Career, Personal Development, Spirituality

Trusting The Process: Boundaries

I’ve learned that much like romantic relationships, friendships, family, it’s important to set boundaries with work. It’s important to understand what works for me and what makes me comfortable. The keywords here are: what makes me comfortable. Boundaries, setting limits that allow you to feel safe, is a very personal thing. It’s not something that one can compare to others or use others to decide what will and will not be okay in one’s world. This is how we end up feeling very unsafe and get ourselves into trouble by losing touch with ourselves.

When I started nursing, I had very loose boundaries. My intention was to give and give and give until I had nothing left. I never quite understood what it meant to have one’s “cup fulleth over”. And in my ignorance, I often felt that one had to sacrifice all of who they were in order to be a “good nurse”. As time progressed, and as experience would have it, I burned out. Many times. This tends to happen when you don’t set boundaries for yourself. You reach a point where you have nothing left to give to yourself. It’s important that we take care of ourselves, particularly in a service profession. You need to take care of yourself first. I believe that it is from my ability to take care of myself first that I give my best to others, not from my inability to do so. I often think about all the safety videos they provide to us in hospitals. Before entering a patient’s room who is on airborne, contact, droplet precaution, it’s important that we first put on our own safety equipment. That’s a boundary. A very important boundary at that.

One of the things I’ve been examining over the last few months is why my boundaries were so loose with work to begin with. And one of the things that I came to realize is that I often time I proceeded to look for jobs out of a place of fear and lack. This is a big deal. It’s also very common for people to do. If you believe that there aren’t enough jobs to go around, if you believe that you will never again get the thing you want, then you hold onto it so tightly, give up so much of what you value, and compromise yourself in order to keep it. I didn’t trust in the process of life.

I’ll share my story here:

About a year ago, I decided not to purchase a house in an area I loved, in a state I adored and ended my travel nurse contract short so that I could take a position in the neonatal intensive care unit in my original hospital of employment. It was the first hospital I ever worked at. I cried. Despite desperately wanting a change from the world of med-surg, I knew I didn’t like working at this hospital. Every nurse knows about the variety of cultures that exist from hospital to hospital and from unit to unit. But I accepted the position because I really wanted to explore the world of babies. That was the start of the most difficult, isolating, and lonely year of my nursing career. I loved the babies and the NICU was no where NEAR as stressful as my experiences with med-surg. But I felt so incredibly alone in that place that I often found myself going home crying. I’ve written about my experiences with my preceptor when I first started and how it seemed to corrupt the entire space of the NICU for me. I trusted few, I spoke even less. During that time, however, I was able to get into graduate school. The school I originally wanted.

I truly believe that my experiences as a travel nurse combined with accepting the position in the NICU was exactly what I needed to get in. I was able to get a recommendation from someone at every hospital I worked at during that time. In addition to this, it gave me a reason to ask to cut my hours back to part time hours. But it wasn’t enough. I found myself still burning out. Though I wasn’t physically exhausted, psychologically, I didn’t feel right. I took myself to therapy. I told my therapist that the thing I have discovered the most about myself is that I have a hard time surrendering when it comes to work. I went over my entire process with her to fill her in on where I am right now. I told her that I have a hard time telling the truth about what it is I want with my work life because I’ve afraid nothing better will ever come along. I remembered praying and hearing the question: What would it take for you to leave this situation? I said “More money, closer to home, good benefits”. Within two hours I received a call from a hospital I had not applied to in 2 years. The conversation went like this:

Recruiter: “Hi, we have your resume saved on file and I saw written on our notes with you that you’re currently working in the NICU? We were looking for someone who was willing to cross train to labor and delivery and was wondering if you’d be willing to do that?”

Me: Well…(tell the truth) I’m actually looking to do something more in line with what I’m learning in school. I’d like to work in something like progressive care or telemetry…

Her: We actually have those! Let me pull it up here…What shift do want?

