Sunday, July 14, 2013

New Experiences

I have offically started my new experience in travel nursing. And, boy is it an experience. Walking into this, I knew it wasn't going to be easy -- let me define what a travel/agency nurse is (in my own words). (Apologies in advance, as this is a heavy career-related post that may bore many...)

Agency Nurse
  • Contracted into a hospital that is short staffed to fill in the gaps.
  • They are not an employee of the hospital, but an outside agency.
  • Therefore, they are an outsider.
  • There are a few nurses who welcome you, and say, "Let me show you where things are..." T
  • he rest of the staff says "You're not permanently here, and I'll never see you again, you're on your own."
  • The Agency nurse get's 8 hours of orientation, and is then expected to be completely on his/her own. My badge gets me no where in the hospital, I've had to learn a completely new charting system, and figure out the policies/procedures/doctors/protocols in 8 hours.
Let me just say, the first 3 days left my head spinning. This ER is about twice the size of where I came from. The people that come in are much sicker -- they have a long list of comorbidities, which are almost never managed because they don't care or cannot afford it. The other 20% of the population I see are psych or victims of violence/abuse and are escorted in by police. It's rather eye opening.

I come from a hospital that is located in an area of high socioeconomic class. I hate to say that, but it's the truth. It's placed 2 miles from a high-end retirement community. It's 45 minutes from downtown, so gang members/shot victims/homeless people don't tend to make it that far. My average patient is 75 years old, usually retired from a well-paying job, and is highly educated (especially on any health condition they may have). They have extremely high expectations for the care they receive -- and demand you to be at their service.

There is nothing wrong with that. But it's a truth.

This hospital is different.......

But I must say, I like the change.

It is rewarding to take care of people who are grateful for the blanket you give them. Who say, "Thank you ma'am, do what you need to do." Many of the people I see don't have a pillow to lay their head on at night. A lot of my patients I saw this week do not have the luxury to bathe regularly. It is incredibly humbling -- and reminds me why I became a nurse in the first place!

Now I will say I dearly miss my coworkers at the hospital in AZ -- as we truly are like a family. That tends to happen in a small hospital. Everyone knows everyone, and at times that got annoying. It's like living in a small town -- anonymity is kind of nice some times. But it was nice to know we all had each other's backs.

But I love this change of pace. There are moments where I feel like I'm treading water, but I know by the end of this week I will have adjusted! I'm feeling incredibly blessed that I have a career that allows me to live in a different state for 3 months, and then go back to my old place.

It's nice to recharge your mindset -- and be reminded why you do what you do every once in a while. I am a lover of change, so I am feeling very energized and balanced right now!


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I am glad that you are really enjoying this, despite having faced challenges this week. I think it is such a blessing that you have a job that allows you to do this so you can be with Ryan, but still be working. That is pretty priceless! But I know it doesn't come without its challenges and headaches, but I am sure you'll grow so much in the next 3 months. (which I know that whole growth argument gets annoying/old as i get that one all the time) I guess working in this hospital is probably akin to how I feel when I travel to poorer parts of the world - it's a reminder that we take SO much for granted and that others have it SO much worse!!!

Marlys said...

I am glad you are adjusting so well, and feel like you are serving the ill, which is why you became a nurse! It's hard but so rewarding. I hope you get treated nice by your co-workers, though, as that would not be fun! It's good to feel kinship with your team, and without you, they would be working extra hard and long so should appreciate it! Just keep smiling!

Amber said...

I think it's always good for us to be exposed to people going through a much harder time in life. After spending 1.5 years working in non-profit I have become a much more compassionate person. You just never know what has led a person to be where they are and sometimes you learn they were much closer to having a similar life to yourself than you ever could have imagined. I'm glad to hear you're embracing new challenges!