Today is a good day! It is the start of something new for my family. After working full time as a registered nurse for exactly 7 months, today my schedule goes down to part time. Why is this such a good thing, you might ask, especially after all the time and effort that went into becoming a nurse in the first place? It is a good thing because it is an active effort in me regaining balance in my life. I saw this when I was in nursing school and now know this to be true; the nursing profession requires so much that it frequently leaves the nurses with nothing left to give. It is so rewarding when I care for a patient and make a difference. But it is such hard work, physically and emotionally, and too much is expected of nurses without enough time or resources. It leaves nurses spent, injured and burned out.
Several months into my nursing career I found myself exhausted and discouraged. I was proud of the care I was providing for my patients but felt like I wasn't providing the same good care to my own family. I also felt overwhelmed and discouraged by the heavy work load that left me little time to actually interact with my patients. I could feel myself burning out. I knew if this continued then my time as a nurse was limited. I knew of the problems that existed in nursing when I first started my education toward becoming a nurse, but part of me thought that maybe it would be better by the time I got there or maybe it would be differ somehow. Unfortunately, it's not. It's just as bad, possibly worse than it was 10 years ago.
I don't want to be the nurse that burns out, or the nurse that provides poor care, or the nurse that sacrifices her health for her job. I want to find a way to make a difference and positively impact people. I always knew I wanted to work more in preventive care than trying to fix people after their health is poor. Don't get me wrong, it is very rewarding to help someone regain their health. But I really want to help people stay healthy in the first place. This is something that I've always wanted to do. I'm just not sure where there places me in the nursing profession. It may take me a while to figure this out. But for now I have taken a step toward preventing burnout by reducing my hours. And even more importantly, I have made the choice to have balance in my life by choosing to go part time, which is good for me and my family. And that is why today is a good day!