Well I’ve now done my last week as clinical services manager at North Downs Specialist Referrals and it’s got me thinking. About a lot of things but mainly hanging up my greens. If you’d have asked me when I qualified that within 10 years, I’d be out of them I don’t think I would have believed you.
Hanging up my greens: Steep learning curve
You see I absolutely loved being a nurse. I thrived on it and enjoyed the challenges it presented, every single day. Working in a referral hospital meant there was no time to rest on your laurels. Every day was a school day, a new procedure, medication, condition or simply refining what I’d learnt the previous day. Wards was my happy place. The place where nothing stayed still, always a slight air of chaos but actually it was (and still is)incredibly organised and efficient. Patients from your routine orthopaedic to some of the most critical patients I’ve nursed. Hours and hours of intense patient care. Piqued with sad moments but also many happy endings.
I can honestly say I adored theatre; I’ve been called a surgery junkie by my boss as I loved the buzz of the complex anaesthetics. Give me the brain surgery or the thoracotomy any day of the week. This says a lot about my personality and probably explains why I’ve had so many roles. I have a very short attention span. I don’t mean in the sense that 15 minutes into monitoring a GA I’m pondering my next holiday but more once I’ve learnt something, achieved something I am looking for the next challenge. Some people admire my drive and determination but as with all things there are positives and negatives. Yes, I am driven, determined, focused and truly believe we are all capable of great things, but this same energy can leave me drained and wondering what the point of it all is.
Once you’ve done that next step then what? Do we spend our whole lives constantly seeking the next thing?
Hanging up my greens: the things I won’t miss
Don’t get me wrong there a few things I don’t miss about my greens. Firstly, my greens themselves who on earth designed our uniform in bottle green? Although once I’d discovered dresses, I was much happier. I don’t miss going home smelling like bodily fluids…. I also don’t miss crawling around on my knees scrubbing floors and kennels. Although I still will if needed! The unsociable hours, once the thought of staying all night with a critical patient would make me excited. Now I just want to go home, have some dinner and watch Hollyoaks (sorry!)
Oh, and I definitely got my nails done this week!
We all know that the negatives of our job are more than balanced out by the sheer joy and satisfaction nursing can bring. That patient that was anorexic all week and you figured out what they wanted to eat. The owner you were able to help and support during a visit. A thank you from the vet you scrubbed in with. The patient that survived because of you and your team. Those feelings make it all worthwhile. That and the fact I was a heck of a lot slimmer when on my feet all day!
Hanging up my greens: Am I still a nurse?
I worry that I’m not really a nurse anymore. That I won’t remember how to place an IVC. That my knowledge will fade, and I will lose touch with my nursing life. Already it’s been hard moving into a more senior role. Those that are in those roles know the loneliness it can bring. Constantly balancing the business needs with those of your team. Realising that social invites become more sporadic and that sometimes people actually want to vent about work. A more senior role has meant I’ve been able to reduce my hours though, something that wouldn’t have been possible before. Like I said positives and negatives with everything.
I also really enjoy seeing newbies thrive. Watching them gain confidence and skills. Seeing them become exceptional nurses. Nurses that will help shape our future. Nurses that put themselves forward to help and educate others. I’m proud to say I work with a lot of nurses like this and every time they come and say what they’ve done I’m like a proud mum.
Hanging up my greens: Out of a surgery and into….
So, I guess I am anxious about leaving the veterinary environment, I am worried that I’m moving away from all of those things. With this worry though comes the hope that I will be able to have a bigger impact. A wider influence. That I’ll be able to help and develop not just the nurses I work with but those that work for the group. That with the excellent team that’s been created we can support, develop and nurture nurses to be shining examples of the profession. That we can continue pushing our amazing profession into the limelight and get it the recognition it deserves.
Yes, I’ll miss the animals, the patient care, the buzz and that warm fuzzy feeling but as one of the nurses at work said to me:
‘Sam you’ll be helping lots of nurses and then those nurses will be better nurses. Indirectly you are improving patient care. Think about what you’d say if it was one if us you were talking to’
So that’s what I’ll be doing. This is progression. This is my next step and the chance to do something I really believe in. Plus, do you ever really forget how to place an IVC?