happy with the opportunities…….nurse

I’ve been an LPN for 8 years now and have worked everything from acute care to nursing homes to corrections. Currently I am working home health and completing my RN at a local jr. college.

At the five year point I would have done almost anything to get out of nursing. I completed my B.A. in sociology and went hunting for a better career. After a year and a half of exploitive offers it dawned on me that nursing wasn’t all bad.

Since shifting my focus, I’ve come not only to enjoy my work in home health, but I’ve also increased my pay by about $15K a year. It’s crazy.

The short of it is that I realized that I hated all of the conflict, the bad management, the “second class” treatment that nurses receive, and most of all, the image of being a male nurse.

For the conflict, I read everything I could find on conflict management, verbal judo, and psych problems in the workplace. (Read the book “Toxic Coworkers” if you’re interested.) I’ve become adept at stepping around problems and I’m always the least satisfying person in the room to fight with.

I’ve learned to deal with bad management in much the same way. I don’t put up with much — in fact I’ve even taken the time to research a lit bit on labor law and have no problem suing an employer if they really cross the line. Somehow managers pick up on that and I don’t seem to have the problems I used to. . . That’s not to say that I try to run around with a big chip on my shoulder. It’s just that I’m generally the least attractive target in the room. Plus I’ll change jobs in a heartbeat if necessary or, well, if I feel like it for no reason what-so-ever. It’s funny how easy it is to make more money somewhere else. . .

For the treatment we get and the male nurse stigma, I don’t put up with much there either. Besides, it’s just a gig, not an identity. I’m a nurse for 12 hours for three or four days a week. On my three or four days off each week, I’m just a regular guy who makes enough $$ to have a very good time. There’s always enough dough to go play, travel, or whatever. (If you’re going to have a stressful job, being able to destress on your days off is a necessity, not an optional activity.) That job/identity split was hard for me to get. We’re taught that you are your job. No I’m not!

My experience back in nursing school has been interesting. Some of the instructors are faking it big time or are living in a fantasy world, but most are ok. The workload sucks — so much busywork — but this time next year my pay will increase by at least another $30K if I stay with the same company. Cool.

I do understand most, if not all, of the negative comments on nursing posted on this site. It’s a rough field and will be for a while, but there are oportunities for a good life as a nurse. Hope that helps. . .

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