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Today is a great day! I finally passed my online finance class last evening! Yay!! This class in particular has been a very big obstacle. I was not an A student in high school and seriously did not have any study habits that helped during that time. I went straight to a big college directly out of high school only to find that being away from my home was so wonderful that I did not go to classes consistently. I hated cold and had to walk almost everywhere so stayed in to be warm. I wasn’t sure how to study and thought since there was no homework I could just listen in class and take the exams and pass. (not the case!) Retaining information does not come easy to me. I dropped out after one semester and went back home and started working full-time. From there it wasn’t easy either. Hard to get ahead when you are paying for college that you did not do. Kind of like spending $11,000 on fresh meat only to have it spoil in the fridge….
Fast fwd five years, married, and one child later and there was some clarity on what I wanted to do with my life. I was able to go back to college for nursing. We, my husband and I, were wanting something that would work with our family schedule and not just a standard class schedule. I found a wonderful small college that was perfect for this. I started Nursing school and since I had been out of school for a long time did the adult thing and sat through all of the orientation and listened when I was told that for every 1 hr of credit or class you should be studying for 3 hrs. At first I thought this was nuts but then, with my husband’s encouragement, started reading and studying for the amount of time suggested. At first I didn’t know what to study so I would outline chapters in books and re-read them during spare time. I failed my first Anatomy exam because I wasn’t studying the way I should have. I was reading and re-reading but not trying to spontaneously come up with information. That was a learning point for me. I decided to create questions similar to the way the test had asked them, made flash cards for terms, and described to my infant where her muscles, etc were. From there on out I was able to pull an A in the class. I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing with High Distinction. At that time we were up to two children and life was falling in to place.
I was able to get a job as a Med-Surg nurse in a hospital a few months after graduating but was only making a wage similar to what I was making in the factory. That was not paying any of the extra bills from college. I was/am a fast learner so was moved through to the telemetry and was encouraged by several physicians to look into a bigger hospital with a critical care unit to learn more. I did just that and flourished in that environment. It was fast paced, adrenaline charged, and I loved it. I had two more children (up to 4 now) and was still working full time with 12 hr shifts and still making a minimum nurse pay. I was asked to orient new nurses on the floor who were making more per hour than myself. When I asked about pay was told by mgmt that it wasn’t in the budget and at one point was told I shouldn’t have hired in at the wage I did because I will always be behind. That was a lovely blow to the gut. So in other words it doesn’t matter how good of job you do or the extra responsibility and roles you do. If you hired in at a low wage you were not going to ever get paid what you are worth. There was a company buyout and the mgmt was becoming unbearable. Most nurses were trying to ride it out until the new mgmt. would come through but for me that was too long. I moved on to a more flexible schedule within a home care setting. I quickly moved along in that environment. I caught on quickly and was pulled to various positions to train others and to fill gaps where there was a need. At that time things seemed ok. I was making home at a fairly decent time and pay had increased so we were able to pay down some medical bills that had accumulated. Then I was encouraged/told that if I wanted to be in a mgmt. role I needed to have my Master’s. I was encouraged to enroll in an online MBA program because MSN was “just for people who want to go teach at a school.” I was told how easy it was to learn on your own and pass each class because most of it I already knew from living life. Well, that was far from the truth. (side note: if online classes interest you use my embedded link for a free application waiver code)
I did well for the first class, maybe two. Then the finance and numbers became difficult. Since the classes didn’t relate to my everyday it was difficult to focus. Also I found it a hindrance doing it online as there was not social interaction and there wasn’t a place to go and learn. My four children were toddlers and in elementary and middle school so they needed me after work for their school work. My husband works full-time as well and couldn’t do everything. I truly believe that being in a classroom setting where you had to come and sit to learn would have been better for me. I looked in to this and since this was an online school not affiliated with any of the other schools none of my credits would transfer. So here I am. It would be easy to say “buck up and get it done.” But that is not working. There have been modifications to my daily routine and it still is difficult. Add to that the fact that I will be out of a job next week and my stress factor is through the roof.
You see I was asked to be an interim manager of our combined department but soon after (like a week) I was looking at financials and reports and saw there was no money being made. I didn’t say a thing because it had been looked at during that same time and was announced the department was closing. What a blow. I was offered a position to manage a different department but would have to drive 1h45m one way 5 days a week. That is approx. 20 hrs of driving time where I would not be paid and could not be productive, let alone increasing my risk of car accidents by being on the road that much more. So I have a couple of weeks to find another job. I have been looking and there are not many jobs for which have a decent schedule. In hospital they are 12 hour shifts which do not work well with my family life. There are few 8-5pm jobs. Almost all in hospital, nursing home, and home care require nights, wknds, holidays, and call time. There are positions that are work from home which I have applied but have been told, on more than one occasion, that it is entry level and no matter my experience they are not willing to pay more per hour. On the flip side I am being told I don’t have enough experience for management positions. Nurses don’t just “lose” the information they have acquired. It is more like a library and it travels with them everywhere. If healthcare would focus more on the direct patient quality care that is being provided and not all the mandatory vaccinations, penalties for not giving someone pain medicine, and how to make each person happy and work on what is best for the patient there wouldn’t be a huge flux in the nursing staff. Overloading them with too many patients or patients with a high acuity and telling them to take more because they don’t have enough is a recipe for disaster. Doctors rely on nurses to give them an educated opinion and facts regarding each of their patients. If nurses are running around trying to please everyone in the patients family getting them ice cream, water, soda, etc…. They are not able to focus on their patients and watching to see if something is worsening or improving. Treating nurses as a respected team of staff is the only way to get the best possible outcomes. When budget cuts go directly to staff cuts that is not showing respect. I am wanting to affect change. Change the environment, change the mindset, change the focus and bring back the care that is so needed to our patients.