money lately. I recommend that you do your research first though. Too many people jump right into it without much foresight for what to expect and then they crash and burn, giving up on their business prematurely.

I find it a valuable source of information when other people share their experiences on starting an online business. Everyone wants to take shortcuts and no one likes to read, but you’ll find that if you do your homework, you will make less mistakes and your business will flourish faster. So drop the know-it-all attitude and pick up a book, read blogs and forums. Get involved. Ask questions. Cross-reference information. There are answers to all your questions already available to you around the web. Subscribe to my mailing list and I’ll keep you posted on the most valuable online resources I’ve come across, as well as my some of my own experiences as I develop a better system for my online business.

Who knows maybe you could actually quit your nursing job if you’re burnt out with a broken back and a faulty bladder or maybe you could simply supplement your nursing salary and retire whenever you want. The truth is that if you’re truly interested in making extra money and you’re excited about the idea of clicks and keystrokes turning into a gold mine, and most importantly, if you’re willing to dedicate enough time and energy into it, then you’re probably a good fit. My interest falls in web design but there are many other fields you could get into, from selling cookies to affiliate marketing. Subscribe to my mailing list to get free books and guidelines on starting your own online business.

Nursing: You can’t live with it, you can kill it!

Many people ask me if I miss nursing since I left. I usually give them the short answer: “Miss it? HA!”, but when I really think of it more carefully the answer is a little more complex. Nursing changes you and once you’ve been there, I am not sure if it’s possible to break out of certain nursing habits. I still hate long, painted nails and prefer them clipped and clear. I can’t handle dangly earrings and high heels. I still wash my hands (frequently) up to my elbows, and if there are no paper towels, I dab my hands on my clothing, rather than on an overused cloth towel (admit it, you’ve done it when the paper towels ran out at the hospital). I scold people for not taking their pills on time, and I collect pens and tape like crazy. I have my own coffee mug, I like labeling things and I try to find a practical use for any waste (my bf hates when I collect empty boxes).

There are moments when I look at the time and think of what I would be doing at that specific time if I was still a nurse: making beds, handing out tea, breakfast, lunch, supper, doing observations, wound dressings, paper work, running about, suppressing anger for the nurse that’s not pulling her weight, bed baths, pleading with the clock to mark the end of my shift, answering telephones, wheeling patients around, tending to bells, bedpans and vomit, listening to the distressed patient tell me stories about how horrible the food is, taking commands from a hundred different supervisors, running past certain rooms to avoid that patient that can’t help but ask for something each and every time he sees you, getting high on caffeine and sugar, pleading with the clock to let me go home, messaging my bf to complain about my aching feet, nearly in tears because the manager was being mean, controlling visitors and suppressing anger when they would purposefully talk down about the nurses, within earshot, like I wasn’t there. (especially when those very people refuse to change the diapers of their loved one). At times I think of the patients I once cared for and wonder how they’re doing and sometimes I get the urge to check in on them.

busy-nurseSo, it’s safe to say, nursing hasn’t broken away from me completely but I will definitely not go back to it in a hurry.

There are just too many issues that aren’t getting resolved quickly enough and I just get frustrated because most of the problems could be resolved with a shot of common sense, but astoundingly, it seems to be in short supply in many SA hospitals. I watched nurses try to fight off the nonsensical ways of hospital management but very few come out winning and many of them just end up feeling more stressed out after their efforts get shot down.

So I had a choice to make, I either stay with it and be miserable, or I get out and do something different. Hats off to those that stay and are still happy, despite the many challenges! But to those burnt out nurses that are staying in it simply because you think you have no alternative, you have to create an alternative and it’s not impossible! I will be writing more often about how you can put the internet to use and create an income from it. So keep watching this space!

You(tube) Star!

Hey guys, how are you this Monday?

Oh me? Despite the flu, I am good! I was chatting to my friend Kuri who was feeling the Monday morning dread coming on, and it just struck me at that moment that I don’t feel Monday blues anymore! Woohoo! I don’t ever have to feel Monday blues ever again…EVER!

I can finally start to love and cuddle and adore my Mondays!

Okay, okay, I know that sounds boastful and cruel to those of you that are actually going to some place you don’t want to be at today, to listen to your whiny boss, to pull the weight of your lazy colleagues, to be overworked and underpaid, forever and ever til death do you part. 

Yeah I know, I am not making you feel any better but did you ever stop to think that it doesn’t have to be that way? How many of you have been brainwashed into thinking that there is only one formula for success in the whole WIDE world? Have you ever looked past Farmville into the thick of the World Wide Web? People, this is the door to everything! Well, almost everything. With it you can make anything happen (well, almost anything!)…okay…quite a lot of anything…the Egyptian government had to force a shutdown on the internet because it is a tool powerful enough to enable citizens to overthrow their rulers. It is the ultimate form of expression and there is room for everyone! 

I wish sometimes I could warp into a different dimension and discover something cool.

