Kids these days

Hello, from the other side! The other side being a couple of weeks off where I’ve gotten solid sleep. My Fitbit tracker is like, “wow! You’ve been sleeping so good and your resting heart rate is lower than normal!!” I know, Fitbit, I know. It’s surprising what 7-8 hours of sleep will do for your outlook on life. Unfortunately, it hasn’t stopped me from getting the flu.  I’m staying in for the next few days and making friends with Tamiflu and Airborne.

My trip to England is in 6 days so I gotta perk up. I can’t spend my vacation sick!

In other news I know where I’m going to be from April until October. After spending the last few weeks scrambling for a class that I needed, I got two contracts lined up. One to some place new, and the other to some place old and familiar. I’ll let you know next time, promise. I wanted to discuss something else first.

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So I saw this. I had thoughts. I won’t speak directly to this piece, but to something else semi-related.

One of things things you may have noticed about your parents or your grandparents is that the older they’ve gotten, the more conservative they’ve become. Maybe not conservative in every way, but in some things they’ve more reserved.  Maybe it’s in their thinking, or with their money, or in the things they’d been okay with in the past.

It’s a conversation I’ve had with my mother. She’ll start with, “kids these days…” I stop her and say, but weren’t you doing this, this, and this when you were that age? She tries to come back with how different the kids are now. I can agree on one hand, but when you think about the issues facing kids these days can you really blame them for how they adapted?

Bottom line, the issues may be different, but “kids these days” react the same as kids in the past. Honestly, we’re still protesting rights, equality, fairness, and being humane. That’s same old, same old.

You protested in the past and you’re critizing the kids protesting now? When did you become your parents? Or the current politicians no one likes? When did the generation behind you standing for issues they don’t like suddenly become distasteful or counter the things you stood up for in the past?

Kids these days. I always think statements like that are ridiculous. You treat the generation behind you as though they aren’t competent, as though they can accomplish little. Didn’t you get things done? Why can’t they? What you fail to realize is the things you do (policies, technology, attitudes) shape them. They are the product of you. You have to bear ownership for “kids these days”. You broke it so you’ve now bought it. If you hate the things they’ve done or are doing, ask how you’re responsible for it.

I could launch into a conversation about legacy. What are you leaving your children? We don’t live in a vacuum. The stream you dirty may not look so gross now, but it will for your grandkids (or children depending on how fast it’s polluted). So what are you leaving behind?

All I’m asking is that you listen to yourself talk and then think about who you were in the past. Everything isn’t all wrong just because it’s didfernt from how you did things.

I guess I soapbox-ed a little. Forgive me, but some things are worth discussing. We all need to do better, myself included.

So, next up for me is a month in England. I’ll not promise to post regularly, but I’ll make an effort to update when I can. Be kind where you can, folks, the world needs a little kindness right now.

Travel on, road warrior.

 

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New Year, Old You

I haven’t posted in a month. That means I’ve gone on my cruise, worked, celebrated Christmas, worked, hustled through New Years, and (you guessed it) worked.

Last year I had a couple resolutions. I wanted to be in better shape so I made a go at working out with a trainer in 2016.  I simply continued that into 2017, making it more of a solidification of what I was already doing. Another was a photo a day to remember the good things in life. I also resolved to watch my tongue because I admit to letting a bad word or two fly. I managed the working out because it was less a resolution and more a priority I made for myself. The photo a day lasted 2 months, maybe. I bombed the minding my tongue thing. Like, things got worse and not better.

I’ve come to the conclusion, smartly, that resolutions. Don’t. Work.

Change is something that a new year can’t facilitate. Change takes an internal motivation with external support. Turmoil facilities change. I know the thing that motivated me to start traveling was the fear that I’d never ever leave my hometown. That small town USA would be all I’d know. The idea of that frightened me, and when it started to depress me, I had to move.