Me: I’m open to all shifts actually…

Her: Well, we have a day shift but we would be more than happy to have you do either/or or both. The only catch it’s that it’s not in the area near where you currently work. It’s actually located in _____.

Me: That’s actually 15 minutes away from me!

Her: Really? Awesome! Does that mean you’re interested?

Me: It sounds promising. But might I ask, what’s the pay like?

Her: It depends on experience. I see you have 4 years? So around __ an hour. And that’s the base rate. It goes up with weekends and night shift.

It was more than what I currently made an hour base rate. Almost $5 more!

She went on to explain the benefits and they were exactly what I looked for. I hung up the phone and I was in awe. How was this happening? I wanted to cry. I finally saw that I had options and didn’t have to stay in a situation that made me feel lost and confused. I felt empowered.Now, I didn’t take the position. What?! I know. But as my energy started to return I found other positions became more readily available to me, closer to home, more pay, greater flexibility. I took a different position. It was a huge lesson to me about trusting the process.

I’m at the point now where I no longer fear losing my job or letting a position go that isn’t conducive to my own health and well-being because I understand now what it means to trust the process of life. I’m also aware now of the difference between walls and boundaries. Walls are rigid entities that keep me in and everything else out. Walls keep me from learning and growing. Boundaries are flexible forces, they keep me (and others) safe while allowing me to interact in a healthy way with my environment. They are important. I understand now that trusting the process means moving out of a place of lack and moving forward even when I cannot see the path. It will be okay. I will be okay. 

 

Career, Personal Development

Communication Styles: Are You Passive?

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So the picture above is a reflection of the three main communication styles. I am passive. I wrote in my previous blog that I am in the Esteem phase of my development. This is why. It’s funny because I think I’ve known all along that I had self-esteem issues. But in college, I went through a “there is no self” phase while not really understanding what that meant in addition to experiencing hardships. Instead of beating myself into silence, I should’ve been seeking ways to empower myself, especially since I was in an environment that seemed to be working it’s damnest to leave me feeling defeated.

I’m now in a position where it’s important to speak up. Also, I’m not a little girl anymore. So it’s very important that I learn not only to advocate for myself at work and in public but to also communicate in a way that’s clear, concise, honest, and effective. If I’m not, I now feel that I’ve defeated the purpose of communication. For this reason, I’ve begun to do conduct research on assertive communication styles. I’ve read these before and many of these I already know but it never hurts to be reminded. It’s not enough to just be aware of this information, but rather it’s important now that I utilize it.

I’ve been paying attention to how I am in public settings. During my mid-point evaluation, I found myself slouching, crouching my shoulders, whispering, staring at the ground, sometimes avoiding eye contact, blushing. I also noticed myself tensing up and clenching the pen in my hand. I had the same kind of behavior during the rounds with the MDs and Charge nurse. This behavior communicates shyness, uncertainty, insecurity. Now contrast this with how I am when communicating with my family, I am relaxed. During this time, my expressions and my words align and I project my voice in a way that allows me to be heard and understood. This is effective communication. I’m still reading and researching looking for new tips and reminders on what assertiveness is and looks like because I think I would like help in this area. And my goal going forward is to implement these. Reducing my nervous laughter, and just working on speaking up and projecting my voice.

 

Career, Education, Personal Development

A 5 Year Plan

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Hey everyone!

Right now, I’m currently training in the Neonatal ICU and hoping to go to graduate school this year. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, because I haven’t been feeling like I’m living up to my full potential. It makes me feel restless. Last year, as some of you know, I got into a doctoral program but turned it down because I was exploring other options and wasn’t quite sure why I wanted to go to graduate school. But I have a greater desire for autonomy and personal fulfillment and I’ve decided to try again. Hopefully, I get the school I want.

I made a five year plan and because of this I’ve decided to go to school full time if I do get in. I’ll be almost 30 and I’m thinking about starting up my own clinic/business overseas where I can provide healthcare in mostly an outpatient setting. I want to work in Primary practice, for myself, so that’s what I’d at least like to start undertaking within the next five years. But the first step is to get recommendations and start applying to grad school.

