September 6, 2014

I'm temporarily deaf...

In one ear, anyway.  Ear infection.

I tried riding it out as most of the time, you can't do anything for an ear infection other than comfort care.  But after 2+ weeks, it was time to pack up and go to the doctor.   Which of course, did not have any appointments on Friday--in fact, they close early on Fridays.  So I headed for the nearest Minute Clinic.  This was not an ED-worthy illness.  I also figured my CVS would be faster than going to urgent care.  I figured it'd also be cheaper too:  should my insurance end up denying my claim even after I explain that it's not my fault my doctor's office closed at noon, I'd only be out $100.

So I leave work early on Friday and go right to the clinic.  There's a few people waiting there and they are very happy to see me.  I'm wondering why considering they're all complete strangers to me...until one finally asks me if I'm going to be seeing them next.

I had come straight from the hospital, so I had my scrubs and ID badge on.  I realized that they saw the "RN" placard and got excited--they thought I was another nurse coming to man the clinic.  I had to explain that I was the patient today.   I declined the offer to read someone's TB test for them.

It's not a long wait:  I'm seen in 30 minutes.   Nurse practitioners run the clinic, which is nice because I can speak Nurse to them and they don't think I'm crazy.  It's a quick visit:  she looks in the ear, declares it's not a very happy ear, gives me ear drop antibiotics and instructions to keep taking Motrin 800mg, forwards my script to my own pharmacy for pick up by the time I get there, and says she's always happy to help a fellow nurse.

The problem is that antibiotics take a few days to work, so until then it's Motrin, warm compresses and closed captioning on the television.

September 4, 2014


The transfer was an interesting process.  They talked to my supervisor first, had me fill out paperwork next, then gave me an interview.  After I signed the transfer paperwork.  The whole process really did go in reverse.


So I'm transferred to the float pool at job #1.  And to be honest, absolutely nothing has changed.  Same old stuff, different job title with better pay.  Mind you, I did already screw up with staffing...twice.  Both times were unintentional and in all innocence, but still, not the way I would have preferred to start my new position.

Meanwhile, job #2 has some drama going on...I'm not involved, thank heavens, and I'll leave it at that.  I do have to throw them some days soon, though.  Maybe later in the month.

Meanwhile, job #3 is wondering if I would be interested in orienting to their chemical dependency unit.  It was all I could to to not throw myself at them screaming "God, yes!"  I need to call their program manager tomorrow to try to set something up.   If this parlayed into something full-time down the road, I could die happy.  Working in addictions...*sigh*

No word on the psych ER position.  I've pretty much written it off.  This is just not my time...perhaps down the road.

In other news, all week my patients were pleasant psychotics.  They're my favorite.  They're seeing the floating mushrooms and hearing the squirrels talk about baseball, but they're all so mellow about times even chipper.  One has a party going on in his head 24/7, but he's not bothered by it.  In fact, he told me, "it's all part of the schizophrenia."  I had to respect his attitude.

August 16, 2014

Mouth, God, Ear

It's been a long week.  Job #3 was quite the trial-by-fire because it was the first time I worked solo.  The first two days were very rough and I felt overwhelmed, but I persevered and pushed forward.  By the last day of the assignment, I felt like an old hand...or at least comfortable enough to go back and do it again.  It was enjoyable work though...I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did.  But it's a great work environment with wonderful people who are positive and supportive.


Monday, I check my e-mail and see a notice about the psych ED job that I applied for.  My application has passed the first round and is now being forwarded to the hiring manager.   OK, I'm pleasantly surprised.  And got very excited when I received a phone call later in the day.  Alas, it turned out to be a utility company asking me a question, and I'm sure I sounded very disappointed.  But hey, I'm in the running.

Then Thursday, I check my e-mail again...and received this from the person at Job #1 who is apparently going to be my new supervisor:

"Hi Meriwhen, this is XYZ.   Your transfer was approved, what scheduling track would you like, what date should this be effective and when can you come and sign the paperwork?"


