I started being a pre-nurse so to speak at 14. My brother went into a wheelchair from muscular dystrophy. I got my AAS in 1980 and worked in hospitals and then nursing homes from 1987 to 1999 part time to raise our three daughters. From 2000 to 2006, I worked in a vent unit. In between, I tried being a visiting nurse and found I do not like working alone. Im now in a fast-paced rehab unit at a hospital (but still not as fast and short staffed as the regular floors, though now its been hard as we have no DON or secretary).
Ive been through a lot of life. I lost my mom and sis to breast cancer and a brother to AIDS all within a few years. In 2000, I was diagnosed with MS.
Im tired of taking care of people both physically and mentally. After a long day, my body just aches, and my feet are numb. My body looks like a pincushion after seven years of shots every other night, and Im only 48! I feel like I really dont have much left to give. If I could earn as much (or similar) money doing something else, Id leave nursing tomorrow. My MS is stable, and I do see a therapist. But short-term memory loss and being unable to think straight when tired upsets me and deflates my confidence. (This is also why going back to school isnt a good idea.)
I do not feel Im dangerous to my patients. I disclosed my MS diagnosis to a few peers, and they feel Im pulling my load very well. I only work three days a week. I still need to earn good money (I make 32$ /hour now). I would even consider working more hours at a less strenuous job. My childrens college tuition is looming!
Dear Donna replies:
You certainly have had, and still have, a lot on your shoulders. Im not surprised that youre tired and feeling like you dont have much to give. Youve been expending a huge amount of caregiving energy, not to mention grief, for years. Youre only human.
Fortunately you have plenty of options in nursing. Bedside nursing is not the only place to make good money, but you also have to consider your quality of life and health. Its scary to make changes, but change can lead to growth and other rewards. Obviously youre ready for a change (and clearly need a change for many different reasons) or you wouldnt have written to me.
To start exploring your options, I recommend that you get out to Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek Career Fairs in your area. These are great venues to meet nontraditional employers and speak to nursing agency representatives, many of whom place nurses in nontraditional positions. See what’s coming up in your area at http://events.nursingspectrum.com/Expo. Read the article How to Get the Most Out of Attending a Career Fair at http://www.dcardillo.com/articles/fair.html.
You should consider attending my upcoming Career Alternatives for Nurses® seminar in Atlantic City, N.J., on March 10. Find out more at http://events.nursingspectrum.com/event.cfm?EID=569&type=Seminar. Its the perfect jumping off point for you. Youll learn about transferable skills, sources of job openings and opportunities beyond the classified ads, Top-notch self-marketing skills and so much more. If you cant get to the event, the seminar is available in a home study version at http://www.nurse.com/ce/CD6 and http://www.nurse.com/ce/DVD1.
See the article First Things First at http://www.dcardillo.com/articles/firstthingsfirst.html. Youve got to take care of yourself or everything will fall apart. And if you havent already, be sure to visit www.exceptionalnurse.com, where you can connect with other nurses with disabilities.
My best wishes,
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrums Dear Donna and author of Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional. To ask Donna your question, go to www.nurse.com/asktheexperts/deardonna. Find a Dear Donna seminar near you: Call (800) 866-0919 or visit http://events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.