"Thank goodness I got a job so quick!" was all I was thinking when I got hired. "I'll just stay here for a couple years until it's time to go to grad school. I can do ANYTHING for 2 years." Or so I thought. At 3 months, my manager pulled me into her office, flatly told me all my flaws as a nurse, and told me she would fire me at 6 months if I couldn't "pull it together".
Here's where I think something's wrong with me. I think many people would look at this confrontation as a challenge, an opportunity to prove what amazing super nurses they are. Not me. I developed the strongest anxiety I think I have ever felt in my life. I suddenly felt like I couldn't ask other nurses for help because it would get back to my manager that I wasn't confident enough on my own. I felt like my manager had planted spies around, to keep an eye on my every move, and sure enough, she had! I would get called into her office to discuss something I had forgotten to document or a complaint from a neurotic patient, and other things that happen to just about every nurse. It is frustrating for me to think about these things. Why was I singled out so much? Why was it okay for another nurse to entirely miss a patient's temp spike, but it was unacceptable and grounds for firing for me to wait 30 minutes to notify a doctor about the same event?
I really do just feel picked on. My manager is a really closed, private, respecter-of-persons kind of woman. I am pretty much exactly the opposite. She saw my transparency as a weakness, a lack of confidence, while I view it as a strength and a sign of honesty. She told me she was dismissing me because she had to "make decisions based on patient outcomes." Here's something interesting. . .
In my head I was thinking, "What negative patient outcome have I personally, directly caused? When have I hurt a patient or done harm?" Then there was the phrase that often pops into my head when someone says or does something shocking to me. I said to myself, "What the hell?" I know that the answer to these questions is that I haven't done any harm. Everyone has gotten what they needed from me and all my patients have been safe. But my manager sees me as a threat. I am too open for her and it makes her think I'm a wild card, careless and unpredictable.
I was about to say these things out loud. I was about to make a beautiful rebuttal, but I stopped. I had already done everything in my power to defend myself in our previous little meetings. I always ended up feeling attacked and not listened to, like my word was not as valid as the person's who had reported me. So this time, I said nothing. Why would I defend a job I don't really like or want? A job that makes me miserable and feel belittled and scrutinized? I realized this job was not the right path for me. I have never felt as bad about myself as I have at this job. I was taught to feel guilty about things that were clearly out of my control, and I was blamed for things that were not my fault.
Am I a failure for not fighting tooth-and-nail to stay on this unit? I don't know that answer. I know I should not give things up just because they're hard. Is it fair to say I've had a lot on my plate since January of last year? I loved my sister-in-law, Miriam's blog post where she said,
So many critical moments in my life have been delayed. Like when John, one of my best friends from kindergarten through college, got killed in an auto accident. A year and a half later as I was walking down a wooded path, near the Genesee River in almost the exact location where I had seen fireflies for the first time, I started crying and it was finally for John. I talked to Matt Meyer about that after another friend passed away. Matt said that it was just that I was trying to survive and when the pressure let up a bit, I would finally deal with those emotions. The little parts of me screaming in fear and sorrow would out from quarantine to be tended to. He was right.
First of all, Miriam is so very eloquent. Second of all, I think that I have been in survival mode. Finally, it all came to a head, and I realized I could not hold it all together anymore, and I gave up the fight for my job. Can I put a time limit on how long it should take for me to deal with my grief? My own real quarantined emotions have finally erupted, and I could not handle the stress level of my hospital unit. For now, I can't function at the same level of acuity as I could when my life was stable.
It is really hard not to compare myself to others. I know there are incredibly strong single moms out there who work full time and build fulfilling careers and their kids are brilliant and inventing things. I don't know how to do that. Where do I even start to learn how to do that? I feel dysfunctional and broken. Where is my success? It's not in my family, that's for sure. Jude is addicted to watching movies and youtube because I have to get stuff done. He's started these screaming fits where he just cries and screams, "I want my daddy" over and over again. Any musical talent I once had has fallen to the wayside in my efforts to survive. In high school I had advanced English teachers tell me I could make it as a writer, and as you can tell from this post, I haven't had the focus to build that talent. I guess I am just moping, wondering how I am supposed to reach my potential when I'm so busy just surviving. Yet some people are able to do it, and excel at their talents in the face of adversity. I feel like I am neither successful at home nor at work.
One bright side is that since I don't have to go to work anymore, I can be more present and hopefully successful with Jude. We will just be poverty-stricken and not have health insurance.
Thanks for listening to me. If anyone has some uplifting advice or helpful things to read, I'd be interested in them.