I've gone from hearing crickets chirping for nearly two months to signing paperwork, all in the space of the 2 minutes it took to read the e-mail.  I figured I'd be called in for interviews (I had the last time I tried to apply for a transfer), or at least have someone talk to me on the phone.  Guess they found out whatever they wanted to from my resume and from people at Job #1.

I wrote back accepting the transfer and providing all the details requested.  I then spent all of Thursday and Friday dealing with a flurry of e-mails, more than enough to make up for those two months of crickets.  I go in on Monday to sign the paperwork, and my transfer takes place next month after I finish up a couple of vacation coverage assignments.

It's still a little surreal.

August 10, 2014

Job vs Money

Still nothing on either the transfer for new application front.  I am reading this as "Sorry but No" and moving on.  Should I get a call or e-mail down the road, I'll be pleasantly surprised.  But I can't invest any more emotional energy into it.

At the forum, I along with many others advised a new grad not to try and negotiate for a higher salary but to accept what they were being offered and save the haggling for when they are an experienced nurse.  And that's pretty much what a new grad needs to do because the first job shouldn't really be about making the most bank, as it should be about getting through the first year of nursing and laying down the foundation of one's nursing career.

I know that not everyone is in an ideal position to just take whatever salary they are offered.  Creditors and bills don't care that you're doing the job more for the experience:  they just want payment when due.   So some people do have to angle for a certain salary level.  I have been fortunate in that when I started as a new grad, I had the freedom to accept a job offer regardless of the salary that was offered.   Ironically, the offer I accepted as a new grad in psych paid a few dollars more than the new grad positions at the major medical hospitals.  Point being, getting the most dollars per hour was the least of my concerns.

But that will soon be changing.

As the other half will be going to a guaranteed but considerably reduced income, I will become the primary breadwinner.   I worked out the budget and expenses to the nth degree, and have determine what take-home salary I will need to make in order for us to stay afloat.  By "stay afloat" I mean for us to maintain a comparable lifestyle--though with some corners cut and fat trimmed--and still put away a good amount in savings and retirement.

Then I did the math to determine what hourly salary (based on a 5 day/40-hour work week) that I need to achieve in order to meet this.  I keep this number in mind as I look at permanent positions.   I don't need to make as high of a salary as possible:  I just need to meet or exceed this number.   I would prefer not to exceed 5 days/40 hours a week, though in a pinch I can always pick up an extra day every now and then.

This is a shame because this means a lot of potential job opportunities are out of the running because the hourly rate won't cut it.  For example, for all the headaches that Job #2 can give me, I do enjoy the site that they send me to, as well as the people who work there.  It's a wealth of acute care psych experience that I wouldn't find at a lot of other places.  But I asked one of their nurses what she was making per hour, and she told me what it was, what the diffs were, and what the max hourly salary was.  And that number is too low.  If--IF--I got the max hourly rate and worked nights, it would just be possible.  And being that I'd already be getting the max salary, there may not be a lot of room for income growth.

I could stay as I am--the three per-diem jobs--and try to make it work that way.   It does seem like it could work.  I mean, I'm working 4, 5, sometimes 6 days a week.  In fact, provided I don't get cancelled anywhere, tomorrow I will be starting a stretch of 12 days in a row.  I know, I'm masochistic.

But I don't always work a full 8 hour day, and where I usually get the full 8 hour days is either at Job #2 with the lowest hourly rate, or Job #3 with the highest hourly rate but the least frequent offerings.   Plus being per-diem/agency, none of those hours at any of the three jobs are guaranteed--I'd be a fool to base my livelihood on it.  Though I may take a couple of months to see if I could scrounge up 40 hours each week and what the income would be.

It's probable that I could eventually transition into an full-time outpatient position at Job #1.  There's at least two nurses on the verge of retirement and one that I know is looking at other options, so it wouldn't be very long.  And I know that they'd love to have me, as I've been told my management.  The hourly rate I would get based on my experience would be just at that magic number so it would work.