We’re a few weeks into 2018 and frankly things haven’t changed much from 2017. The same drama and strife has followed us into this year. We understand each other less and are confused about how to close the divide that’s cleaved us in two. The question there is whether we truly want to come together? Ask yourself that as outrage and anger and confusion continue to reign. Is this year going to be different in a good way or a bad way?

My desires run more towards hopes. I hope I’m kind to myself and others. I hope I’m honest where it’s necessry. I hope I’ll mind my outrage and keep it for things that are important. I hope I’m wise where it’s required. I hope I keep my mouth shut when I need to. I hope I offer support to those who need it. I hope I remind someone to stand on their two feet because they’re capable. I hope I work and go somewhere new. I hope I continue to give my delivering moms the best birth experience I can. I hope I can do a better job of connecting with my friends

Advocate, care for, build up, encourage, and try to honor my values. If it’s the right thing, do it. Mobs become mobs for a reason. If being right means going against the tide, do it, but make sure you understand what right truly is. Truth will always be truth no matter who’s in charge, so remain focused on that.

Don’t lose yourself trying to be something you aren’t, friend. I’ll make sure I’m aiming for the right kind of change in my life and you do the same. As always, I’m pulling for you.

So what’s up next for me?

Two more weeks and then I’m off for 2 months! I’m home for a bit and then off to England again. I’m very excited to explore many places in the UK and then come back here fresh. I hope I can blog a bit more while I’m off too

Who knows where I end up for the spring/summer? We’ll see I guess.

Here’s to holding the line.

Travel on, road warrior

Story Break

A little storytelling for you as a break from my usual work/travel/life lamenting. If stories aren’t your thing, come back next week and I’ll get at you with that usual stuff.

Halfway through NaNoWriMo so I thought I’d hit you with a small sample of my writing. This is a very short story, about 300 words. Titled Beauty Queen. Have Maroon 5’s She Will Be Loved playing in the background to help move you along.

“I believe we’ll have to tuck things in a bit here.”

Patricia’s mother smoothed a hand down her bare side, pinching the skin by her hip. She looked at the hand in question, the skin dotted with aged spots that didn’t match the seemingly ageless face behind her in the mirror.

Her mother would have her freeze her face in perpetual youth as she’d done hers, as she continued to do. The plastic surgeon was on speed dial, second only to the country club she drank at every day. Her mother took her drinking seriously.

“I’d rather not have anything done, mother.”

The timidness in her voice made her cringe almost as much as her mother cupping her breasts through her brand new vermillion bralet. Her breasts were already overflowing the cups.

The ugly way her mother’s face twisted in the mirror made her stomach twirl. The pinch of nails on the sides of her breasts was unbearable, but she stayed still as was expected.

“Patricia Ann, beauty queens do what’s necessary to stay on top.”

She didn’t want to be on top. Patricia wanted to be sixteen and using her height for playing basketball instead of showing off her legs to gross male judges. She wanted to talk to boys her age instead of being touched by guys her father’s age.She wanted to be anything except a beauty queen.

She wanted to be Patty.

Her mother turned away and then turned back with one of the crowns she’d recently won. The gaudy crown settled on her head and she felt its weight in her soul.

“You’re nothing without your beauty.”

It was obnoxiously big and riddled with diamonds. An ugly reminder, like the trophies and gowns and shoes overflowing her room, that beauty was all there was to Patricia.

Home Eats

Back from the conference and then off to jolly ol England!

I’ll keep this short because my mind is on other things, like making sure I have all the things I need to head back up to Plymouth because I’ll literally fly back and head up. I did want to due diligence on one place I kept saying I’d write on and that’s places I love to eat when I’m home.

Ive mentioned my struggles with Home before. It’s hard for me to come home because I always feel I’m in a totally different place and a totally different person than what people see since I’ve started traveling. Some of the differences are good ones and some I’m not so sure are good, but everything comes together to make me CC. I firmly believe that seasons, low and high, are part of the plan God has for life. Not everything is roses and sometimes I have to accept that I struggle. Home is part of that struggle for me.

