Here and gone

I did an audio thing!

Transcript

I’ve been avoiding Facebook so perhaps it’s time to take a break. I’m sorry for being a bad visitor while I was in. I ramble on in audio/video. Lessons everywhere

Travel on, road warrior

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Called into question 

Week 4 ended with an unexpected surprise that wasn’t a good one. It’s got me a little shaken and very upset. 

A month in is typically when I hit my stride and start to feel comfortable. Remember this is a position on steroids. Orientation to knowing your way around the floor happens between now and the second month in to a contract. I’m still a little wobbly here, but I’m starting to figure things out.

I still haven’t figured this staff out. There isn’t the usual thankfulness to have travelers there to help and the undertone of unwelcomeness makes me uneasy. I’ve never been great at making friends, but I can do okay talking at work. I haven’t really had that experience here and it’s had me on edge. More than one person has made comments about the floor not being traveler friendly and I’m feeling the burn. 

Without going into much detail (until I get things sorted out), a complaint was written up against me. I’m taking steps to have it looked into and addressed. I am my own advocate so I won’t sit back and let someone roll over me. But… 

Mentally, knowing someone has questioned your practices, your work ethic, your abilities is a crushing blow. 

Admittedly, I pride myself on doing the best job I can do with the utmost care. I don’t know everything and have never pretended to, but I’ve learned a lot over the course of my career and make a point to practice within my particular scope. 

Someone commenting on my care or questioning it makes me question my abilities. I found out about the issue and cried because it made me wonder if I didn’t do everything I was supposed to. Rationally I can examine the incident and defend my actions without issue, but now I’m second guessing and that makes for a trying mental state. I’m still emotionally distraught over it. 

I take things personally even when I shouldn’t. Twice I’ve been fired by a patient and both times it was a serious blow to learn they felt I didn’t give them the care they wanted. What else could I have said or done to make them happy? 

That’s the thing, you can’t make every one happy or do everything to perfection. Someone isn’t going to like you or will take issue with something you did or didn’t do. 

I’ll get back to you on how this goes. Sorry this isn’t a more positive post, but it’s a little difficult to feel positive at the moment. My goal is to enjoy my days off and that includes good food, exploring the area, and absorbing the sunshine to keep my mood positive. Everything will work out how it should and I can’t do anything about it. 

Keep your chin up and travel on 

Not Boston: week 4

End of another week. 

I landed a schedule working multiple days in a row (something I hate), but that gives me multiple days off (which I love). I’m currently halfway through my 6 days off. It’s insane how fast days off go compared to days at work. 

I’ll just update you on my general welfare as I’m at a loss for what to discuss in particular. Well… That’s not totally true. There’s a topic I’d like to introduce, but I’ll wait until it’s a little better formed. 

After my post about not doing so well spiritually, a good friend contacted me and extended the offer to talk once a week. I’m glad she offered because do I need the fellowship. 

It’s more than just “discussing the bible”. There’s a depth to every relationship and that exists in one with a spiritual focus. We discuss our lives. Work, kids, what’s going on in general. 

Being able to discuss openly, gain understanding, and take a serious look at the church’s role and response to current issues has been so refreshing. I’ve gotten off the phone feeling more renewed than I have in a long time. 

Am I back where I was? No, there are a lot of things to work out, but I don’t feel trapped and overwhelmed. In relation to “getting back to where I was,” I don’t think that’ll ever be possible. Moving forward is always taking every part of the journey in allow God to integrate it, right? I’m hoping to look back and see how all the pieces fit. 

I’ll keep walking. 

Travel on, road warrior. 

Life on the road 

Two weeks down. 2 days or hospital orientation and 6 days of floor orientation completed. Next week I’m on my own. 

As you know, I keep a running list of topics to go on about, but I’m actually going to talk about something other than work today. 

For me, one of the biggest consequences of traveling has been the toll it takes on my spiritual life. Moving every three months makes finding a church hard. Add working or traveling on Sundays and I can say that my spiritual life is low. 

I’ve never been the type to make friends easily as I’m really leery around strangers. Steady discipleship is necessary to helping me remain on track. You have no idea how easy it is to fall into things when your guard is down. 

It takes little to get out of the habit of things. A certain level of confusion settles and I find myself looking around wondering how I got where I am. I spend the rest of the time wondering how to get where I need to be. It plagues me a lot. 

It’s difficult to take a hard look at yourself and realize that you’re not doing well. Even harder to admit it on an open forum. When many of your counterparts are doing so well and you realize you most definitely aren’t, it’s easy to keep your mouth shut and say you’re okay too. 

I’m most definitely not the 30-something abandoning her faith. Frankly, I’m trying to sort through things to find a stronger, clearer understanding of how my faith works in my life. 

I’m not going to outline my mistakes, but I think I wrote more to ask for prayer. Not that God makes me the person I was in high school or college, but that I allow him to take me from where I am. 

So there’s where I’m at. Next week I’ll probably talk about how high strung everyone is at my current assignment (and they are so high strung it’ll give you q headache), but this week is for an (semi) honest reflection. 

Understand?

I talk about lived experience a lot. Mostly in the context of never downplaying someone’s feelings because you haven’t walked in their shoes. I’d like to travel down that road a little in this post. Consider it an invitation to discuss.

