New Directions Indeed

I resigned from my job last week.

It was a long time coming, really. If this summer was about learning to say “No,” this decision was about saying no to drama. Since I crashed and burned last fall, I like I have been in an emotional tug of war with my manager and clinical lead. I’ve continually felt as if I had a target on my back, as if they were sitting back and waiting for me to screw up so they could fire me for performance. Unfortunately for them, I’ve done everything by the book and they haven’t been able to fire me. So instead they’ve reached out to make me as miserable as possible (or so it felt). And I finally said enough was enough.

I’ve been going back and forth about leaving for months, now. The only factor keeping me there was my night shift team. My wonderful, supportive team. But I was unhappy and they knew it. When I told them I was thinking about leaving they said “Good for you. We’ll miss you, but you deserve better.” Nothing like true friends.

Between my first PCU job and this experience, I’ve learned some important lessons…

  1. Enough with the night shift already. I thought I might do better in a job I loved, with people I loved. Turns out my body didn’t agree and I’m just not cut out for working all night. It was taking me longer and longer to recover. My neurologist finally sat me down and said my body needed a normal sleep schedule or I was never going to get better.
  2. Overcommunicating isn’t always wise. Throughout the past year, I made an effort to be completely transparent with management about my situation. I volunteered information about my health that I didn’t have to offer, because I didn’t want there to be any questions or doubts or gossip. Turns out the questions and doubts and gossip persisted anyway. And I ended up feeling vulnerable. One of my classmates said I just needed to keep my mouth shut and go to work and not let on what I was thinking or feeling, because it would be used against me. Turns out she was right.
  3. Nurses suck at taking care of nurses. I should have realized this the first time around. But when it comes to chronic illness, we judge each other as harshly as we judge our patients. I can’t tell you how many migraine patients I’ve admitted over the past two years and when I got report from the emergency department, it always started out with “These migraine patients…” As one of “those” patients, the complaints I heard from fellow nurses made me feel like a malingerer and a drug-seeker. I felt like the weakest link. I felt like whenever I called out (the reason for which was protected under federal law), no one believed me. My manager called me on days I was scheduled “just to make sure” I was coming to work. Is that even legal? When my reason for calling out wasn’t documented by the charge nurse I spoke with (even though I always gave the reason), he marked it as an unexcused absence rather than an FMLA absence, and gave me a verbal warning for having too many of those – you better believe I fought that tooth and nail).

Needless to say, I’ve become a little gunshy about trusting the people I work for and the people I work with. And that makes me sad because I’m a flipping nurse. And we’re supposedly the most trustworthy profession in America.

How come we don’t take care of each other?

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