As I walked into an exam room to meet a new patient and provide surgical teaching, the first words out of her mouth were, "I know you!" I stared blankly, trying to figure out how. Turns out, she knows my sister, and knows me by association. Small world! It was a very nice visit to talk to someone who had wonderful things to say about Leslie.
Besides that moment, which occurred in the very beginning of my shift, the rest of the day went downhill pretty quick.
I don't usually complain about my job, because I love what I do. I am contracted to work 40 hours a week. But the fact of the matter is... being a nurse doesn't have hours. In-patient nursing can... there is a nurse on shift around the clock. What about the clinic setting? Overtime is frowned upon for obvious reasons (thank youuuu, economy!) but how do you tell a patient who is in the midst of cancer treatment, "I'm sorry Miss So-and-So, I realize you are in immense pain and unable to hold any food down, but it's 4:30 so I have to leave."
Our patients don't think about our families at home, or other things that might be clouding our minds. And they shouldn't have to. In the moment, it is all about them. That is one of my main focuses when I am working...to make my patients feel as though there is nothing else going on in the world other than making them better. I am having such a hard time with this. I don't know where to draw the line. I find that I use up so much emotion at work, that I am completely drained when I get home,
I'm not sure what to do. My first step is I am going to stick to my hours as best as I can. Obviously if someone at work needs me, I will be there, but I am working to organize my day so that by 4:30, I can go. Secondly, on Tuesdays I am at an off site clinic. It ends around noon. If the Main clinic allows, I will go home rather than go back to Detroit. That way I can soak up some one-on-one time with my girl, and pick Ethan up from school.
Finding balance is so hard! I never imagined it would be this hard.