May issues aside, I wanted to mention another place I try my darndest to get to whenever I’m home, and that’s The Moutianeer Grill 

This is definitely one of those places I found because I happen to be somewhere else. I’m a long time AAA frequenter. My favorite travel agent in the world Tracey Brown hooks me up with great trips. The Mountianeer Grill is located next door to AAA, below Benny’s Boothill and beside/inside Mountineer World on Barnett Run Road.

I can’t say it’s the largest place in the world, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in great food.

My pick when I go is the steak salad. Their cooks know how to grill a steak and spice it like it’s meant to be spiced. I can have that salad sans dressing and be happy as anyone with my selection. I’ve had a few other things from there, but the steak salad has my heart. 😍

Short and sweet. It’s good, go eat there okay? I mean, I don’t have to rep a plaza too hard do I?

I have a couple of other places I’ll review next time I’m home. I mentioned the need to do this because it is important to explore your hometown as much as it is to  explore the places you visit. For me, it’s a matter of rediscovering Home I guess. Maybe I’ve changed, but I can still find things I like/love to do when I’m here.

Off to the next thing as usual. If we’re all lucky, maybe I’ll write you from England.

Until then?

Travel on road warrior

Have I Disappointed You?

It’s break time! I’ve completed a contract and as a reward to myself, I’m on vacation.

The first one starts this weekend. The travel nurse conference officially starts on Monday in Vegas, but why wait until Monday to go to Vegas when I can head there early and take in the sights. I’ll be reporting on the conference itself next Wednesday once it’s completed, but I’ll do two things now: tell you to come if you’re travel nurse because of the things you’ll learn, and tell you to watch my instagram for photos.

As many people already know, and after I nearly had a nervous breakdown over it, I’ve settled on where I’ll be for my next assignment. I’m staying in Plymouth. I had a couple other options, including returning to Charleston, WV, a place I’d worked at around this time last year. It was a very difficult choice for me and it came down to being at a place where I liked the nurses AND the providers I was around.

(Quick aside: I will be in Plymouth until middle of January, which is danger zone of winter for me. Someone is going to have to hold my hand if it snows)

The hard part of picking between two places I’ve been/am currently at, is someone is disappointed by my pick. I had to be reminded of a few facts that I hope I can share with you.

Frankly, disappointment has been on my mind for a few weeks. Not only in conjunction to this, but in other things. I’d considered doing a vlog on it just to talk through some of my own personal struggle with the subject.

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You see, much of my problem is people pleasing. I want to make sure everyone around me is happy with me in every way. I seek others opinions and try to make decisions so others are pleased with me. You can see how that gets dangerous for me, don’t you ? Am I doing things to better myself because it’s what I need or because it’s what someone seems to think I should do? Am I running the risk of resenting someone because I made a decision for them instead of myself? It can get out of hand and lead to a lot of confusion.

I have to step back many times and examine what is best for me. What was my first response to the situation? Where is my mind at? It’s good to ask opinions, but I cannot let others possible let down affect what I do.

Lets talk about it in the context of a travel assignment.

I was reminded, by a very good friend, that I as the nurse am the commodity or good. I am there to offer service to a hospital. If I choose not to go there, they have the option to seek someone else’s service because there are others available to fill that spot. I have to pick what’s best for me in this search and I can’t pick a place simply because someone may get upset if I don’t come to their hospital. I won’t be happy. They can find someone else and I can go where I’ll have the best possible assignment.

So what can we all learn from this? People pleasing only leads to distress not satisfaction, go where you’ll be happy, consult others while trusting your mind a little more, and not letting everything unsettle you. Keep what’s important to you in mind

We all know the things I say here are for me to remember. I’m over here trying to be a life longer learner in all things.

Travel on road warrior

Mitigating and Managing

Hello and welcome to the circus!

