Thursday, May 26, 2011

Better Happy than Rich? (you bet!!!)

I picked up and read an interesting book last week, that highlighted some of the issues facing me in the career change decision.  Rather, it highlighted reasons, based on demographics and statistics, as to what people of certain age groups and personalities view as most important in life. 

It is called "Better Happy than Rich?" by Michael Adams.  Mr. Adams is one of the co-founders of the Canadian statistical research firm, Environics. 

This book explains, based on years of statistical gathering and analysis, what personality traits are associated with various demographic groups, in terms of their priorities in life. 

An interesting read, but also a rather quick read, as and one tends to focus on finding where one 'fits in'.  Given that it also explains the priorities of all age groups and personalities, it clarified to me why certain other people are reacting in various ways to my career-change decision, based on their values and priorities being significantly different from mine.

Always learning!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The purpose of this blog

So, last week was a major crisis in confidence about this mid-career change to nursing.  All my insecurities about making this change came to the surface again, namely leaving the known for the unknown, given family responsibilities I should perhaps just suck it up and put in the time for the next 25 years, and age.  This week, the mindset is better.

This leads me to why I am actually writing this blog in the first place.  Last fall, when I finally applied for nursing school, I looked and looked on the web to try to find a blog about somebody who had started nursing school as a second career (found a number of those) AND someone who voluntarily left a (seemingly) great job. 

There were many blogs of people returning to school after having been home with the kids for many years, there were blogs of people who were laid off or whose chosen career was unstable, there were people who were in dead-end jobs and who wanted to improve their careers, etc etc.  I even branched out my search, thinking perhaps I could find something where one started in a new second career in a field other than nursing.  But I could not find a single blog or article about somebody who willingly left a good job to pursue something different.  No luck.

I couldn't find any information at all about the process one goes through, when taking the initiative on leaving a great position.  So that's why I decided to start my own blog, to document this process.  They certainly don't call this situation the 'golden handcuffs' for nothing!

I still maintain that being in transition is making this process more difficult.  Once the change is real, and I am focusing on classes and clinicals, then it will be easier.  In my experience, it is always easier to deal with the tangible, rather then the theoretical. 

This week it seems I am mostly back on track.  I know I want to do this, I know I can do this.  In a nutshell, I am called to do this work.  Ever since I can remember, and even before that (so I'm told) I've been running to help people who were injured.  This switch to a nursing career isn't something that I've dreamed up lately seeing as my current career isn't particularly satisfying or interesting.  Rather, this is my calling and passion, and I am finally letting myself follow this career path (long and convoluted story there).

And I am so lucky and grateful to have the unconditional support and love of my dear husband, who has so patiently listened to me talk about nursing for over the past decade.  He has spent hours listening, discussing and convincing me that we are OK to do this financially, and that happiness is far more important than going to a job that gives little, if any, satisfaction - intellectual or personal - for the next 25 years.  And happiness and a paying job in a field that I love, priceless.  That man deserves an award!

Onwards and upwards!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Major crisis of conscience and confidence this week

The title says it all.  It has been a very tough week, emotionally, as I am once again totally 'on the fence' and teetering (planking???) about this whole idea.  I seem to have lost all confidence for this venture, and the logical side of the brain is firing like crazy. 

I mean, who willingly leaves a successful and well-paying, stable, great pension & benefits job in today's economic market, particularly when one has a few kids to look after?  It seems somewhat insane to be doing this, at this stage in my life.

This would be so simple if I was laid off from my job, but my job is way to secure for that.  The odds of that happening are quite remote -- not impossible -- but very remote.

How much is 'happiness' worth?  Job satisfaction? It rings pretty shallow and selfish when confronted with one has home responsibilities.

We have discussed this at length as a couple, and my dear husband is incredibly and completely supportive of this venture.  We have gone over our financial situation, looked at various scenarios and options, and it is very feasible to do this.  It would make our family life more balanced, as I'd be home more (OK, I could potentially just work PT in my current job, if they let me).  He is a big believer in the importance and value of happiness and satisfaction.  Money is important too, of course, but this idea is do-able.

The medical field has been my passion as long as I can remember.  It is a true career calling.  I used to volunteer with the St. John Ambulance Brigade, and even though I loved it, I had to quit doing that work.  I had to quit because even though I loved the work, it was too painful inside to be so restricted in what medical work I was able to do, and constantly reminded that I wasn't in the medical field.  During every training session (and there were many refresher session for the Brigade members), they always pointed out that 'we' Brigade members were only allowed to do X in a particular situation, but if you're a nurse or other medical professional, you could do X, Y and Z in that same situation.  It just reminded me on every shift how much I love doing this, and that there are many people out there getting paid to do the work I was yearning to do. Just not me.

Now I have the opportunity presented to me, even a schedule drawn up, but I'm hesitating to take it, as it means giving up so much security, for me and my family.  I'm a Taurus...we're known for our love of security and stability (if there is any truth to that!)

I just don't know what to do.  I know what I want to do, but I don't know what I should do. 

It just seems that I've blown it, I've made my career decisions (kinda by default to get where I am, trying to please other people -- long, convoluted story that if I had to do over, would certainly do differently), and now I should just suck it up, as it isn't so bad on the logical level.  Many people would love to have the job where I am wanting to leave.  Toss in the reality of being exposed to much sickness, death, pain, agony, heartbreak and the chance of contracting some illness at work and/or bringing some bug home to the family, dealing with 'less than appealing' tasks at times, and the uncertain job market for new nurses, and it make the boring, unfulfilling, but safe, desk job seem OK. 

But I love the medical field.  As a nurse friend of mine said to me just last week, that even when she's having a horrible day at work, someone says 'thank you' and it makes it all seem worthwhile.  (On a positive note, which this post desparately needs, this same friend was mentioning that many students come through her unit, and how much fun they have working there -- and that I should definitely remember her when I'm looking to be placed for my clinicals!)

