Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Come on baby light my fire...

Recently after about 9 years of nursing, my spirit began to wear thin. My job satisfaction was low, my self-esteem even lower and soon I started to second guess my career choice. Was nursing really for me? Did I really want to keep doing this? Am I really satisfied with the lack of advancement in my company? Quite honestly, I was ready to walk away from nursing although I knew helping people is the only thing I knew how to do. It's happened before, me getting bored and feeling that my skills were slipping away each passing year. This time, I started to believe I wasn't good enough anymore.


A few years ago I changed positions in my company and went to a specialty clinic(I take care of feet and open wounds). Looking back I thought this was going to be an advancement, a chance to learn more and do more within the scope of my practice as a nurse. Well I did to a point, but slowly I felt that my other hard learned skills were slipping away. Do I still know CPR? Do I still know how to recognize a stroke? Can I still start an IV?(of course I do, but it's in my nature to second guess myself). Boredom set it in. It's like living in the nursing version of Groundhogs day (I think I'm way cuter than Bill Murray anyways)and slowly I just settled. Settled in the fact that I was stuck and going nowhere. Settled that I wasn't going to use my knowledge, my heart, my ability to help others.


Time after time I would get reassured about what a kick ass nurse I was. Multiple nursing awards hang on my badge, enough to receive lots of comments, attention and compliments almost on a daily basis. Why wasn't it it enough? Paging through the local college courses each semester would usually flutter up a bit of excitement but it was quickly flushed out with fear of succeeding. How could I possibly raise my son, manage my marriage, work full time and still manage to make it to football games? So, the idea of moving up and on fades quickly.


About a week ago, I was ready to forget all the lives I have managed to touch or save, not to mention all the limbs that were spared amputation(from my work as a wound care nurse). I love to take care of people. By nature I am a giver, a doer, a caretaker. It's what I do and I was ready to walk away from it. Until I had an experience to lift me up, shake me and spark the light that was fading within me. It's name, Hurricane Gustav.


Through work I was able to travel to Louisiana and give up my life's sweet perks. Hello? No internet at the tip of my fingers, no showers, NO STARBUCKS and did I say no internet??? Yes I gave up my daily venti americano and internet to help those in need during Hurricane Gustav. Why does this make me a better nurse? Skills, I still got my skills, my heart, my ability to care and give. It's still there.


Only working one week at a medical shelter during Hurricane Gustav sparked something that I thought was long gone. My love for Nursing. Just one day into my trip and everything I had loved about Nursing was flooding back into my heart. No longer was I second guessing my ability as a nurse. I felt it. I knew it and I didn't want to leave, I wanted those moments to last forever.


Not only did the evacuees of Louisiana give me my nursing strength back, it was my co-workers, my team who pushed me to believe in me. Through out the long hours of our deployment, my team gave me the self confidence booster this sinking nurse needed. When I stepped off that plane in Chicago, I felt (tired, I worked about 90 hours in one week)renewed and knowing that I was good enough. Not just in my career as a nurse, but as a mother, wife and friend. Who would have thought that it would take a hurricane for me to believe it and light my fire all over again...



16 comments:

Erin said...

I am so happy for you. Isn't it strange sometimes what it takes to "light our fire"?

*Lissa* said...

Good for you! That must be such an awesome feeling!

Army Wife said...

That's so great! We all lose our passion, our fire, every once in awhile and I almost think God presents a situation that renews our spirits. Not that he made Gustav happen, but that he gave you the opportunity to help with the aftermath. I love that you love helping people. You are such an inspiration to those of us who sit on our asses and just think that we should do something....you actually did it. Way to go CE!

Ann said...

Ok, I'm such a dork! I was sitting here reading your post about you nursing and if it was the right decision all, and I'm thinking that you are talking about nursing a baby, lol! and I'm thinking ok so you've been nursing for 9 years you deserve a break....then I keep reading and realize you are talking about the career of nursing, duh...Ok so what is wrong with me???? Who knows...anyway I came over from Beth's site, although you are my favs I rarely make it over. You are funny, though!!! I need to come over more often.

Lynette said...

I am so happy to hear you were able to get the boost you needed. After reading your post I have the song Hurricane by Mindy Smith stuck in my head. Seems fitting. Good to have you back!

imadramamama said...

That is so great. I'm happy that you found your mojo again!

Stacie said...

I am glad that you enjoyed your experience and that the fire is lit!

My Wonderful Men said...

This is so awesome.
Funny how making a sacrifice from your own loved ones made you find your passion for caring for others again.
Life works in mysterious ways, I'm so glad you found your passion again.
I wish I could hear the man sing but I'm at work no sound. I bet it was beautiful.
Amy

Mimi's Toes said...

This was a tear jerker! His voice was awesome. I know those people appreciated you being there for them. Good for you to get to experience this. We missed you!

Sarah said...

Healthcare is such a thankless job. It's easy to get burnt out.
I'm glad you got some of your sass back!

Dawn said...

Let me tell you - - -I'll take a nurse over a doctor any day. You all were the survival when my mother was ill. A good nurse made our day and that of my mother. I will never forget all of them that touched our lives. I am so glad to hear that you got your spark back, because your compassion comes through in your blogs and I am sure any patient of yours is a blessed by your pressence. (Irronically it was open wound specialist that was treating my mother's wound on her foot that pushed us to see an oncologist and she was 100% correct. None of her other doctors noticed a thing.)

Tammy said...

As a hospital volunteer I so admire you nurses. You guys are the real heroes in those walls. Thank you for leaving your comforts to help others. That is just how wonderful you are.

To Think is to Create said...

You peeled back one enormous CE layer, and now you can't stop there. You ARE good enough, no matter what anyone says.

We'll just tell you, "Gustav says: you're enough" and then smack you if you ever forget these lessons. ;) That's a promise AND a threat.

Anonymous said...

Reading this made me SO happy. I've heard you make comments in the passing about your unhappiness with your career choice. You have to be in alignment with your passion, and I think you have found it. It also sounds like you have a gift in working in high stress emergency situations. I hope that you continue to ignite your passion, and I hope it brings you more and more joy.

Carrington
www.capribythelake.com

Lisa said...

That is awesome. I've gone through that a couple times in my years of teaching, and all it takes is one parent or student to say something to make me rember why I do what I do. I think God is so cool to grace us all to do just what He's made us to do. I could so not be a nurse and handle wounds of any sort, let alone feet too! Just give me 15 booger picking little kids and I can handle it.

Cindy Fey said...

Wow, what an inspiration. Thank you so much for your good and hard work in LA and thank you for sharing your experience. Welcome to Chicago Moms Blog! I'm looking forward to reading you here and there.