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I went to a professional meeting last week and we covered the topic of “Why are nurses leaving the bedside?”  I didn’t learn many new things (hours suck, understaffed, work-to-pay ratio is laughable, people prefer to move onto an NP position, etc.).  I saw some of my old nursing school buddies, everyone exchanged hugs and ran through quick updates of their nursing lives.  I felt ashamed that I had to respond, “I’m a school nurse” while everyone else listed off their cooler, more ambitious positions: nurse practitioner school, ICU in a level 1 trauma center, charge nurse in the ER.

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I realized a few days later that I don’t feel like a real nurse anymore.  Community nurses get no respect, they’re not seen as “real nurses” by other nurses and their positions are forgotten.  Lots of people don’t know what a bedside nurse does but NO ONE, including school nurses themselves, knows what a school nurse does.  Almost every day I think to myself, “Why am I even here?  What a wasted income for a school district.  A school nurse?  It’s a joke.”  My mom said one day, “It sounds like school nursing is a nursing vacation.”  There’s no better way to say it.

I started to doubt if I made the right decision to leave the hospital.  I even went so far as to start missing the hospital itself.  I miss being the first to know about new procedures/protocols and having the chance to implement skills on a regular basis.  Oh, what I wouldn’t give to start an IV again — I love sticking people.  Instead, I’m controlling nose bleeds, applying band aids, taking temperatures and trying to communicate with parents who don’t give a sh*t.

It doesn’t take me long to reflect on how much I don’t want to go back to the hospital but — I still miss being respected.  Miss having a reason to be depressed, anti-social and non-caring.  Now, my only reason for being like that is that I was born that way.

 

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