Readers, do you have a 5 year plan? 

Career

Babies

I’m ending my travel contract early so that I can take up a new staff position working with babies. I’ll be working in the IMC Nursery as well as cross training for the Neonatal ICU starting mid-February.5b0b645324fd54690a8ade57fd2bab33

So much has transpired since the last time I wrote here. I’ve undergone so much healing in the last few months and I’m at peace. Not again, not “back to normal”. Not something I’ve been through before and I’m now on my comfort zone kind of thing. Just peace. Just being. Lately I can feel my consciousness expanding as cords have been cut and my soul is free to continue to explore this place it was put on to explore.

I’ve travelled. I have no regrets. Ive met wonderful people, tasted amazing food, and experienced beautiful weather. I let a lot of people go and embraced a lot of new, uplifting, enlightening souls. I’ve fallen in and out of love. Ive been alone and with others and reencountered the Divine. And now I’m here. Born into a new level of consciousness. And I’ll be working with babies as they make this transition from the womb to this life.

I don’t know what to expect. I have no expectations really. I’m just here, now, allowing the process to unfold as it needs to.

Career, Musings

Fingers Crossed

I applied for a new specialty today.

But here’s my question…

Am I suppose to have all my ducks in a row? I don’t know. Am I suppose to know everything? I couldn’t tell you. Granted, yes, I am trying to find my niche and there’s things being sorted out on the relationship ‘sphere at the moment. But right now…right now everything is different.

Arizona (like Iowa and Texas) has been good for me. And like I’ve been saying over and over there’s just some things that I just can’t and won’t do anymore. If anyone is looking for a girl/woman who has life all figured out and some serious self-help advice, then I am not the one to go to. I am not going to preach to you about the pursuit of happiness or peace of mind, etc. Of course I’ll try to help. But I don’t have all the answers. I’m growing, sure. I have moments when I’m happy,sad, angry, confused, miserable, etc. I make mistakes. My mind races from time to time (as is evidenced by my earlier posts). I do dumb shit at times. But…meh…I’m sick of coming down hard on myself all the time too.

Career, Education

Graduate School While Traveling

So, I got into a doctoral program to become a DNP with an FNP specialty. Yay! I’m super excited and a little nervous. Everything happened all at once (per usual with my life) and so now I’ll be a travel RN all while getting my Doctoral degree (full time?part time?). Even though this means that I’ll have to cut my travel nursing days a little short, I’m okay with that because…well…I care more about my educational advancement and becoming an FNP. Once I have that doctoral degree and my APRN licensing, I know that I can go on to become a locums tenens which sits quite well with me at this stage in my life. I’m incredibly happy to be accepted into the program and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to go and become all that I can be!

Career, Musings

Not All Who Wander

I think my first travel assignment is relatively low paying. But what’s so funny is that I can’t seem to find it in me to care. I was more interested in finding a supportive unit with great nurse to patient ratios, a positive and supportive manager, and a nice location. As long as I can pay my bills and have a few hundred left over for saving, recreational books, and exploring, I’m content. It’s almost needless to say that money has never been a good enough incentive for me to do things. Personal growth usually is.

My aunt reminded me last night that I’ve been talking about traveling since I was in high school. She reminded me that before I even received my degree, I was talking about wanting to be a travel nurse and that I was eager to see the world. It’s funny because I couldn’t remember voicing that desire to anyone. I think I got even more confident that this was a good choice when I discovered that I could also travel as a nurse practitioner. It feels nice to know that my desire to travel doesn’t have to end with the DNP and a slight alter in scope of practice. I’m happy to discover that I can do a lot of this online. It feels even better to know that there are people who travel while in Graduate school as well. It makes me feel like it’s possible to live the life of my dreams and to accomplish the things I want to accomplish.

Here’s to hoping~