Reality Check

I finally received my security clearance from the VA. Don’t get me started on how many hours I spent playing with my Twitter feed in that damned HR waiting room.

I celebrated the momentous occasion with a three-day migraine, so last night ended up being my first clinical shift.

All I can say is, now I remember why I left the hospital. 😉 (And I’m not even at a hospital – I’m at a long-term care/skilled nursing/acute rehab/hospice and palliative care center. But it’s acute enough for me!)

Since I started working in community health, I have always wondered if I left inpatient care too soon, if I didn’t give it a fair chance. After 8 hours back in the mix, I feel confident that I made the right move for myself.

It wasn’t the fear of not having the skills. I did work in a progressive care unit and was about to start flying solo when I left. I can take blood sugars and prime IV tubing, thankyouverymuch.

It wasn’t the patients. I really enjoyed bantering with the vets.

It wasn’t the staff. They were incredible.

It was that hectic, wigged out, “this shift isn’t long enough” feeling that plagued me the entire time. It was always checking the clock, checking my clinical brain, checking my watch, wondering if I was forgetting something and what I was missing. I hate that feeling. Anxiety is already my middle name. It may make me a more vigilant nurse, but it sure isn’t good for my health.

There are moments when I do worry if I have painted myself into a professional corner, so to speak. If I ever did get the inkling to return to acute care nursing, would I be able to catch up? Am I limiting myself to community health jobs only? It’s such a different world outside the hospital walls.

But if there is anything I’ll take away from this clinical experience, it’s that I left the world inside the walls for a very legitimate reason.

No regrets.

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