Seems wrong to call life a circus, but at times it feels like I have no idea what’s happening next (in my immediate sphere or outside of it) and how I’ll react to it. Maybe gasps. Maybe cheers of excitement. Or crying hysterically. Apt, don’t you think?

Well, in assignment news, a decision has finally been handed down. I won’t say too much until I’ve signed my contract because in this circus, the act can change in an instant. Just know I’m glad to finally have something done with 4 shifts left in this current assignment. It took a lot of reminding that things weren’t out of control just because I didn’t know what was happening next.

Now that I know I can move on to more exciting things. I’ve got a couple big trips lined up on my 3 weeks off. Both trips I’m very excited about for vastly different reasons, but excited nonetheless. One I’ll tell you about next week (travel nurse conference) and the other I’ll spring on you last minute as I’m trying to keep other parties calm on that front.

Thinking about my second upcoming trip makes me think on ways I mitigate and manage things in my life. We all have people, jobs, forces in our lives that we try keeping calm and juggling around.

I have a tendency to be majorly influenced by those who rotate in my orbit. It’s something I hate and appreciate. Appreciate because I have people whose opinions I value a lot. Hate because if they disagree with something I’m planning on doing, I can’t always shake off their strong opinion. Is it my decision not to do this or am I being influenced too heavily by someone? And how do I manage when said strong opinion becomes upset that I didn’t heed their advice? It’s been a life long struggle of mine to find the balance.

Mitigation and management come in handy not just in those moments in my life (it’s better to ask for forgivensss than permission by the way), but in work.

Negotiating pay packages. Advocating for patients. Dealing with bonehead doctors. Trying to figure out changes in insurance. Or why my HelloFresh box was randomly canceled. All things that require the ability to explain what you need, see the best solution to the problem, smooth ruffled feathers, and get the best for both parties if possible. While not screaming like a crazy lady

It’s not always possible to come to a solution that pleases everyone. Someone is going to walk away unhappy no matter how you try appease or conjole. But… I hope to have left the situation having handled it to the best of my ability

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing 

from Proverbs 12:18 NIV

Frankly, my mouth gets the best of me. I’m trying to be levelheaded and calm because that’s what the situation requires, but the moment I’m affronted, cooler heads don’t always prevail. 🙈 Hey! Im trying to do better, be better, act better, but the tongue is a sword for a reason.

I need to heed the lessons I speak into this space. That means actually watching my mouth and trying to grant dignity to others. I just need to remember to not do those things at my personal expense. Sacrifice is important, but I tend to give more than I should to others. Balance.

Life is a circus. I’m trying to tight rope walk/juggle/clown car my way through it. Aren’t we all though?

As always, let’s all try to do better, shall we? I’ll lift you up a little and you extend the same arm to me until we manage to get there.

Until next time.

Travel on, road warrior.

The good and the bad of leaving home 

I’m off to my next assignment soon. Not heading far, as I’ve mentioned. It’s not at home, but it’s close enough to home that my mother is pleased as punch and is already planning visits. Other than pushing my start date back a smidge, it’s not been much that’s made me more worried than normal about beginning a new assignment. Except… 

One of the things I’m distressed/worried/wondering about is how my appearance will be received. My hair is natural and colored plus I’m proudly sporting a nose ring that I have no plans on removing any time soon. Will that cause issues? 

There’s talk of the appearance of the nurse affecting care, or the patient’s  perception of the nurse’s ability to provide care. I’ll save this topic for another post, but where I stand on that is if I treat you with the dignity, respect, and care you deserve, what does a nose ring and hair color have to do with it? 

This brings me around to the topic that’s been brewing in my head since I’ve been home. 

The Good and the Bad of leaving (and coming) home. 