Let me get something out-of-the-way… We’ve turned into a group of over-sensitive people. Everything offends us. We take up arms over things that 25 years ago we would’ve let go. In my opinion, that extreme sensitivity makes it impossible to have true discourse. We will disagree because we don’t have the same thoughts/lives/experience, but we stymie conversation that leads to change or friendship with the way we petition and cry over silly things.  With that said…

You know me, right?

I’m a 30-year-old woman with an extensive travel history, education, and continued developing career experience. I’ve acquired degrees, taught, worked the floor, and a host of other things. I’m a daughter, sister, aunt.

I also know what’s it’s like to be nervous or scared because of the color of my skin in a particular group or crowd. I’m confronted with both my unintentional/intentional bias and that of those around me.

Unintentional bias: assumptions made or conclusions drawn about someone without realizing it. Ex: woman are primary caregivers or introducing a female senior exec as, “The top senior female executive” instead of just senior executive by way of introduction. That can be a bias against her.

Intentional bias: having those assumptions and using them to form a particular view against a group or idea.

I’d add stereotype and prejudice to the discussion. My definition of stereotyping is like unintentional bias in that your limited experience with a group of people has led to an assumption about them. Prejudice is turning those wrong assumptions into fact and allowing that to shape how you treat someone.

Being aware of my bias is important as I refuse to allow it to cause me to treat someone poorly. So not just race, but other differences. Disabilities or views or behaviors included here. I’d challenge the notion that treating someone fairly doesn’t necessarily mean I agree with what they do.

I remember the first time someone called me the N word. I was walking down the streets of Buckhannon, collecting can goods around Halloween for the Parish House for a college activity. A group of us were walking when some local young kids approached from the opposite direction. As we were crossing paths with them, they were gesturing a bit aggressively in my direction, but I thought I was being paranoid. Until they were behind us and I heard them shout that word. I was the only black girl in the group so who else were they talking to except me. I didn’t feel I could say anything to the others in my group because they wouldn’t understand.

That word was used as a way to threaten me and I felt unsafe after that moment. The sad part is that isn’t the last time I’ve been called that by someone with the intention of intimidating me.

Conversely, I’m in Nashville at the moment during the NRA convention. (Cue the bias!) While sitting in Ripply’s yesterday, I made a few observations we’ll say. “Look at all the bass pro shop, gun-toting individuals running around!” Bad, I know.

We were the restaurant with the country music playing and the predominantly white patrons, and I noted I was a little (okay, a lot) uncomfortable. My fears, unintentional bias, and stereotypes were swirling in my mind. Then I had to check myself.

What’s my point?

To note that experiences shape our reaction. I don’t believe every person is a racist and I’d hope people wouldn’t make unfounded assumptions of me based on my skin color, but it happens, it’s a reality. We do that, including against those who are the same as us.

Bias existing is a reality and until we acknowledge that, true discussion and change won’t occur.

A little less sensitivity, a little more conversation, a lot necessary action.

I’m little tired of being nervous.

To checking ourselves.

Travel on, road warrior.

They do some WEIRD stuff here

Even before I started traveling, my line of work required I work in hospitals or departments different from what I was used to in my regular position. See, I taught for 2 years. Yes, me, I taught. Lecture and clinical, two things I did and got decent enough at (when my students were cooperative and helped make it great) over time.

Anyway, clinical required going to a facility I wasn’t at all familiar with, trying to find my way around, learning their charting system, dealing with nurses I wasn’t familiar with, and had the added benefit of trying to teach others how to navigate it as well.

I was training to be a first class traveler before the thought even entered my mind.

I had someone use this very good analogy recently to describe travel nursing and I find it fits to a T.

“Travel nursing is like cooking your favorite meal in a stranger’s kitchen. The ingredients have a different name, are in a different place, or are missing all together.”

You know how to do your job and you’re darn good at it… But then you go somewhere else and they do what you do except not exactly?

They don’t use cytotec the same, they only put IV piggy back medications on pumps, they take two hours to recover their patient, they don’t remove the foley until the patient is nearly crowning, they don’t bathe the baby until 12 hours after delivery, their doctors are way different, and so on. Oh! Your nurses can put on FSEs or place IUPCs? Nice

I can’t find the whatsmajig, the whosamewhatsit, or the thingamabob I need for my delivery. Where is the bakrim balloon, the vacuum suction, and do you still use forceps?!

They let their patients push for how long????!

The list goes on, friends. It becomes a real learning experience to adapt and assimilate after 3 shifts of orientation. That’s travel nursing, questioning why but being willing to do (as long as it’s safe).

You may find that practice is better, safer, or smarter. You may pick up a skill you couldn’t have in your perm position, or you may learn what hospitals to stay far away from.

But you always learn and that’s what I love about my job.

So here’s to the strange hospitals and even stranger practices.

Always leaning, always.

Travel on, road warrior

Recognizing Service

I’ll keep this brief simply because there are those who do a better job of saying thank you. I’m not nearly as eloquent, you see.

What I do want to say is it’s important to recognize those who serve and ultimately sacrifice some part of themselves for the greater good. Not just on a single day of the year, but all the time.

We can be self-centered until something big reminds us of our frailty, our humanity. The death of a loved one, sickness, a significant loss. We aren’t aware until we are made aware.

There are those who work behind the scenes keeping us safe and healthy. Thank them.

Send a care package to a service person
Thank a police officer
Offer a smile to your nurse

Sacrifice and remembrance. Two things we need not forget. Because someone has to give up their life or their time for the freedoms you have in yours.

Let’s not forget that.

Travel on, road warrior.