Hmmm, what if I could at least visualize myself doing that? Like so…

Want to know how we did that? Simple. Jash wanted to learn how to do special effects so he Googled it and found a ton of free tutorials. Yes! FREE high quality, in-depth tutorials on how to create special effects. He downloaded the trial version of Adobe After Effects and presto! 

Now watch how these guys make some money out of special effects on YouTube. 

The possibilities are endless and the results are deeply SATISFYING!

For those that don’t know, if you have a channel on YouTube and your show brings a lot of viewers, google (who owns YouTube) will pay you because you’re bringing in viewers. This is funded by businesses who advertise on YouTube. Kind of like television, except, you’re not watching TV, you’re making TV. It’s a chance to have fun, get famous and possibly make some frikkin big money! How cool is that?! 

Caution: Like any other creative pursuit, don’t go into this with the idea that you are going to be an overnight millionaire (though you never know with the internet). What you should be focusing on is having fun! Lots of fun! Enjoy every moment, feel your way around. Does it make you feel happy inside? Do you feel your passion rising and your interest in it deepening naturally? Do your friends enjoy it? If you’re making one person happy with what you’re doing, you’re succeeding. Think of it only as a hobby that you’re obsessed with for now. Nobody ever really expects to make any money from hobbies but we all invest our time in it anyway. The good part about this particular hobby (and many other hobbies I will be blogging on) is that with enough time, you will make money out of it. Think of that as a plus, but not as the main goal. If you think of the money, your patience will wear thin and you will end up frustrated and creatively blocked. The object is solely to have fun.

I can hear you say:

“But I am terrible with computers! Special effects? Omg! Are you kidding?” 

No, you don’t have to use special effects to get views on YouTube. Of course to get your videos up, you should learn some basics, like how to record a video, how to do some light editing, and how to upload the video to YouTube. There are plenty of FREE resources out there, so you can learn how to do just about anything! 

If you really want to get your channel plenty of views, the best thing to do is network.. It matters hugely when it comes to stuff like this. American YouTubers seem to have the advantage of hosting social events like YouTube parties where they are able to meet each other physically, collaborate and produce shows together, but if you're not American this doesn't necessarily put you in a disadvantaged position. Word spreads around the internet fast and if you network enough with people online, you will get good numbers but don't just go out there spamming people, and posting your link at every site or forum possible. Go out there and make real friends online. Speak to people, help them out of their spots, let your personality shine through. Be yourself, be helpful and have fun. You will find that people would more naturally keep coming back to your website/youtube channel simply because they feel a personal connection with you. There are millions of sites out there and there just isn't enough time for one person to visit them all. You have to give them a reason to keep coming back to you. Once you're in the circle, the word spreads from there and that's when you will start reaping the benefits of your hard work. But hey, the internet is unpredictable! You may just get lucky and go "viral" (spread quickly around the net) almost without any effort on your part. If so, hats off to you!

Are you going to or have you already done something cool on YouTube? Share the link with me and let me know how it's going! 🙂 

Click here to read about some successful YouTubers:

 

 

Nurses don’t know when to quit.

createnurse1So I haven’t been able to post in a while, my sister just got married and weddings take up more time and money than you would ever expect. She made a beautiful bride and she is now honeymooning in Durban with her new hubby. Now that the wedding’s over, I finally have time to reflect about my resignation from nursing. How does it feel to be an ex-nurse? Joyous and scary all at once!

While you’re in nursing, the thought of leaving it is always scary. It’s all you know, it’s a part of your life and a part of who you are. You can’t picture yourself doing anything else. Despite all the problems that come with it, nursing is admittedly a very stable job (as long as you can avoid lawsuits), and as a nurse you earn a certain amount of public respect (even though nurses are the number 1 scapegoat for when anything goes wrong with a patient). One nurse said that she is proud of me for following my dreams because nurses don’t usually do such things. They get into nursing and they stay in it no matter what the cost is to them.

It may not seem like it, but every single day a nurse goes to work, she is in danger. You just never know what to expect out of your day. Many nurses get injured on duty or attacked by violent patients, and some are unfortunate enough to contract diseases from their patients. Every day you spend lifting heavy patients, working long hours on your feet, working the night shift, eating quickly prepared high-carb, sugary snacks, sleeping at strange hours, your body takes damage points. Nurses end up highly stressed out with back and knee problems in the end. Nurses often are the strongest member of their family because they are trained to suck in their own feelings and neglect their own needs in the interest of others (much like mothers). But there comes a point in every nurses life where they will feel like they’ve had enough! The problem is that many nurses reach that point but don’t know how to break away from nursing and that’s when burnout sets in.

You find yourself calling in sick often, being cold and unfriendly to staff and patients, you feel depressed and cry often, you go home and get agitated with your family, you stay home, locked away in your room, refusing to socialize…it affects every aspect of your life…but you still won’t quit nursing. What would you do other than nursing? How would you cope without that steady income? You’ve studied for too many years to throw it all away now. You did this all your life. It’s too daunting to start over now.