It just seems too late to be starting over.  What a mess.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Registration day today

Well, it is official.  As of this morning, I have registered for my upcoming classes for the fall and winter semesters.  I must admit, that the times, they have certainly changed, since I last registered for an undergrad program!

This morning's online registration was streamlined and efficient, with all the information about my file accessible at the click of the mouse. 

No more filling out paper forms, waiting in line, getting somebody to sign off on the form and then receiving the almost illegible bottom copy of the 3 or 4 papers that made up the form.  Remember having to "press hard with your pen when writing, as you are making multiple copies"?  Lol!  That is most definitely a thing of the past.

The schedule seems very empty, particularly in the fall term, as I have been given credit for some courses from my previous degree.  However, I must remember that there will also be lots of studying involved to fill the days, not just attending several classes.  Being a student is most definitely different than being a working person.  Once you leave work, it is done.  Once you leave class, the real work begins! 

I am also thinking of maybe working part-time for the first part of my program, until clinicals start.  Once they start, I think working at my current job will not be possible.  I have some amazing options for taking leave from my job (I have wonderful options at my current work -- I just wish I loved the work itself!!!).  However, this is all theoretical speculation at the moment, and would certainly make for a very, very full schedule.  There are also family commitment to consider, and one of my main reasons for changing careers, is to be able to have a more balanced life, where I can spend more time with my children. 

My "gut" is telling me to just move on and make this change for real, and part of me wants to return to teaching music to a few students, as a PT job while in school.  I have a degree in music, and used to teach piano a long time ago.  May be time to re-visit that option....this option would definitely be more conducive to having more family time.

It is starting to feel much more real now, at long last!!!  Whew...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Nurses Against Zombieism - news article

Well, this is an 'interesting' (???) approach to describe what work nurses do, to help recruit more people into the profession and best of all, to 'debunk' stereotypes about nurses.  Game coming soon to a smartphone near you...yikes!

Zombie game bites into biases about nursing

Posted: May 11, 2011 11:54 AM MT

In the game, a nurse has to triage patients while avoiding bites from marauding zombies. A new online game featuring nurses saving patients from zombies is actually an attempt to recruit more young people into the profession.

Nurses Against Zombieism, launched on Wednesday, was created for the University of Calgary's nursing program in Qatar. In the game, a nurse has to triage patients while avoiding bites from marauding zombies.

"We were recruiting new students in the Gulf Peninsula and one of the challenges we found is there is not a very good understanding of what nurses do," said Jenny Conway Fisher, a marketing professional who is in Calgary after spending two years working on the Qatar campus.

A new approach was needed to debunk stereotypes such as only women are nurses, and nurses exist only to help doctors, she said.

"We wanted to get the message out of nurses being highly trained professionals that makes decision that save lives… kind of planting the seed of nurses being heroic, adventurous characters."

Building an online game seemed like a good way to reach young people, but Conway Fisher couldn't find a developer in Qatar so she contacted Structured Abstraction, a Calgary company.

She hopes nurses will help use social media like Twitter and Facebook to spread the word of the game this week, which is National Nursing Week.

"One of the nurses today said it is like Angry Birds for nurses," Conway Fisher said, referring to the popular iPhone app game.

The project cost about $25,000. The Qatar government, which funds the nursing program in Qatar, paid for the game development, she said.

Nurses Against Zombieism is only available online, but Conway Fisher hopes a smartphone version will be developed in the future.

Monday, May 9, 2011

This week's inspirational quote

Seems like I've been coming across several great Gandhi quotes recently.

Here's my latest gem, which corresponds exactly to how I believe this career change to nursing will feel.

"Happiness is when you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." -Gandhi

We spend so many hours each week at our jobs. If the work isn't a great fit with one's personality, goals, dreams and gives little satisfaction, and if we are lucky enough to be able to change careers, I believe it will bring about an immense amount of happiness to every aspect of ones life. 

I know from current experience how dreary work can be that doesn't fit with one's personality, interests and ambitions, even if you're good at it and are progressing nicely on the corporate ladder. 

I see in those around me, who love their chosen careers and day-to-day work, just how much of a positive impact a well-chosen career has on life. 

Bring it on (both the happiness and new nursing career!) LOL!

Future Nurse

P.S. Here is a link to many, many great quotes that helped people get through nursing school.  A link to my beloved, of course!!!

P.P.S.  17 more weeks until classes start!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Ouch times two! 

A few days ago I went to visit my doctor, to get him to fill out the immunization paperwork I need for nursing school.  I have to submit proof that I've had a whole whack of shots.  Which is a good thing, really, as I will be exposed to a whole whack of germs in the coming years (hmmmm, lack of germ exposure is perhaps an aspect of my current job that I enjoy...).  However, I spent hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds and then some) of hours volunteer working in the emergency room (and ICU, and paeds), and hadn't caught anything over the years.  And I had lots of direct patient contact.  In addition, I've further bolstered my immune system thanks to my kids, who have all shared various viruses with us since they've started school.  That bodes well!

So I had a shot in each arm at that visit to my doc.  I go back in a few days for my TB test and another shot.

I'd been saying that the whole process of applying to nursing school and waiting for NS to start has felt very theoretical since October.  I can assure you that the needles felt very real and tangible!  Lol!!!

Future Nurse

Sunday, May 1, 2011

One more great quote - Gandhi

One more inspirational quote crossed my path this morning.  I am taking this one to heart, and think of it when I decide to worry about "what ifs" in my upcoming leaving my career for a new one at my age adventure, and any other worries that life brings on.


"Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive, because your words become your behaviors.
Keep your behaviors positive, because your behaviors become your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny."

Future RN