Finding My Voice Again
In healthcare, many of us are very familiar with the term "burnout". In nursing, it's becoming ever more prevalent with staffing cuts, unsafe patient:staff ratios, lack of support from administration, violent patient encounters that were unheard of when I graduated from nursing school so many years ago, not to mention health care workers being discouraged from reporting said encounters to law enforcement by management. I had started this blog over a year and a half ago, as a way to start writing again. It was a short lived effort. I had lost JJ's voice on her social media accounts and I couldn't quite get into the rhythm of writing. Even my posts about hospice, the dogs, and all things in between fizzled a bit over the next year. I just didn't have the desire to write or even to share as much as I usually did.
As a inpatient nurse, I was working twelve hour shifts, something that the majority of hospitals are doing now. The benefit is longer stretches off, but as I get older, it has taken a toll, especially the monthly schedule of three on, one off, and three on. By the end of that week, I needed two days to recover, and I may not have been joking when I talked about the couch and bonbons. There is no time during work days to get adequate sleep and find a way to work out, which are both required to recharge the batteries and stay healthy, especially when getting older. The lift limits in our job descriptions were a complete joke, so while we all did our best to be safe, often there were only two of us and our bodies paid the price. I had reached the point where I was questioning whether I was burned out from hospice, nursing, or both.
While she tolerated chemo amazingly well, it was no longer working and we were done with treatment. She came to work with me on Christmas Eve, but made it clear halfway through the day that she was tired and was done. I called my husband to come get her and she was able to do her own walkout of the building, in a different way she had walked out so many who had died with us. Five days later, she died surrounded by several of those who loved her.
A fresh start. My passion remains. My voice is back.