Many new travelers struggle with leaving the first few times. One of the biggest issues travelers face is homesickness. You’re somewhere totally new with people who don’t know you or what your capable of doing a different routine than what you’re probably used to from home. Add to that being in a new city all a lone and you run the risk of spiraling into depression and succumbing to homesickness. Most people quit if it gets too bad. I’ve always loved being on the road so it’s never been too big of deal to up and leave. I battle the anxiety of a new routine, but have learned to remember what I’m capable of and that makes the first few weeks easier to get through. 

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been traveling for three years, and while I like being home, I find it exceedingly difficult. I’ve been examining why and settled on the conclusion that I’ve changed so much that being home reminds me how much. 

Some of the changes are great. I recognize my worth, I know what I can take on without getting overwhelmed, I know what I won’t tolerate, and I know I’m a good helper. I’m a good nurse. Even when I’m anxious about so many things, I know that. I also know I can be an independent person who goes out and explores without needing someone else there with me. 

Some of the changes haven’t been so good. I’ve grown impatient with others, I’ve fallen into some habits that aren’t healthy (physically or spiritually), I’ve developed a potty mouth 😳, and another of other things that I don’t feel comfortable splashing over my blog today. And let’s not talk about my backsliding as a women of God. Everything has consequences 

It’s also tough on relationships, traveling. I find it easier to move on than take a chance when dating is the way it is currently. It’s hard coming home and seeing everyone in solid relationships, having babies when not sure it’ll ever happen for me. Side note: I’ve wondering how my mother would do arranging a marriage for me. Hm… 

Working at home gets tough because I see clearly what needs changed and I can’t tolerate when I see how poorly the staff is treated by those high in leadership. Church is tough too because they know how I was before and I feel like I’m struggling too much to pretend I have it together like I used to. When you’re out in the world that’s when the test of who you’ll be is given. Who am I right now? Human. Admittedly, I know God can use everything and I need to let Him led. I’m still learning. 

Traveling has helped me become someone better and different. That’s what happens when you’re on the move. Am I where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing? Yes, I believe that in spite of the struggles I battle against on many levels. I’m stronger in too many ways and I feel like more strength (as a nurse, as a woman, as a Christian) are coming. 

Leaving and coming home is an experience every time. And while I’d much rather stay on the road, everyone has to come home to rest. 

Travel on, Road Warrior 

Bias, stereotypes, and prejudice. Oh my?

In case you didn’t know (and because I’m a closet selfish person who thinks it’s a holiday), tomorrow is my birthday. 

The older I get the more I contemplate things in my life. No need to recap my history, but I’ve been alive long enough to understand some things just by observation. 

Like we can be good, but the bent toward evil plagues us all. For all my backslid ways, I recognize and acknowledge the hand of God and our innate battle to do the right thing. I battle it everyday. 

I also recognize that many times there’s something good that crops up out of terrible situations even if we can’t see it until years later. 

Another thing that is always apparent to me is the role bias/prejudice can play in how we deal with people. We are human and mentally require a way to understand things in our lives. We are prone to classify things in boxes to keep things sorted and that sorting can end up with labels that affect how we interact with our world. 

I’ve harped on stereotype and prejudice because they aren’t the same. One can be harmless and the other can lead to lynchings and shootings. I’m going to give a short, sparkly talk on what’s on my mind and perhaps one day I’ll do a better post on this. 

First my definitions of things. 

Stereotype: super simple view of a group. All women… All little girls wear pink. All men… 

Prejudice: when those views are morphed into something not found in truth leading to hostility, fear, and violence. 

I expect people to have some stereotypical views especially when you’ve never encountered that people group. What gets hard is when people refuse to recognize and let go of those stereotypes. When you can’t see how you may be biased, you can’t understand the struggles of the other group. 

Let me mention my own bias that I recognize. When I’m at work, I automatically see all doctors as nasty demagogues who treat nurses like crap. That’s my experience and it’s hard to shake that particular bias and how it affects my relationships with physicians. When I work with drug users who put their newborn at risk, I also struggle. I also see my own fear and bias when I live in a predominantly white/rural area. It was in a rural area that I had my run in with someone shouting racist epithets. Nothing is scarier and isolating than a true terror that comes when you aren’t sure if your skin color could result in someone attacking you. I’ve met many welcoming people, believe me! It’s not an unfounded view, but it’s hard to shake it when I’m somewhere more rural. 

