Yesterday I was asked if I was glad I chose to be a nurse practitioner. My first reaction was, “No, I am tired.” I know why I said that. I work 88 or 96 hours every two weeks, only off Sunday and I am physically tired. After many calculations, I did make more as a registered nurse because I was paid differential for night shift, weekend shift, and/or house supervisor pay. Also I worked less hours which means I was paid more per hour. I don’t want to work 6 days per week every week.
Yes COVID kills my drive. Wear a mask they say, wash your hands, prove why the acute asthma exacerbation needs a nebulizer treatment, are you sure this fever is not COVID related; AIDS, influenza, syphilis, COPD, CHF, STDs, they all come in my clinic. I like patient care. Yes I treat everyone as if they are infected with something, yes I treat everyone with respect, yes I have hugged the crying and dying. Yes I enjoy my profession…most of the time.
I do enjoy caring for others. I like being a nurse practitioner because I have more say in my patient’s treatment plan. It doesn’t mean I don’t seek help from other medical professionals because I reach out whenever I feel unsure. I love the health teaching to our patients. It doesn’t mean they follow what I say at home but they do share their hesitancy, concerns, and overall thoughts. Most patients will thank me for sharing and explain why they won’t do it at home. There’s nothing I can do to make them change their behaviors. I can explain till I am blue and they will ultimately do what they want until they choose otherwise.
What I do miss of nursing is the camaraderie. I miss my fellow nurse camaraderie in the ER. I still talk to a handful of them and come to hold them close to my heart. Currently, I am in a stand alone acute care clinic with one other person (my MA, she’s nice). There’s no one down the hall to ask if I am uncertain of a procedure or if I am stuck on diagnosing. In the beginning months I felt very alone and discouraged of my choices. I know help is a phone call away but I still miss the close camaraderie of the ER. Those partners that helped with CPR, lift the man collapsed in the waiting room or vehicle, tie your yellow gown when you were putting on shoe covers before the GSW arrived. I miss the close camaraderie. I know it wouldn’t be the same to return as a provider but one can only hope it would be similar.
Below are pictures of the friends made while I spent 10 years in a rural ER in a little rural town plus a couple of new ones from my current NP gig. I do enjoy the friends I made and miss.