October 26, 2014

Cancelled on a Sunday...as anyone who is a nurse or CNA in a hospital knows, this is as rare of an occurrence as pigs flying.  

Part of me is happy to now have a three-day weekend (I am off tomorrow).   Also, I'm working next weekend--those hours are guaranteed--and it's nice to not have to work two weekends in a row.  And I do have to keep catching up on my class:  I'm still a couple of weeks behind my schedule.

And part of me is insecure about my ability to get future hours, even though I know very well that this is how the float pool works.  You put in hours and you're not guaranteed any of them.  And you're competing against other float pool nurses for whatever hours they do have.  Plus the float pool increased by one--a nurse who was out on extended leave is back in the rotation.  And from what I've heard, she's making a lot of noise about how she should be getting hours for herself. 

Though things usually work out for me--at least somewhat work out.  I was worried about November being a famine month, until I looked at my calendar and realized that since I wrote that post, I have picked up enough odd assignments here and there to fill up most of my schedule.  Plus I could always call job #2--they'd NEVER cancel me on a weekend.  I know the facility is short-staffed because my agency has been advertising for nurses.

I'm so looking forward to meeting my therapist tomorrow.  I feel like every other post in here is about my anxiety in some way.  Though it's better for me to hash out with my insecurities here than to hash them out at work or with my family.  I don't think work would be very understanding or sympathetic...they'd see me more as a liability than anything.  And my family doesn't need that stress.

October 19, 2014

I'm a little disappointed in myself...OK, a lot

One of my hobbies is participating in half-marathons.  I don't run them.  I started out strictly walking them, and can walk one in about 4 hours.  This spring, I trained to walk/run one, and completed one in March in 3h 20m.  I signed up for one in November which should have been a delight:  completely flat course, cool weather, along the ocean.

The problem is that I haven't trained for it.  Not at all.  The weather this summer made being outdoors to walk/run long distances nearly impossible.  I haven't had a lot of free time because of work and the kids, and the free days I had...well, I was too busy being a comatose vegetable on my days off.

I logged a total of 4 miles since my training start date 2 months ago.

Over morning coffee, I thought about what I was going to do.  There are 4-week half-marathon training programs out there, but with my work schedule and the kids (plus that ED class!) over those next four weeks, I don't have a lot of free time to run them.  Plus I'm no spring chicken.  This body isn't 20 anymore and I can't push it from 0 to 60 as well as I used to. I don't want an injury.   I can't afford to be injured. 

I could just walk the race:  after all, I know I've done it several times before...but that thought was for some reason rather depressing to me.  I think it's because I did so well walk/running in the spring race, that to just walk this one seems like a big step back.  Also, I still need to train somewhat for walking 13.1 miles.  It's physically as well as mentally taxing--seriously, trying being your own company for 4 hours of activity--and both endurance and mind need conditioning.

I can't transfer my registration to the following year.  Bah.  So I'm out the fee no matter what.

So I decided to offer the registration to my brother-in-law.  He's always talked about doing a half-marathon, and I'd rather see someone use my registration than for it to be a total loss.  If he doesn't want it, I'll offer it to my sorority running group and see if anyone takes it.

I feel like a failure for doing this.  I know I'm not a failure.  I can't always control what happens in life, and with work and kids keeping me busy.  The fact that I was aware of and acknowledged I can't do it says something.  I'm aware of my limitations.  I'm choosing the option that I feel overall is the best for me.  There's always the March half-marathon (which I am already registered for). 

Yet at the same time, I feel like I could have made more of an effort to train.  I could have went to the Y and walked part of the way on the treadmill, or cross-trained, or done something to be active.  I could have dropped some weight.  I could have taken the kids to the park with me as I walked.  I could have postponed the ED course until next year, since I had signed up for the half-marathon before I registered for the course.

Ah well.   Something--in addition to my anxiety--to talk about with my therapist when I finally meet her at the end of the month. 

October 18, 2014

I'm taking a certificate course online through my local state college to help bolster the resume and diversify.  Yes, it's the ED course.  I figured this was as good of as time as any to do it.  It's online, all self-driven:  the instructor gave us all the lectures and the assignments, told us we were adults so it was up to us to turn things in as we finish them, and to please not turn in everything during the last week.

Now, I decided to try something a little different.  We all know how grade driven I can get...well, this course I intentionally signed up for as pass/fail.  I had two reasons for doing this.  First, I want to try to ease up on being grade-driven.  Let's face it:  an A looks good on paper but a lot of employers couldn't care less, especially now that I'm an experienced nurse.  So let's focus more on the material itself than on the GPA I can get.  Second, I have a lot of stuff going on in life and I want to ease the stress in whatever areas I can.

And I have learned that while I am grade-driven, it also motivates me to get stuff done.

