April 6, 2010

Cold feet

I got the permanent offer.  Same rate (good, I thought it'd be lowered), paid days off after 60 days, benefits (not really needed but nice), same balance of shifts, and based primarily in the unit I want to be in, though I will still have to float as needed.  So I went ahead and signed.

And felt immediately horrible.  I was sick to my stomach on the way home, when registering my little one for school, when grocery shopping, when eating dinner...you get the idea.  I feel...trapped.  Like there's no more freedom.  No way out.  Like I'm at their mercy now instead of having some control.

I did get dinner down the gullet, then decided to sit down and write it out.  See, I do use the coping skills that I teach my patients for myself. 

I decided that right now I'm experiencing the nursing equivalent of cold feet.  I was a carefree bachelor(ette) before  this and now I'm making a committment--it's only understandable that I'm going to feel awkward about it.  And it's not as though things are changing drastically.  Cases in point:

  • Freedom of scheduling.  The reality is that ever since I was hired 8 months ago, I have pretty much worked the exact same schedule.  On rare occasion I swapped days or didn't put in for a day...for the most part you could plan your life around my schedule.  Hopefully they won't play too much havoc with my hours--they know I have a little one and that I'm willing to plan around him and do different days, but they have to give me advance notice.

  • Vacation:  why am I upset over this because since when have we taken a vacation?  The last one was in 2003.  Like we're suddenly going to now...not with my better half's work schedule.  And I did find out that if necessary and I don't have enough vacation time, I can take days off without pay (with supervisor approval).

  • Hours:  I've been putting in 32+ before this.   I've been hired for 32.  It's not as though they've tacked on an extra shift.  I am concerned about being there for my little one, especially with school starting.  But the way it is now, half the time I work while he is in school; the other shifts my better half has him for quality bonding time.  The child is not living his life in daycare. 

  • Security:  that was more insecurity than anything, though with the hiring tear they've been going on it may have been possible that I'd be competing with too many other PRN staff for hours.  I'm still a new grad until I hit that magic year, and with this job market I really don't feel like I can scale my hours back.  But now it's nice to know that my hours are guaranteed.  Also, now I'm more likely to be assigned to my unit.  I don't really mind floating, but it's also nice to have more consistency, you know?

  • The unit.  I picked it...so you know it's detox.  The staff is happy to have me come on permanently, and I'm happy to have  a good staff to be joining.  Also, I was terrified of being assigned to the depressive or stepdown units.  I'd have rather gone to the intensive care unit.

  • Last...it's not forever.  I didn't sign any length-of-service contract.  I can drop back to PRN if I need to (though they prefer I wait a few months because people have abused it in the past).  Also, I do live in an employment-at-will state, so I could always walk with no more than two weeks' notice and a "so long and thanks for all the fish."

So if I still feel like this tomorrow, I'll cancel the wedding.  Otherwise, this could be interesting.

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