Can you overcome the cardinal sin of speaking up for yourself?

“If you aren’t failing every now & again.  It’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”   However, I have been paralyzed in a state of fear this past month.  Fear of making the wrong decision.  Fear of going back to work.  Fear of traveling for my job.  Fear that I made the wrong choice in deciding to pursue my goal of travel nursing.

As a full time staff nurse & as a travel nurse, I very rarely got into trouble.   However the expectations of a travel nurse are different.   Every nurse on the planet has had a confrontation with a patient or family member.  Yet as a travel nurse those are grounds for dismissal.  Staff treating you poorly & actively participating in hazing -you are suppose to smile, accept your shitty assignments, accept the crappy treatment, and be thankful you are working in this hell.   You are expected to put up with obnoxious, rude behavior from patients, family members, or staff.  And the ultimate cardinal sin is speaking up for yourself & protecting your own license.

Fear these past few weeks have consumed me because I committed the ultimate cardinal sin.   My assignment ended early because I am not into being abused by patients & apparently speaking up for yourself is a bad thing.   I don’t regret that decision.  I will always stand up for myself.  Are there lessons I can take away from this situation? Absolutely.  For now, I don’t wanna work nor bang on the drum all day.   Unless it was pressing, I have stayed home in my pajamas, slept, & hid from making a decision.  I also have joked about being a kept woman at home but you need a man for that first.  Clinically I am strong & always believe I have room for improvement.  I am compassionate & firm.  And I actually give a damn about my patients.  I want to know their stories.  Sometimes time and acuity doesn’t allow for that but I try.  I am not perfect, sorry, I am just a human being who like everyone else in the world.  However, why should I continue to give my best when it seems those things don’t matter.  It seems as though keeping your head down, making sure your are popular, & improving profit margins are all that matter.

Honestly, I could have been placed at another facility weeks ago but just have enjoyed being home with my family & friends.  I could have accepted a position an hour away but in my heart it just didn’t feel right.  And apparently close to home, I am overqualified for many full time positions and various nurse managers feel like I would be bored working for their facility.  Sometimes you can’t win.

How do you continue on a journey when you have been kicked multiple times?  How do you continue to believe in doing the right thing when it gets you in trouble?   I am a God fearing woman so I believe in grace, forgiveness, & trying not to live your life in fear.  God doesn’t let you suffer without a purpose.  I am trying to walk in the light of forgiveness & grace.  But sometimes it is hard.  The bumps, bruises, and cuts hurt especially when you know you have been done wrong & those who know you, work beside you, and support you also know you have been done dirty.

A full time position at home doesn’t look like it is going to pan out.  Traveling looks like it will be a necessary evil.  Yet, I am so scared to drive thousands of miles only from home to have to work in unsafe conditions, endure nurse on nurse hazing, not be supported by hospital administration, &/or have my work cancelled early because people want to lie and take pride in getting others to quit or have their contract terminated early.  Life is a journey & perhaps my friend is right.  “The trials you are going through right now aren’t even about you. They are to help someone in life.

They are a testimony to something far greater than you imagined.”   I hope he is right.   Now, if only I could look into a crystal ball & see what the future holds.

Sidenote of topic:  Let me clarify something.  I absolutely love what I do.  Healthcare is one of the few professions that rewards you in so many ways.  It teaches you something new medically & personally everyday.   However, in my opinion patient satisfaction scores has undermined healthcare professionals & is attempting to turn hospitals into hotels with trained people for your illnesses.  Where are the protections for healthcare providers?  I have been physically assaulted (punched, kicked, shoved, slapped), verbally threatened, called racial slurs, sexually harassed, & lied on.  I have endure nurse on nurse hazing. Worked with patient ratios that could have ended badly. And failed to be supported by hospital administrators or managers because patient satisfaction scores matter & everyone wants to make money.  I want to help people.  I want to touch lives & save lives.  But I will not endure working in an environment where I am not protected.  Perhaps wanting basic human rights is too much.

But if the bright lights don’t receive you

Feeling like a failure makes it hard to come out & tell people that you are back home earlier than expected.  Yes, I want to see the people that I love but when you are home early because of reasons that can’t really be explained – you just don’t feel like facing the ones you love.  Sacrificed in the name of patient satisfaction.  And in one moment you feel like the Matchbox Twenty lyrics: “But if the bright lights don’t receive you, you should turn yourself around and come on home.”

*sigh*  One year ago I made a decision to accomplish a goal; I decided to leave my full time job to become a traveling healthcare provider.  Morale was low at my old job so it was the perfect opportunity to see what the world had to offer.  I stepped out on faith & worked my first assignment.  Things were great.  My next assignment was absolutely horrible.  The next assignment was like returning back to an old lover & then I did it again.  I was living in a new city, experiencing new things, and learning about different ways of thinking.

Becoming a traveling professional has had it’s share of peaks and valleys.  I got to live in Texas & California.  I learned how to adapt to living in two vastly different areas.  I got to check off a few bucket list items – drive across the country & see the Pacific Ocean just to name two.  I have seen mountains, desert, & oceans.   I have had the opportunity to see how different life can be from one place to the next.   And the icing on the cake was meeting some amazing people some of which have become great friends & family.  However, this adventure has also had my integrity called into question, lost of money due to cancelled contracts, & made me question my own sanity in pursing this crazy dream of mine.

I learned that I am smarter, stronger, braver, & more resilient than I ever imagined about myself. Living the life of a gypsy has given me the ability to adapt more than I would have given myself credit for being able to do.   I learned maybe the big city isn’t exactly where I want to be.  But I also learned the country isn’t exactly where I want to be either.  Give me city with a suburban feel.    Valley of this adventure includes losing your job before the end of your contract which leaves you with money you didn’t expect to spend.  Losing out on time with family and friends.   Learning a new area only to have to leave in 13 – 26 months then having to leave and relearn an entirely new place.  Crying yourself to sleep because you are stressed & alone.  Starting relationships & losing relationships.  And honestly I wouldn’t have made it through this journey without the support of so many people through modern technology.
So, what is missing in my life?   The answer is stability.  Being a travel healthcare worker is amazing but the uncertainty between jobs is stressful.  I miss the decor and furniture I picked out for my place (it took me years to pick out each and every piece for my home).  I miss having a place of my own.  I miss my friends & family.  The freedom to design your own life is fabulous. There is money to be made if you take the gamble but do realize sometimes you bust.

The stress of having to find a new position every 3 months is exhausting.   I achieved a dream & am able to check off several items on my bucket list.  However I think I am craving stability.  The ability to have continual health insurance.  The ability to earn PTO, retirement benefits, & a stable income.  Having a home to go to that is truly mine.

My dilemma is I am not overly excited about working for any of the hospitals in my hometown. So, what is the solution?  Honestly, I have no idea.  I am trying to be silent and wait for clarity.  I ask God for direction but at the moment there is no answer.  Perhaps I am giving up to early in my traveling career.  I know that nothing is certain however I am tired of the constant uncertainty with my new adventure.  In this moment, the only thing I am certain of is that is amazing to be in my own bed.  It is wonderful to see the things I worked hard to buy.  It is comforting to see the faces of those who love me & I love.   And for right now that is enough for me.