Come one, come all. Settle in for your weekly bit of traveling nursing fluff to carry you into the next week. Frankly, and I’m surprised no one else realizes this, everything I post here are my general musings and things I think on or need to remember. I’m always trying to learn all I can to make navigating this travel life, life in general really, better. As you can tell, I manage it better some days and others I’m falling woefully short on the being a decent person bit.
In that same vein (and before I jump into my post), I try not to remark on the world at large because I’m all about sunshine and light here. Okay, I’m really about vacations and good food, same difference. It’s worth noting that being good to each other is an edict not taken very seriously. I find people are more interested in proving a point or being right as opposed to helping each other and building each other up. How far does being right get you in the end? Oh, you’ve succeeded in getting your point across, but have you lost the overall goal of drawing someone to your way of thinking? The writerly advice of showing and not telling (or beating someone to death with it) may offer a better approach.
But on to what you came here for…
My post itself is on the idea of being a team player, but maybe not quite in the way you’re imagining.
Recently, I was asked if I was free to come in to work. I said no at the time because I wasn’t. As many of you may realize, days off are a commodity to be hoarded with everything you have. Nurses are notorious for working their hours a week and then coming in because the floor has exploded and every pregnant woman in the area has decided to have their baby (or whatever your specialty equivalent is).
I was mentioning it to me mother, the saying no portion, and this is what she said.
“I guess you’re not a team player today.”
And then her head spun around on her shoulders and she exploded in a rage
Here’s why I don’t think the fair to use this phrase in conjunction with any nurse ever.
Nurses are carers and givers by nature. You can’t do this for any length of time unless your desire is to help people. Money won’t keep you because we don’t make enough for what we do.
We come in time and time again, at the expense of our wellbeing. If you work a night shift, you know that first day off isn’t really a day off. You’re a zombie. For instance yesterday, I had 2-3 hours of sleep post-work and woke up with zero desire to do anything. I don’t know how you people with kids manage. I literally laid in bed for hours after I opened my eyes debating what to have for dinner because cooking wasn’t an option. It’s hard to then think about coming in on your first full day off when you know it’s the only day you’re fully functioning before you have to go back to work again.
So we always come in when we’re asked, but it’s typically short on the floor. The nursing shortage is a known fact, and yet the expectation is that you’ve always worked short so if you’re a good unit you’ll pull together and find a way to make it work. It means working odd shifts, coming in on your day off for overtime, working unheard of hours of overtime to cover, and begging your coworkers to come in.
Why? Because you’re a team player. Be a team player
When I’m at work, I give 100% of myself to my job. I’m here to help my coworkers, the providers, and care for my patients. Every travel assignment gets my all because I’m a nurse no matter where I am, and good care matters to me. But this be a team player bit has real consequences. People get burnt out, retire, or leave the bedside because they’re tired of always giving everything to the hospital without anything much to show for it. You’re not getting time off or away to revive yourself so you start to hate it.
Days off, distance, and balance matter. Don’t let anyone use the ‘be a team player’ gambit to shame you into giving up your days off. Its wrong and we need to stop it before we lose more good people. I will never be upset if you tell me you can’t come in extra. It’s your day off so enjoy it.
Self-preservation. Mental maintenance. Self-care. Call it what you’d like here, but honor it just the same.
So… there’s my rant for the week.
In other news, it’s NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. I’m trying to write a bit as I haven’t participated in a long while. I may even post a story here next week to give you something other than travel nursing anecdotes. Also on the docket is another comic con, this time in Rhode Island. I’m only going one day, but because I’m me, I’ve added a Rhode Island food tour in the mix. Exciting times here, folks.
Stay safe, stay warm, stay dry, and stay kind.
Travel on, road warrior.