Sunday, November 1, 2015


No. I'm not pregnant.

Can't a female of child-bearing age make a non-pregnancy announcement?? Come on...

On Monday, November 9th, I'm starting a new job.


My first year after graduating from nursing school, I worked rotating shifts in the Special Care Nursery at Rex Hospital (now NICU woot woot).  Six weeks of day shift followed by six weeks of night shift. WOW WAS THAT FUN.  Said nobody ever.  After that year was up, I was given a choice of a permanent day shift position or a permanent night shift one.  I chose days.  From July of 2009 until November of 2013, I worked day shift.

And then we moved to Columbia, SC.

I had a feeling it wouldn't be too hard to find a new job as a nurse in a new city, but I didn't know if I could find one in my (1) specialty of Neonatal Intensive Care, working (2) part time (3) day shift.  Well, two out of three ain't bad.  I was hired by a magnificent manager for a part time, NICU, night shift position.

When I say I was hired by a magnificent manager, that is not lip-service.  I have never worked for a better supervisor in all my working life thus far.  She was a nurse in this unit before becoming the manager of it and that was a huge selling point for me.  She understands, inside and out, what it's like to be a bedside care nurse in this particular unit.  She is awesome.

Another reason I was excited about taking my current job was my coworkers.  This unit does not have a lot of turnover.  Nurses come here to work and they stay.  For a very long time.  That is a great sign of a positive work environment. The down side of the low turnover is there is a looooong wait to switch to day shift.

I was mildly concerned about working night shift again, but I figured Scott and I could figure it out.  My parents (our amazing childcare providers when I work) were on board with the decision for me to take the night shift job.  I accepted the position and started in January of 2014.

As is the case for a lot of new nurses on a particular unit, I oriented for several weeks on day shift before switching to my regular night shift time frame.  My preceptor was amazing.  She is a kind, knowledgeable, PATIENT woman, thank the Lord.  I was so grateful for her patience with me.  Even though I came to this new job with 5.5 years of experience caring for preemies, I had only dealt, for the most part, with 30 weekers and above.  It's a different world caring for micro-preemies.  At Rex, I could have a vent-baby for a few days, because that's usually all it took before they came off the vent.  At my current hospital, babies can be vented for weeks.  That's just the nature of micro-preemie lungs sometimes.  Also, I had a harder time than I ever would have expected learning a new hospital's way of doing things.  It was easier as a new grad learning how to take care of preemies than it was as a nurse with some experience trying to un-learn what I thought I knew and re-learn a new way.  That's where my preceptor's patience reeeeeally shined.  God bless her. Truly.

Since April or May of 2014, I've been on night shift.  Night shift is both gloriously awesome and horrifically bad all at the same time.  Lemme esplain.  There is too much.  Lemme sum up:

While at work, night shift is so.much.better than day shift.  Come on, hospital workers, admit it.  You know it's true.  The slightly more relaxed atmosphere, the people who work nights being a slightly quirky usually hilarious group, the pace, etc.  It is a magical place in a hospital at night, for the workers at least.  As a patient it is altogether CREEPY.

While away from work, night shift blows.  I find myself hanging out in one of two emotional/physical places:  I'm not sleeping and I should be or I am sleeping and I shouldn't be. The constant battle for getting sleep (after a shift or at night when not working) wreaks havoc on me.  I truly believe that people that manage to do long-term night shift work require less sleep than the average human and certainly less than I do.  Scott would probably tell you that even cats require less sleep than I do.  I need my sleep.  Night shift is not very forgiving in the sleep department.

In early September Scott and I had yet another conversation about me and my job and the struggle I was having with it.  We decided I would start looking for another job.  I applied for four jobs a few days later.  We covered this whole process in prayer.  I knew the Lord knew better than I did what exactly I was looking for and what I needed.  Within a week of my first application, I had an interview.


That was much quicker than I expected!  Over the next few weeks, I interviewed for three of the four jobs for which I applied.  One job stood out to me from the other three as the most desirable.  In the end, that is the job that was offered to me and is the one I accepted.

It is not bedside care.  It's an administrative role.  It's called Nurse Navigator, but may function more like a discharge coordinator.  It's a new position, so I'll have some say in what the role looks like.  It's day shift.  It's part time.  Eventually there will be weekends, but initially, none.  It's no holidays.  I'll start out working three 8 hours shifts.  It's in the same hospital system just a different location about two miles away, so all my benefits should transfer over.

I am ecstatic.

The Lord heard my prayer and he provided in a huge way. Within two months of making a decision to look for other jobs, I am starting a new one.  That is crazy to me.  That kind of fast timeline, from the interview process to my current manager working with me on giving notice, that can only be the Lord in his grace and mercy providing for me.  I am so very grateful.

There are always positives and negatives to change.

  • I've never done a non-bedside-care-kind-of-nursing-job.  I'm supposed to wear business casual clothes. Wha?!?  I don't even own that kind of stuff.  
  • Our childcare burden will increase for my parents by at least one day/week. 
  • Telling current coworkers I'm leaving is terrible.  I learned from my military childhood that leaving is always easier than being left.  Yes, I'm on the easier end of this equation.  But I'm an empathetic person and I understand the "what's wrong with us?? why are you leaving??" sentiment. My coworkers are incredible.  I would recommend this unit to anybody looking to work in a NICU.  The people and the manager (did I mention the awesome manager??) are stellar.  They just are.  At the risk of sounding like a horrible break up, "It's not you [guys].  It's me." Nights are killing me.
So there ya have it.

I have three more night shifts left this week before I transition to the new job.

Here we go!!


Brandi said...

Hey, wow! It's happened already! Congratulations, my dear! You will adjust and do a great job, I'm sure of it!

Elizabeth Storch said...

Congratulations!!! I have had nurses do the same thing because of the night shift struggles. Night shift is awesome while at work....but then you turn into this zombie-like person who doesn't know what day it is. I can totally relate! Are you coming to our campus? Welcome!!!!