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...