A Blogger, Allegedly

So, it’s been awhile, eh?

It was Chuck Norris who found me.

To everyone who emailed and texted and Tweeted, thanks. Everything is hunky and dory. I’m not dead, ok? Let’s get that out of the way. Nor am I afflicted with a Chronic Debilitating Illness, unless you count members of my family. (That would be the topic of long separate blog post + extended psychotherapy.)

So what happened? Much to my surprise and amazement (and frank gratitude if truth be known) I got a new job about this time last year. A job with a very steep learning curve and a fairly cool boss with an alphabet soup of letters after her name and about as far away from Emergency nursing as you can imagine without leaving the hospital.

It is true, friends.

I have walked away from the front line.

I have drunk the mystical Kool-Aid.

I am Management.

But not real Management. I don’t actually manage anyone. I make up PowerPoints (ugh), give talks, and do research. I write policies. I have projects. I educate patients and staff.  I occasionally make recommendations to Important People many steps above my pay grade, When I do speak, the senior administration actually pays attention and sometimes will do this or that based on the words flowing out of my mouth. This is a bit of a revelation for a front-line nurse used to managers halfheartedly and reluctantly paying attention. OK, not really paying attention at all.

Nurse K once suggested to me that my ambitions for real management were probably misplaced. Having observed front-line managers from the other side up close for the past year, I have to agree. Being a front-line manager truly and deeply sucks. It’s far worse than being a charge nurse. (I say this as an embittered former old charge nurse, remember.) Awesome amounts of responsibility and no actual power. And navigating the snakepit which is hospital politics. And the risk of being walked off the property at will. Great job, right?

So first lesson: I think I dodged a bullet there. I really don’t want to be a manager.

Second lesson:  This is the first job where I use all of the skills I have acquired as a nurse in a meaningful and effective way.

I’m not just talking about clinical skills, or therapeutic communication skills which are surprisingly important in my current position; I’m also talking about evidence-based practice, critical thinking, leadership, understanding hospital processes, effecting change, teaching and developing clear presentations and a whole pile of other stuff — a whack of skills I acquired along the way in my ED practice.  The unfortunate fact is, the opportunities to develop and use all of these skill in front-line practice is limited. The fact I had to leave front-line practice to fully explore them is a telling, don’t you think?

Third lesson: Make the jump. I’m looking at all of you who think there must be more. Or better. Do something different. You won’t regret it.

Curiously enough a couple of days ago, someone named Darren Royds left this comment on one of my blog posts:

You need to get out and find a decent job. Have a life , live and reduce stress. I have quit nursing and was the best decision I ever made. You will end up as so many do.

Well exactly.  I haven’t quit nursing, though. But as much as I loved working in the ED, it was clearly time to move on. It was the best job decision I have ever made.

Have you guys ever made a career change to/from/within nursing? Was the outcome good/bad/indifferent?



P.S. So what about the blog?

That, dear friends, will be a topic for another blog post.

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  1. #1 by Knot Telling on Sunday 15 September 2013 - 1035

    Woohoo – welcome back!

  2. #2 by Rene Neville on Sunday 15 September 2013 - 1112

    Good for you! It is nice to find a position where people actually LISTEN after all those years on the ‘front lines’. (Been there, Done that!)
    I recently took a part time job as adjunct faculty at the local technical college teaching medical terminology and Anatomy & Physiology as part of the Core Curriculum. My students are mostly grown-ups who are looking for a life change. I get to teach the stuff My Way-which includes plenty of ‘it really did happen this way’ stories from my days in the ICU.
    I am also using the tools that I picked up along the way and in my BSN program.
    Everybody here is Happy, Happy, Happy!

  3. #3 by Joni Watson on Sunday 15 September 2013 - 1121

    Yaaaaay!! Welcome back to the blogosphere. I am *so* glad you’re okay. I really did think something happened to you.

    Ahhhh, I know the perils and joys of frontline management all too well. Frontline clinicians don’t know the half of it unless they experience it. Still, it can be incredibly rewarding.

    I am glad you’ve found a role that suits you well and has helped you fall back in love with the career. I have found the same to be true in my life and career a few times. All the best to you, Friend! I do hope your blog continues in some way; I love your writing voice. I have missed reading your words. Hooray for reconnection!

  4. #4 by Sean on Sunday 15 September 2013 - 1240

    Nice to see (read) ya again.. glad to hear life outside of keyboards and monitors is treating you well. :)

  5. #5 by richard on Sunday 15 September 2013 - 1305

    Welcome back…missed you.

  6. #6 by Christin A. on Sunday 15 September 2013 - 1509

    Welcome back and congrats on taking the plunge.

  7. #7 by Appalbarry on Sunday 15 September 2013 - 1804

    Over the years I’ve counselled an awful lot of people to quit jobs that were doing them more harm than good. Quite often these were in the non-profit sector, where a masochistic streak is essential, as is a strong belief that you are Making a Difference.

    And, like nursing, people tend to have a strong feeling that leaving would be like letting down the Team, the Clients, the Community.

    I’ve yet to have ANY of those people come back to me and say that leaving was a mistake.

  8. #8 by torontoemerg on Sunday 15 September 2013 - 1910

    “And, like nursing, people tend to have a strong feeling that leaving would be like letting down the Team, the Clients, the Community.”

    I think in the months leading up to me getting this new position, I was beginning to believe the Team was letting me down. Believe me, I couldn’t get out the door fast enough, and I felt absolutely no guilt. When people ask me if I miss the ED, I just laugh.

    And no, it was not a mistake. :)

  9. #9 by Lisa on Sunday 15 September 2013 - 2234

    Very exciting news. I hope to make such a change soon. Could you share your educational prep for such a job or is it based on your clinical experience? Did you stay with the same facility? Thanks for sharing and welcome back :)

  10. #10 by Storytellerdoc on Monday 16 September 2013 - 0812

    Welcome back…I hope you continue to enlighten us from your new, ehhh, perspective! I’m sure not being in the trenches will sometimes bother you but mostly will make you appreciate your new position even more. Glad to see your posting.

  11. #11 by jenjilks on Tuesday 17 September 2013 - 1611

    Terribly happy to see your evolution!

  12. #12 by Zoe on Wednesday 18 September 2013 - 2119

    Hey, glad to see you’re back. I was a front line ER nurse for almost 12 years, then took the CNE job for the ER. Like you, a steep learning curve. In the end, this was a good thing for my life, you just can’t operate at that stress level forever. You can’t do night shifts forever. Something has to give. And sometimes you get lucky and find something that fits you. Best of luck in your new job!

  13. #13 by Terri Schmitt on Sunday 22 September 2013 - 1024

    I was so thrilled to read this post last week and congratulations on your new position! No one ever ‘leaves’ nursing… it is like Hotel California, but in a good way. Nursing leaders needed. Thank you for coming back to your art form though. Selfishly, it is very good for my brain.

  14. #14 by neeroc on Tuesday 24 September 2013 - 1525

    Glad to see you back, can’t wait to see what direction your posts take.

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