today I chose awesome

I work on the casual nursing pool within my local health district. Although I originally applied for the job because it was the first in 6 months or so of looking that came up, it is actually perfect for us at this stage of our lives. My shifts are usually only 7 hours, which means that T can work the same evenings that I work days (saving us from working 7 days a week). I can work at any of four hospitals in the district, meaning that there’s no shortage of work. I can be explicit about only working early shifts while MasterL is still breastfeeding in the evenings. I get casual loading on my hourly rate. And I can cancel shifts whenever I need to. Like last week when T got a late-notice acting gig that required him to work massive days for a week or so, in return for a generous sum of money. Or when he had several hundred auditions to get said part. Or when we really just need to get away for a few days. You can’t do that when you’re employed in a permanent position.

Image via Les Vregens

Image via Les Vregens

On my first day on the casual pool I wandered down the corridors of the hospital and calculated that I had not worked as a ward nurse since late 2008. My days in between had been spent in clinical facilitation, project management, GP practice nursing and the emergency department. I was sent to a geriatric medical ward and, along with an AIN, had nine patients under my care. Most of the patients had dementia and incontinence. They all had very complex medical conditions. I was TOTALLY out of my depth. I ran from start to finish, I had super short meal breaks, and I honestly had no idea who I was looking after. I couldn’t tell you what was wrong with them, why they were there, what the plans were for their ongoing care. Between meds, showers, toileting, redirecting, re-washing, redirecting, toileting, obs and meds, the first time I had a chance to look at their medical records was when I was writing progress notes 15 minutes after my shift was supposed to finish. I spent the day working my butt off, yet felt as though I’d accomplished very little. It was awful. I did not provide good nursing care, and I was extremely unsatisfied professionally.

I haven’t been back to that ward. Maybe they begged management to keep me away (I honestly felt like such a crap nurse that day). Maybe I’ve just been lucky. Since then I’ve worked in both medical and surgical wards, in pre-admission clinics, in day therapy areas, in endoscopy and in emergency departments and thankfully have not had such a sense of professional shittiness since.

Walking in to work this morning I knew that I was going to have a heavy shift. Although working on the casual pool means being sent here there and everywhere, lately I’ve been lucky enough to be spending my days in familiar places like ED, which has been a bit lovely. This morning I had a sense. The sense that niggles away at you and says ‘it’s been ages since you’ve been in a heavy geriatric medical ward… today is it’. And it was.

I had a pang of anxiety. And then I thought bugger that…


And I did!

The ward was a shambles. Honestly, my first thought was ‘you guys couldn’t organise a shag in a brothel’… but I chose awesome. I was working with a scattered-and-extremely-whingey nurse… and I chose awesome. I had a really busy day. I accepted offered help and returned the favour when I could. I smiled and laughed my way through the shift. I nursed with compassion and whole-heartedness. I did what I could and didn’t stress when I couldn’t. In the end I got everything done, and then some… and it was awesome.

When did you last choose awesome?

Jenn xx

it’s not brain surgery, and i like it.

Do you hear that?

Listen carefully.

That, my friends, is the sound of two kids sleeping.

It was a bit of a mission, and one that I nearly lost, but I got there in the end. MissC was easy for once. She fell asleep at the table while she was eating lunch. I transferred her to her bed, grubby hands and face and all, and there she remains. MasterL on the other hand… Just because his big sister was asleep didn’t mean he fancied the same. I gave him another half an hour and then lay down beside him til he fell asleep. No sooner had his eyes closed I jumped up and grabbed the lap top, drafted words pinging around my head just itching to get out. Turns out I got up just a little prematurely. As I walked past him he opened both eyes and grinned at me.

Nice try, mum.

Michael Darling

{image from pinterest}

But I won in the end.

And now I sit. I’ve had a crazy urge to write for the last week or so and now that I have ten, maybe twenty minutes up my sleeve I’m not sure I can do this. Not sure that I want to do it. Not sure that I know why, all of a sudden, I’ve been nearly obsessed with blogging again. I say “nearly” obsessed because of course I had to make the blog look pretty first, which took, what? Eleven million hours? But here I am. Sitting. Writing.

Waffling. Let’s call it what it is.

I returned to work a few weeks ago. Not nursing, which is strange. I’m doing editorial research and coordination, social media management and advertising stuff for an Australian blogger. It’s a three-day a week gig and I enjoy it. One day a week in the city, two days a week spread out at home. Great work-life balance, nice to get out of the house, nice to be with like-minded individuals. Like I said though, strange not to be nursing.

Yesterday I got myself into a tizz. I miss-timed a deadline and felt as though I was going to make a mess of things. I’ve recently taken over the electronic newsletter at work and I’m still pretty slow with it, so it took way longer than I thought it would. I had emails from my boss wondering where it was, was it ready, and I got myself into a bit of a funk, certain that I had stuffed up.

Although I hadn’t ‘gotten in trouble’ I felt like a little girl who had been scalded and I was just waiting to be subjected to a talking-to when I walked into the office. What am I? Five years old?

It occurred to me, as I walked along, that I was worrying about AN EMAIL NEWSLETTER.

I hadn’t mis-timed a treatment that would have detrimental effects on someone’s health. I hadn’t forgotten to press ‘approve’ on an order that would distribute food to thousands of starving kids in Africa. I hadn’t lost track of time and left a kid in a hot car. I hadn’t even missed an antibiotic dose for my pooch. Whilst there was a potential risk of my boss looking un-professional on some level, there was still time before it was to be sent out and at the end of the day it was still *just* a newsletter.

So I dusted myself off, high-tailed it to the office, put my head down and finished the job. In time. With no detrimental effects. No starving kids. No worries.

My new job is different to my old. I have much to learn and am enjoying the change. It’s not brain surgery, but I like it.

Jenn x

PS, I got 30 minutes before the kiddies woke, in unison, and climbed all over me, demanding attention while I finished. Back to my other, most important job xxx

Two Beautiful Bunnies

I'm a mama to two beautiful babies. I have started this blog to gather my thoughts and try to improve who I am as a person but particularly as a mother, wife, daughter and sister.