Thursday, September 18, 2014

Reflection on My Career

I have taken a bit of a break from writing in my blog the past few months... but, I feel like I have a free moment (gasp), so here it goes! I have made jewelry for over 20 years...


The summer before I graduated (my junior year of nursing school), I worked as a nurse extern in the PACU. The truth is I had no idea what a "PACU" was, but it had to be better than the Geriatric Med-Surg Floor, right? I thought I requested Labor and Delivery or the Nursery... So, not having any idea what I was getting myself into... I started working as a nurse extern in this thing they call the "PACU."

On the first day of my 3 pm to 11 pm shift, I mistakenly asked Stan, the nurse I was placed with for orientation, "Do you ever have CODES?" I quickly learned what NOT to ask... EVER... AGAIN... as I fumbled that evening to figure out the intercom system and shout in a panic "CODE BLUE... PACU..."  For those of you that do not know what "PACU" stands for, it is the Post Anesthesia Care Unit or Recovery Room for patients waking up from surgery. Airways, Pain Control, Nausea... basically every bodily fluid known to man...

During the day, I worked as a lifeguard and manager of a neighborhood pool. I taught swim lessons in the mornings, swim team before the pool opened and then worked until 2 pm as a lifeguard. I came home, took a shower and worked 3 pm to 11 pm at the hospital, Monday through Friday. On the weekends, I worked all day Saturday and Sunday from open to close at the pool. And somewhere in between, I made jewelry. Sometimes, I wish I had traveled to Europe for the summer, but instead I was growing a strong work ethic.

I worked SO hard for my nursing degree and passing the nursing boards was a difficult feat (I am a horrible test taker). I took the minimum number of questions... Wait... What? That's it? No!!! I only answered 75 questions... I want the 200+ questions!!! Please don't shut off at 75?!?

I asked my manager if I could continue as a nurse extern because I was sure I failed my boards, so several days later when I called to hear the news and to ask when I could retake my test... They started rattling off a license number. I was in shock. WHAT? I passed? Whoa... Whew! It was a good thing, too... because I was poor. I just graduated and was running out of income from my savings account that I had worked so diligently the summer before to live on my own. After passing my boards, I moved in to an apartment in the city. I was young and beautiful and RESPONSIBLE FOR SAVING LIVES?

I have been a nurse for 13 years. I worked full-time from 2001 to 2009 and after the birth of our FIRST son, I went back to work part-time. I worked part-time for 6 months (pumping on my lunch breaks and in between patient care), but I was determined to do what was best for my baby! I carried our insurance (for myself and the baby), so I basically worked to pay for health insurance. After feeling like I was missing the first year of my child's life, I decided to go prn (occasionally or as needed basis). In the early Spring of 2012, we welcomed our SECOND son and I continued to work prn until the end of October. After feeling like I was needed more at home than at work, I decided to QUIT my job as a nurse and stay at home with my two boys.

Now, after the birth of our THIRD son, my license is up for renewal. Since I have not worked as a nurse for two years, I am choosing to inactivate my license. I think the past two years (besides having an identity crisis when anyone asks my occupation) I have struggled with... What if I have to go back to work? What if my husband loses his job? I can always get a job as a nurse! But, thankfully my jewelry business has helped our family supplement our income and I have been "self-employed" for two years now! And, while I am having trouble juggling three babies and all of the other things in life, I am thankful for all of the wonderful people I have met along the way.

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