How Fear Is Inspiring My Nursing Career
August 13, 2019
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I have a confession.  My biggest nursing career fear is working for an hourly wage as a floor nurse forever.

Of course there are other things I fear in my nursing career as well.  Such as staying burned out working 12’s hour shifts, physically being unable to work after decades of wear-and-tear, and not reaching my full career potential.

But the one thing that really keeps me up at night is the idea of not creating a future for myself that has flexibility, freedom, opportunity, and more money.  I have ambition, dammit. And its about time for a big change.

In order for me to make career decisions that will help me reach my fullest nursing career potential moving forward, I thought it was wise to revisit my career history.  What inspired and motivated me in the past?  Where are my strengths and weaknesses?  What are my biggest priorities from here moving forward and how to I reach them?

So, (deep breath) here we go… 

I was once an aspiring writer in college.

Way, way back in the day, before I ever even considered becoming a registered nurse, I was a journalism major with a minor in women’s studies.  I wrote for our student newspaper, The Orion, and I loved it.  I enjoyed the teamwork and even though I felt way in over my head a lot of the time I absolutely loved the challenge.

But then I graduated with a little debt and decided I was tired of being a poor college student.  I wanted money!  After looking at a few options and going on about 50 intense interviews I finally got my first job as a medical device salesperson.

Reflective takeaway:  I have experience working for an award-winning college newspaper.  I enjoyed the challenge and teamwork aspect.

Inspiring nursing career options

They say hindsight is 20/20. Can a deep dive into my career history inspire my future career as a nurse?

In my first career I sold medical devices to hospital operating rooms.

I spent the next decade working in the competitive field of surgical equipment sales for a fortune 100 company and a few medical device startups.  It was intense and I did very well, but there was always a feeling that I could be doing something even more important.  My soul was craving more clinical education and critical thinking.   I remember thinking to myself “I don’t want to work my whole career just being a salesperson!”  I needed a bigger purpose.

So after years of soul searching, I made the difficult decision to leave the field in pursuit of greater clinical medical knowledge.  I went back to school and achieved a BS in Nursing.

Reflective takeaway: I have many valuable professional skills that I can apply to other careers.  And I’m hyper competitive.

I became a second-career nurse.

I began my career specializing on a Neuroscience and Stroke unit and earned certifications as a Stroke Certified Registered Nurse and Public Health Nurse. In 2017, I began a new phase in my nursing career as an Emergency Room RN.

I love that I help others for a living and I enjoy the mental stimulation I get at work during my 12 hour shifts.  Becoming a nurse has even helped me deal with the craziness of motherhood in some ways because it helps me distinguish things that I should be concerned with from things that are not a big deal.  (I have my time on a neuro science floor and as an ER nurse to thank for that!)

However, the physical wear-and-tear and caregiver fatigue has got me feeling completely spent at times.  And upper-management within the hospital is not something I am interested in at all.

Reflective takeaway:  I enjoy using my clinical expertise to help others.  But I also need to make my own health needs a priority.  

I want to be a working mom who makes my own rules. Having children changes everything.

Starting a family intensified my biggest nursing career fear:  a lifetime of working 12 hour shifts at the hospital

Having children really does change everything.  I am grateful for all of the amazing experiences I have had in nursing.  However, I see the future through a different lens now.  My husband and I are currently raising two toddlers and my priorities are forever changed.  My purpose for success so completely different.  Now my reason for success is my family.

And so, here I am seven years into my nursing career and I have this gnawing sensation that I need to “blow up” my career again.  It is time to make room for more professional growth and development.

As a part of this process I made a list of my future career priorities:

  • Cerebral stimulation
  • Being a positive role model for my children
  • Freedom
  • Flexibly
  • Money

Reflective takeaway:   Becoming a parent changed my career priorities and needs.  Work-life balance is key.

Next (baby) steps…

In 2016 I created a nurse mom blog called MotherNurseLove.com.  In the sparse amount of free time I have I am creating a website, writing blog posts and taking courses to hone in on my new craft.   My venture is being crafted out of my love for writing, my business management experience, my clinical knowledge as a nurse and life experience as a mother.  I am creating my own opportunity that is more in line with my current career priorities (as mentioned above).

For clarity, my niche (or at least the niche I am striving to create) is:  “nurse mom lifestyle blogger with an emphasis on nurse self care”  My goal is to write about nurse mom lifestyle topics that interest me and finding helpful ways for nurses to take better care of themselves.

In conclusion

Turning my nursing career fear into a catalyst for growth is a process.   As I grow older (and hopefully wiser!) I am discovering that their are so many paths that nurses can take.  The sky is the limit as long as I work hard and continually open myself to learning new skills.

My ultimate goal:   To create a career for myself were I can combine my journalism degree with my nursing knowledge and motherly experience.  This is the first “career” I have ever had where I didn’t have to fill out an extensive application and interview for the position.  For the very first time, I am warming to the idea of being my OWN boss.  And I’m really looking forward to what the future will hold.

I hope you enjoyed this post.  If you are a nurse who is looking for alternative career options or want to find ways to take better care of yourself as a working mom and RN please join my email list below!

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