I began my career as a staff nurse on a surgical floor in the healthcare facility where I attended nursing school. I was thrilled to get a position in one of the most respected teaching hospitals in the Philadelphia area. Working on a surgical floor was okay, but I knew from the start it wasn't quite the right fit. Within 5 months, the critical care unit was short-staffed; when they reached out for volunteers to transfer to critical care, I immediately volunteered. The transition was anxiety-provoking, stressful, exciting, and everything I hoped for. I loved working in a high-tech, fast-paced environment with a talented multidisciplinary team, where I could actually help people who needed it the most. This care environment motivated me to work my way up the ranks, first as a preceptor, then as clinical leader, and finally as nurse manager.
But life happens, and suddenly my motivation transitioned to family. With the birth of my first child, I resigned my position as nurse manager, assumed a relief night nurse position, and spent days caring for my daughter. As my family grew, it was the perfect situation. I was able to continue the career I loved, avoid the daycare shuffle, and launch a side job as a freelance clinical editor...perfect career options!
But as anyone who has worked nights knows, years of missing out on much needed sleep to volunteer at school during the day, attending sporting events and concerts in the evening, and scrambling home to catch a nap before work takes it's toll. So, as my children grew older I explored my options, applied for employment with a freelance client, and landed a position as a part-time clinical editor. It was a unique opportunity to express my creative side while applying my nursing skills. But as the cliche goes, all good things must come to an end...our company was sold to a major corporation, part time positions were eliminated, and hi ho, hi ho, it's back to the hospital I go...More opportunities in critical care, and then eventually, in infection control and prevention. As you can see, nursing is a career filled with endless, exciting opportunities; opportunities that can fit every stage of life.
What career options have you explored to keep you motivated as a nurse? I'd love to hear your story.