To be honest, I'd rather work inpatient because that's what I enjoy the most.  I haven't finished learning and growing from there.  But as I said before, creditors and bills don't care about my interests--they only care that payment is remitted to them in a timely manner.   And soon that will have to be my priority, at least for a few years.

August 4, 2014

It's Monday and I'm checking the mailbox to see if there's anything yet from either the new application or the transfer.  Of course, there's nothing yet. 

August 1, 2014

Taking charge

Vacation was nice.  A week for going to the East Coast is not long enough...after we got adjusted to the time zone, weather and family routines, we had to turn around and come back to the West Coast and readjust.  I learned that toddlers do not handle time zone changes very well:  little one #2 kept going to bed too late while out East, and then when we got back home was waking up at 0300.

Things are back to normal now.  I think the rule is that for each time zone crossed, it takes one day to recover.

Taking a break from all things work helped immensely.  I did check work e-mail a couple of times, but didn't respond to anything, nor did I dwell on any work issues.  I came back to the job somewhat refreshed and ready to return to work...and tackle the transfer application matter.

In an earlier post, I had learned that I have been contacting the wrong nurse recruiter about my transfer application.  So I sent an e-mail to the correct recruiter asking for feedback to improve myself for the next job posting.  This recruiter got back to me within an hour to tell me that she's not the one handling recruitment for this position, but it's actually my original recruiter...who also wrote me in the next hour (she was copied on the e-mail) to apologize for not getting back to me sooner.  She said that the manager hiring for this position has been out of the office frequently but that my information has been forwarded to her.

Nice to finally get a response...any response.

Then I applied for a job at another facility.  Spur-of-the-moment application, but the job posting came out today and I saw that it's perfect for me.  Psychiatric ED.   Part-time.  I qualify for the position and then some.  My friend works at facility #4 and loves it there--he's been hounding me to come join him.  He was happy that I was applying for it.  And what do I have to lose?  Nothing but a few hours of working on it.

So I spent those few hours--thank goodness it was a slow day--working on my application, career testing and competency testing.  I just finished the competency test...I'm nervous about that.  The questions weren't psych-based but dealt with areas such as ED, ICU, I applied everything I learned in nursing school and tempered it with what I've learned that facilities want to hear, and did my best.  I'll guess I'll know soon enough.

I do realize that should I get this job, I will have to cut one or two of the other jobs loose.  It will probably be job #2...and job #1.  I'm a little disenchanted with job #1 as of late.  They're the ones with the transfer issues and lack of timely responses from staffing.  I think it may be time for me to move on, though I would wait until the end of the year so my retirement account is fully vested.

Time to go relax with a good book.

July 20, 2014

As though I didn't have enough anxiety-provoking things to deal with

I found out that my father is having surgery.  Again.  He had a procedure done two weeks ago to stop some errant bleeding.  Now they're doing a cardiac procedure on him because between the atrial fibrillation and a ventricular rate of 200, it's any wonder his heart hasn't picked up its cards.

The procedure will be done the day we arrive.  But we won't be going to see him right away:  my mom's going to at the hospital all day, and the kids can't go up to visit him.  So we'll be going to see the the other half's parents first for a few days, and then come into the city on the weekend.  Though I'm going to be prepared to grab little one #2 and head into the city on no notice if--God forbid--they tell me I need to come see him.


My father has had cardiac problems for all of his life, so even though it can be anxiety-provoking at times, I'm used to dealing with him being sick or in the hospital or having some sort of surgery or procedure done.  I'm also aware that given his health and his age, he really is living on borrowed time.  While I would rather he have many more years on this earth, I know that the odds aren't in favor of that.  Then again, he sees his doctors so frequently, he may end up making it to 100.

After talking to my mother, I ended up taking one of my anxiety PRNs.  It's helped considerably.   Despite all of my anxiety issues, I am a proponent of not relying on medications unless they are truly necessary...well, given the last few days, it was finally truly necessary.