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.
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!