August 5, 2009

Enlightenment and lots of other little stuff

It's been a few days since I last wrote, so this will be long.

Monday morning started off on a down note when a recruiter from a nursing agency called me.  She asked me how much experience I had, and when I told her I was a new grad, she groaned.   I thanked her for her time and put a fast end to the call.

Seriously, WTF?  Yes, I know my life sucks right now but no need to act like I have the plague....or I am the plague.   No wonder why everyone says that nurses eat their young.

Monday morning had another crisis when I went to iron my clothing for the interview and found that I did not have an iron--I had forgotten that that last one was broken and I had thrown it out.   The pants were in good condition after a quick tumble in the dryer, but the shirt could not be saved.  Fortunately, I had a spare shirt in the closet, brand new but not worn (it is summer and the shirt is on the heavy side).   

The interview on Monday went well.  They had lost my paperwork from the first visit, which worked in my favor as I had updated my resume considerably since then--it was no problem at all to fill out a new form.  I handled the questions well and passed the impromptu drug quiz.   I told her I can take full or part-time, benefits were nice but not necessary, and I can start as soon as they'd have me.  The only problems here are that they really want full-time nights, which I can't do during the week (weekends, sure), and that I don't have any experience in this particular area of nursing.  She said she'd be in touch over the next couple of weeks, so I thanked her for her time, left to purchase a stash of nice stationery and a new iron, and sent off a Thank You note to her.   Again, this is my long-shot, so I'm not exactly optimistic that I'll get it, especially since she wants full-time...I'd love to be able to pull part-time weekends there though. 

Checked in at all the local hospitals; applied for the couple of new positions that specifically didn't have "NO NEW GRADS" stamped on them; asked about any job fairs or new grad positions coming up.   Went through the job postings in my inbox, saw that most of them had "experienced RN only" and was disheartened.  Looked at the classifieds to see that if I were a LPN or a CNA, that I could have been hired yesterday.  But RNs, nope.

"New grad."  Two years ago...even a year ago, it was a beautiful thing to be.  Now I rank right along with the other pests of society.  What also doesn't help me is that I had come to the painful realization that right now, with my better half's job and my little one's schedule, second shifts and nights are really not doable for me.  On the weekends, they are.  During the week...it could be done but it'd be damn hard.   The problem is that a lot of places have enough day staff and need nights.  Or if they did have a day opening, they're not going to give it to a new grad fresh out of the blocks.

Continue, please.

Tuesday started off with a pile of rejections and the need to find a new preschool for my little one.  I reapplied to a couple of the jobs I was rejected from and lined up several preschools to interview.   Went to a bridge BSN information seminar...liked what I heard so much that I applied to the program.  I'll be really surprised if I don't get in, given my grades and the fact that I have all but a couple of the prerequisite classes done, and those I would have until the date of graduation (2012?) to complete.  But I'm learning not to take anything for granted lately. 

Driving back is when I had a moment of enlightenment...in the rain, on a bendy road, while feeling pretty crappy about my life, is when it hit me:  perhaps I'm not meant to work in a hospital right now.   Yes, that's all they drilled into our heads in nursing school:  get a job on a floor, it's the only way to build experience, you'll never be able to do anything without putting a year of med-surg hospital in first, everything else is career-killing dead end.   Any nursing forum tells me the same thing.

But is it really going to be the end of the world if I don't go right into a hospital floor?   No one's hiring, I'm not the only one trapped in this limbo, and my working hours are limited for the next couple of years anyway...so why kill myself over trying to get the impossible?  

Yes, it is kind of the end of the world, as a hospital job was my goal.  Not because nursing school pounded it into my head, but because it's one thing I always wanted to do.   And I admit to feeling like a failure because I couldn't land a hospital job, neverminding that there's tons of other new nurses out there with similar or better qualifications who can't either. 

But I have to admit that when the thought crossed my mind, I felt relieved.  It was though I didn't have a foot on the back of my neck anymore...the pressure eased.   After all, there's tons of nurses out there who don't go immediately into a hospital after graduation.  Many end up making it there years later, while plenty of others find happiness and success in other areas.

I went home and shared the enlightenment with my better half, who agreed there might be something it.  I think he was thrilled not to see me at wits' end for a change.

So now, a small change of tack:  I'm still going to apply to hospital jobs, but only for the hours I can work...except for the one that I really want to work at--they can have me whenever they want.  I'm going to start looking a LOT more at other fields:  LTC, nursing homes, clinics, schools, etc., in the hours that can work for me.  I'll still be volunteering at the clinic and perhaps elsewhere.  I'm going to keep getting my certifications.   I'll get to a hospital floor eventually, though maybe not until after my BSN at this rate.  And speaking of which, I guess I'm getting a BSN now instead of down the road.  I had hoped an employer would pay for it, but I guess I'll have to spring for it...and I decided that I'm going to do just that by applying for every scholarship and grant under the sun, selling off a few stocks, and/or even taking a loan out.

I spent a long time on the phone with a friend/classmate.  She's having no luck either, so we made a date later this week to tackle a few places head-on.  She also told me that one of my classmates who was interviewed and didn't get it because  she couldn't answer that "what would you do?" questions they gave her.  Now, I truly wish success for each and every one of my classmates, and I feel bad she didn't get the job as she is a lovely girl...but at the same time, I couldn't help but have a momentary feeling of Schadenfreude, more from me not being the only one who's getting denied left and right than from anything else.  At least she still has her current position.

But that, along with my interview with the pop drug quiz, were reminders of the need to stay on top of my own knowledge base.  And if I can't actually perform the skills, I can at least stay well-read on them.  Doing NCLEX review questions for fun might not be a bad idea either.

Today, I got the little one in a new preschool and followed up on the skilled nursing position (long story, and they'll have to call me back).  Have a few more places to apply to online, and I'm going to get the phone book, make a list of every possible place I could work and see if they're hiring.  I really am trying to move away from the "hospital or bust!" mentality.  Right now, that's just not working for me...and better I get some skill in any nursing field than no skill at all.

So the progress as of late:  it's all over the place, and I don't have a job yet.  But I feel better.

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