I divvied up the assignments and set arbitrary due dates for each one.  I'm already behind schedule on the first assignment.  I still haven't finished the first lecture, and I haven't even touched the textbook, and we're going on what, 3 weeks now?

*sigh*

I'm going to try to regain some lost ground this weekend and get the assignment turned in on Monday.  I'll push back my next assignment's due date a week, and then over the following assignments try to regain the ground I lost.

Next part of this course...I think I should take with the letter-grade option, and learn to live with not getting an A.

October 16, 2014

Feast is turning into famine...

I've been getting cancelled a little more often than usual lately.  And I looked at my calendar and realized that I have very little guaranteed shifts scheduled for November.  Four, in fact.  Of course, I'm going to submit availability for a lot more days than that, and see if I'm cancelled the morning of them.  And I know that any weekend shift I put in to pick up is pretty much guaranteed.  But as of right now, I can only bank on four days.

There are two causes behind this.  First, finances.  Now that I've moved from per-diem to the float pool, I'm costing them a little more...this is because I'm getting paid a little more.  And because per-diems are cheaper than float pool, the preference is to staff with per-diems first, then add on float staff as--or more like if--needed.  I knew this before I signed on, so I'm not entirely surprised.  I've been getting the same level of work since switching over from per-diem to staff though...because they don't have a lot of per-diems around.  But rumor has it that they've hired one and plan to get another one.  

Second is that the new grad residents have started.  Even though it's early in the residency and they're feeling their way, they are taking on a patient load...a small one, but a load nonetheless.  Yes, a staff member is tied up precepting/shepherding the new student, but given that the preceptor isn't ever going to have more than 6 patients anyway, it's not a horrible handicap to care for patients and precept in this state, IMO.   At my last job, I managed my own new grad AND carried a patient load averaging 8-10. 

Plus compared to float staff...and per-diems...heck, even to a regular staff nurse at my experience level, the new grad is ridiculously cheap.

Job #3 doesn't have anything for me right now...then again, they offer shifts by seniority and I'm still one of the lowest on the totem pole.  I offered them practically the whole month of November and never heard a peep from them, so I'm taking that as they've got nothing for me.  Still, they could have dropped me a note.

Ah well.  Guess I will call job #2 and make myself a little more available to them.

It's nice to see new grads entering psych though.

October 7, 2014

Did you know...

That in the state of California, breastfeeding a child is a valid reason to request a jury duty exemption for up to 12 months, and that you can keep requesting the exemption for as long as you are breastfeeding?

See you next year, courthouse...maybe.  

October 4, 2014

I have to find a way to let the regular readers (all 6 of you) be able to have your comments go through without their being moderated...I had comments from 9/14 that I just now noticed and published.

It's been a busy month.

I haven't seen Job 2 in over a month, and they're calling me weekly to ask for hours.  That's because it's been all Jobs 1 and 3.   I had to cover for two vacations, one sick nurse, a convention, the Jewish New Year (Happy New Year if you're Jewish), and odd vacation days here and there.  Most work weeks were 5 days; a couple were 6.  I had to start turning requests down.

It's come to the point that I had to revamp my Google calendar to create a sub-calendar just for my work schedule.

Fortunately that's eased up for a bit.  Last week was relatively light:  only a 4 day work week.  This week should be 3 or 4 days depending on if I get cancelled one of those days.  No more than that though:  I have a couple of days set aside for plans with the little ones and I will not break those plans.  Plus I want one day just to myself.

I can't deny the financial aspect of my working like crazy is very nice.  I'm getting paid some serious bank.  I'm shoving most of it into savings; the rest is going towards fixing things around the house.

I do admit that I'm starting to tire of this per-diem lifestyle though.  I'm looking fondly at the prospect of being on one unit, with set and fairly guaranteed hours, a schedule I know in advance, and the same coworkers and routine.  I'm looking to firmly establish myself in one environment, instead of just floating.  It'd be a pay cut, but I'm getting more and more attracted to that stability.

At least Job 1 now lets me get around to more of the units and start networking...one of those units may end up being where I settle.  And Job 3 does have lots of opportunities they are constantly posting, including ones outside of psych that I might just be able to qualify for with a little training.  

So in all of this, I went back to my psychiatrist.   I was restarted on some non-controlled medication to manage my general anxiety.  Medication 1 worked great but left me exhausted.  Medication 2 doesn't leave me exhausted, but is still under patent so I have to pay the brand-name co-pay...and that co-pay has doubled since 2012.

Ouch.

I Googled the cost of it without insurance...it's near $300.   It won't be available in generic until sometime in the 2020s.

I don't know if I'll be on this one because of the cost, though I've found out that my insurance company offers mail-order prescription services that will be cheaper than going to my local drugstore.  I'll need a 90-day script though...but that's OK.  I'll see how I'm feeling over the next week and if I still feel good, I'll get the script and give the mail order a go.

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.