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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

No sit-down nursing job available







I followed up today on a lead for a job, doing MDS+ work at my former place of employment.  I was told they had handled the 
help shortage inhouse so there was no need for my services.

I was only mildly disappointed.

It has come down to a choice between doing MDS+ work  at a nursing home or retire from nursing, and find a part time job doing something other than nursing.  That really sounds good to me.  My back and hip are becoming very demanding.  If I stand for long, my lower back and hip start to hurt.  If I sit for long, my hip  really hurts and the pain travels in waves down my leg to my knees, then back up to my lower back.  I can't work like this for more than 10 minutes without breaking into tears.

Even doing dishes and mild housework is becoming difficult. I see my mother working in spite of  her tremendous pain, and I just want to tell her to sit down and we'll do it for you.  But she would never hear of that, not in her own home.  So we just try to help her as we can. Chatting while drying the dishes she has just washed makes for great bonding times.

So now that I have made my decision to retire from nursing, I can start going through my home and remove the items I have used for so many years.  The stethoscopes I have purchased over the years, the hundreds of nursing books, medication books, weight loss books that are not being used, obviously, will all go online for sale.  I have an eBay account, and an Amazon.com account.  I will start using those again.

I still have my Pink Zebra and my Paparazzi businesses, and I'm actively searching for a storefront to move all of that to a store to sell them.  I hope to take in consignments of crafts, art, quilts, crocheted and knitted items.  I think it would go over pretty well, as there are some very talented craftsmen and many artists in this area.

So, as I prepare to go to bed, I will dream of working toward my store, which I will share with a couple of friends, and the freedom from nursing.  I enjoyed my nursing career.  I loved taking care of the elderly, and may still volunteer at nursing homes from time to time.  I could call bingo, read their mail and just talk to them. My license is still active, so I could be RN coverage for a while. But I can no longer work the floor, doing the med passes, treatments, where I would have to get  up and down from the floor or bending over the beds.

I have reached the point where my health must be a priority if I want to keep living until my grandchildren are grown.  So, why do I feel so guilty?  Why do I feel like I'm letting everyone down...especially my dear husband who is retirement age already and feels he can't retire for a while yet?  Am I being selfish?  I guess time will tell.

Lord, please show me the way you want me to go. Help me to find the wisdom to see your path, and the courage to follow it. Amen.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

To Retire or Not To Retire?

Last week was very unsettling for me.  After over 20 years of working as a charge nurse on the floor, I had finally found a job that seemed tailor-made for me.  I was doing MDS+ reports for an area nursing home.  I had no real in-depth training, but I was learning quickly from the Director of  Nursing, the Administrator, and the Restorative Director on how to gather the information, plug it into the computer program, and print out the reports that were needed.  I had been awarded a $2.50/hr raise to cover the extra mileage to my job. I had my own office that I was having a blast decorating for each holiday, and making it my own.

Then the world stopped turning.

After a relaxing and enjoyable weekend, I clocked in to work at my usual time, a little before 8:00 a.m.  I went to my office and settled in at my desk.  I was just getting started with the chart of one of the residents, working on some assessments, when the D.O.N. and Administrator entered my office and said "Is this a good time to talk?  We need to discuss something with you."  Naturally, when they closed the door, my heart flew up into my throat.  I must have done something dreadfully wrong.  What could it have been?

They told me they had attended a budget meeting the prior Wednesday, and that since the census was low, that there were cuts to be made.  They told me the finance director had said that the logical cut would be to eliminate a position.  I knew then. I was being laid off.  I took a drink of water to keep from choking on my heart, which had progressed up into my neck.  Oh no, not now!

The summer before I was hired at the nursing home, we had gone through a severe crisis.  My husband, Dennis had undergone 5 cardiac bypasses and one in his neck to his carotid.  Dennis was off work from the middle of May to mid October.  We had sold items from our home, borrowed money against Dennis' income from his employer, and cut back on many expenses, but the medical bills were pouring in from his surgeries.  We were just beginning to get back on our feet a little bit at a time.

I asked if there would be any severance pay. "No, I"m sorry."

I knew I didn't have any vacation time built up.  I was screwed.

I asked how long I  had to work.  They told me to finish the assessment document that I was working on, which only needed my signature.  They left my office after repeating that it wasn't anything I had done or hadn't done, that I was perfect for the job and they really didn't want me to leave.  They even had tears in their eyes.

I returned the chart to the chart rack in the nurses' office. Requested some boxes, and started sorting out my items from theirs. When I had packed almost everything up, I asked the maintenance man for assistance in carrying the boxes to my car.  He was busy with a plumbing task, so the nurses, aides, and even the DON and Administrator carried boxes out to my car.  There was a round of hugs all around, and I left.  I want to clarify that I do not blame anyone at the nursing home for my predicament.  It wasn't my fault either.  It was simply a business decision, and I was the logical choice to be eliminated.  I was the latest hired, and my job could be done, and will be done by the DON and other staff, as it was before.  I made many new friends at the nursing home, and I believe they will miss me as much as I miss them. I'm still in touch with them on Facebook.

All the way home, my mind was running a thousand miles an hour.  Now what would I do?  I really didn't want to go back to charge nursing.  My degenerative disk disease in my back was making that impossible for me.  In fact, that was why I had left my last job which was only 15 miles away, to take this job which was 35 miles away..so I could work sitting down.   MDS+ coordinators generally hang on to their jobs forever, so I knew there wasn't much chance I'd find another one.  Besides, I still wasn't completely trained in the position.

I thought about a friend who was interested in opening a shop with me locally, with our art, crafts, and various business offerings.  I sell Paparazzi Jewelry, and she was a recruit in the business.  I also sell Pink Zebra scent beads, and she sells a new concept in ladies' boots, plus a couple of other ventures.  We wanted to set up shop somewhere downtown where the traffic would be better for both of us.  Maybe we could do that now.

I thought about trying to get a job at the bank or somewhere else nearby.  That way, if sales were poor in our shop, I'd have something to fall back on.  But most of the jobs available were for charge nurses, or else CNAs, which are both hard on the back.

I never announced my job loss to anyone, until just the last day or so..when I told my friend, and my mother, and my daughter.  I didn't even tell Dennis at first, because I was afraid of how his heart would react. I didn't him to go through last summer again.

The other night, Dennis called me from out on the road.  He suggested maybe I should just retire from nursing and find something part time locally to do to have spending money.  We discussed ways to cut spending even further.  Things seemed to be looking up for me, but I felt sorry for Dennis, who would now have to carry the brunt of the bills.

No definite decisions have been made yet.  I'm watching the want ads, and the real estate ads for a location for our store.  I'm looking at ways to cut expenses.  I'm also trying to catch up on my housecleaning, which has become grossly neglected.  I'm counting on prayer to help me find the way that I should go.  All prayers from my readers are always welcomed too.  To retire..or not to retire..that is the question.