I struggle against my bias. Mine is more of how the behavior of others can hurt me, but I’m sure I hold other beliefs that make me avoid helping those I should. 

Our current social climate is tense. We as a people group don’t realize how deep our collective bias/prejudice runs. We can’t see it so we don’t change it. In movies, it’s the automatic roles that those of color or women fall into and the way we don’t question it. The gangster, the bimbo, the ghetto queen. Those stereotypes stem from our own incomplete understanding of people.things rutted in age old beliefs. 

Bias can and does affect certain people’s ability to get a job. How many studies exist showing how equally qualified individuals are side by side and interviewers don’t even give the person with the more ethnic name a chance. People argue that it’s the company’s right, and I’m not disputing that. What I’m trying to get people to see is that the bias exists and people are ignored and put at a disadvantage because of it. 

We all like to believe we are sinless when it comes to sexism, racism, any ism but the truth is some of our isms are societal and taught. It’s engrained and subtle. We are not absolved just because we say “society made me think it”. We have a responsibility to recognize and change our prejudices. There is no free pass simply because you are a Bible believing Christian. You need to open your eyes and see if your bias is making you treat others as less than. 

For example…

If you ever said,”they should get off their butts instead of leeching off the government and support themselves.” What makes you say that? How is it changing your willingness to be a possible champion? How does it help you to ignore the need in this group? 

I’m no wrist slapper and I’m not here to shine a light in anyone’s eyes except my own. But… If your pupils dilate and you see a little better, everyone wins. 

So, back to traveling, huh?

Travel on, road warrior 

“I’m so glad you’re working tonight.”

Hello from New England. Summer has officially crept in, which means I’m down to 3 weeks remaining on this assignment. It’s all downward slide from here. For me, it means I’ve reached that point where I’m not quite coasting, but I’ve hit my stride and see the light at the end. 

This hasn’t been a bad assignment. Once my anxiety from the previous assignment diminished, I was able to see how this could be a good place to work once they fixed their staffing issues. Honestly, hands down the best physicians/clinicians I’ve worked with ever. Respectful, collaborative, and not condescending. It’s like a dream. I’d take these docs and midwives and add them to my dream hospital. Seriously, you should come work for me because my dream hospital is going to be Ah-Mazing. 

I’ve oriented a lot on this assignment, which is strange. I’m a traveler, how am I going to teach you what you need to know to do well at this facility? I mean, I can show you how to manage a labor, but the individual intricacies of your work place? I just know enough to make sure I don’t overstep my boundaries as a temp worker.

I have knowledge and experience specific to L&D, but I’m no teacher anymore. Okay that’s not true. Once a teacher, always a teacher especially as a nurse. I just don’t always feel comfortable teaching as a traveler. Telling you what I know to be true in labor and what your facility wants isn’t the same thing. 

A girl I’ve oriented here told me the day before she was always glad to see me at work. She said she felt better because she knew I knew what I was doing. That made me feel… Like a grown up. Haha. 

I’ve turned into someone a younger/newer nurse could look to for advice? When did that happen?? 

What I am is an encourager. I like to cheerlead new hires or transfers to a floor. I like to tell them they can do it because they can. I like to offer words of advice and a smile that says go get ’em. I like to ask if they are doing okay and need help because it’s nice to know you have back up in a crisis. 

I’m still learning and my true teaching days are on hold, but (like I said) you’re never truly done teaching. It’s exciting and challenging to realize that 10 years in, I’m not a baby nurse anymore. Someone is glad I’m working that night because they know I’ll help. 

Here’s to teaching and being always teachable. 

Travel on, road warrior