Yes, it’s a tough decision to make but I think I have just the thing to help inspire and motivate you to either change careers or ease your burnout. I believe that everyone is multi-talented. In fact talent has little to do with it. When I started learning about web design, I wasn’t very good with it, I just found it a soothing and relaxing hobby. It made me feel good after a long day at the hospital. It took my mind off of the bleakness of nursing. The more my interest in it grew, the faster I started to realize that this could actually be something I could make a career out of. The more I practiced, the more confident I became that I could actually leave nursing behind me with no regrets attached.

I just added a new section “Creativity” to my blog which covers anything and everything creative and inspirational. Check it out, who knows you just might find enough inspiration to help you either be a happier person (hence a better nurse), or to develop a new career altogether!

Should you quit nursing?

I am on nightshift feeling a little down after being told that I would have to push back my resignation date by a few weeks. But the disappointment I feel is inconsequential in light of the joy I am feeling right now. Jash and I have great plans ahead of us and we are so totally in sync, that we both feel like there is a force within us that’s just pushing us forth. We’re unafraid and taking the risks we stopped ourselves from taking so many times before. I am feeling quiet invincible right now, so it would be a bummer if a boulder fell on my head right now and killed me dead because I am at a point in my life where I understand enough about myself to know that I have always been capable of seeing my dreams through.

It’s so ridiculous how dumb we are when we are younger. We complain about the silliest things and we are so busy whining about our little lives, that we don’t see the magic right in front of our eyes. It’s absolutely beautiful once you open your eyes! I could cry for the younger me for being so emo but I won’t, because I know that it was the perfect spot to be in back then, to get where I am right now.  I can’t help falling in love with life. I was told today by my good friend Vana that I am a romantic. I laughed so hard. I was never a romantic. Ask my sister Shady. I hated men, I hated life, I hated myself, I hated broccoli, I hated school and I’d just hate, hate, hate and hate everything.

I had this idea in my head that our planet is a prison and we’re doomed to suffer through it, without even knowing what we are being convicted for. I think one of the reasons we feel trapped is because society enforces rules that tell you that you have to live a certain way and achieve certain things by a certain age or you’d get labeled a failure. What they won’t tell you, is that your life is like a canvas and you’re the artist. You are allowed to do with it as you please without having to conform to the norms of society (save for being a psychotic murderer which will result in your own destruction). Right now, I constantly have projections of myself twirling in the freedom of my creativity. And I know for a sweet and solid fact that I am making the right decision and that I should quit nursing. I'm leaving it all behind, I'm gone!

Quit nursing! Arkadia has left the building!Image source: www.reviewjournal.com

People are always asking me why I want to quit nursing. What’s so bad about nursing? Well..everything..and nothing. It’s an awesomely challenging career and it’s not for the faint at heart. It’s for people that can handle the gruesome reality of life with a smile on their face and a skip in their step. You need to pull out an endless supply of energy from within you to be a supportive and solid force, guiding tormented people back to health or leading them peacefully to death, without losing your mind. I have met such people. They work hard, they put others first, they fight to keep the integrity of nursing in tact despite the many obstacles they are faced with. I would gladly name those nurses here if it weren’t for the fact that I am trying to keep the identity of my hospital quiet. Does that mean I didn’t have what it takes to be like them?

When I first started nursing, I was flooded with emotions and my mind was constantly stimulated. I was learning valuable life lessons. I cried when a patient died. I smiled when a patient got better. But as the years went by, a feeling of indifference began creeping over me and suddenly, no matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t feeling anything anymore.

I remember an elderly man I had nursed when I was a student. He told me all about his children and how much he loved them and he seemed to glow with pride as he spoke of them. He reminded me so much of my grandfather. Gentle and family orientated. He died that night. I felt like I had lost my own grandfather and I couldn’t bare it. I sat alone in the office and cried the whole night feeling that he had been wronged in some way. I know that as nurses, you grow to accept death as a norm, but recently I lost a patient and felt absolutely nothing. Is it okay to feel nothing? Maybe it’s time I moved on? Can you be a nurse when you can’t feel those basic emotions? Perhaps it’s necessary to become that way for the sake of your own sanity. Despite this, I would never be a sloppy nurse, I always take care to complete my tasks accurately and responsibly, but that feeling of indifference leads me to believe that I have given everything I could give and I have learnt everything I need to learn from this experience.

There are definitely other things about the job that I found frustrating, like the steady decline in the integrity of nursing, the way that nurses are undermined, the political upheaval in this country, the feeling of non-achievement when you have to do the same thing everyday and the general repugnance of the job itself. But all of those things are overcome by the nurse that’s driven by her love for the job. I am not that nurse.

Health care workers are often plagued by the problem of becoming desensitized to the things they deal with on a daily basis. There is a word for that condition but the “word gnome” stole it out of my head. My question is, is that desensitization good for you and your patient? Should you continue in the “caring profession” when you reach that point? I chose not to. I want to feel things, and after making a risky change by quitting nursing, I am feeling again. I am feeling good!
 
I apologize for the lengthiness of this entry but I thank all two of you that managed to stay with me right up to this point (which I am sure has nothing to do with the fact that you are my unpaid editors). You are loved! 🙂