Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Work Hangover Wednesday: Soul Searching


These are my hands after two days of work. I'm only 49 but they look like they belong to a 90 year old. They stick to my clothes, burn, itch, flake, and hurt all the time, even with constant lotion application. Handwashing and alcohol gel, hundreds of times a day does that. The faster you work, and the more patients you see, the more you destroy your hands.

I really don't mind the fact that my work does this to my hands. It's what it does to the rest of me, my soul, my spirit, and my physical being.

If you've been reading my posts lately, you know that I've been more than a little distracted by things going on in my life outside of running. Namely, work. Or lack thereof. We're being downstaffed to death. My paychecks have shriveled up to look somewhat like my hands. In the name of "healthcare reform is coming".

But has healthcare reform addressed the fact that high level administrators, insurance companies, pharmaceutical industry execs, and certain capital equipment manufacturers, are still getting outrageous salaries, benefits, and yachts as those of us who would like to do the work of taking care of sick people get downstaffed and told we're not needed?

Today I ran into a runner I know from about 15 years ago, we used to run together. She was asking me what's going on with with the hospital where I work. It's hard to answer those questions, I don't know. The community is confused, they don't understand what's going on either.

I've been extremely anxious and some of it is due to hormones and lack of sleep, but I also think the anxiety is stemming from the unsettled times I am experiencing at work, along with all the other nurses. No one knows what the future holds, not even the near future, and I think there's a collective grief response going on, from the loss of what were just a year ago, unparalleled working conditions for nurses. It's been a dramatic and traumatic transition for almost everyone.

It's a lack of information, keeping us in suspense, and not knowing what's coming at you next. You feel like you have a blindfold on every day at work.

I'm disappointed, and I hoped nursing would be something a little more satisfying than it is, but it's not, and it would take an act of moving planets out of orbit to change things. I'd rather put my energy into something that doesn't involve butting my head against dinosaurs.

I love what I do on a daily basis with patients, but there's too much going on in healthcare right now to rely on nursing for a stable and steady stream of income. If you're going to stay in nursing, you need to accept that it's like surfing with sharks in the water.

I could go on about this for days, but this is a running blog and all I can say is that I'm looking for something else to do that will allow me to continue working part-time as a nurse as long as it is tolerable but no longer have to worry because my hours got cut so drastically. I'm leaning toward something in online education because I do have that background, some teaching experience, and I have a terminal degree.

I always love that phrase "terminal degree". It sounds like a disease. Maybe it is.

So...the search begins. We'll see what happens. Just the thought of searching for something else has felt so freeing. I haven't experienced the anxiety in over a week now. I take that back... payday is coming, so maybe I shouldn't speak so soon.

Running-wise, I am doing high mileage again, just 15 miles easy today. I'm going to squeeze the speedwork in this week, in between snow and rain that's predicted. At least we're not breathing smoke anymore. A good long tempo run with Wheaties Boy this weekend should top things off.

Happier blogposts to come...

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