That Work-Life Balance

Written on September 19, 2016 at 2:36 pm
Filed under: Personal

Gone are the days of balancing school-clinicals-life – now it’s the work-life balance and striving to be an adult (or something like it). I have a fairly regular schedule as I typically do four days on, four days off. Occasionally I have anywhere from 5-7 days off between sets of shifts (and I’m a-okay with that!).

  • Day 1 off from work: I get home, shower, eat, do laundry, sleep until noon, throw my clothes into the dryer, sleep some more, wake up to fold clothes, and relax.
  • Day 2 off from work: grocery shopping, regular shopping, hang out with friends/family/boyfriend, and relax.
  • Day 3 off from work: same as day 2 (mostly, maybe less shopping or no shopping at all), and relax.
  • Day 4 off from work: prep/cook for all of my meals for my days at work, portion them all out accordingly, relax, and go to sleep early because 6am wake-up calls always come early.

Most days, I love my job. Being a nurse is awesome, and I generally like my patients. Some days, I question why I spent 3 years of my life going through nursing school. It’s a mixed bag of feelings on some days, but I think my general feelings on it is that I love being a registered nurse. I’m not 100% sure how long I’ll stay at my current position and what paths I’ll want to take to further my education (but the goal is to further my education). For now, the unit that I’m on is a good ‘stepping stone’. I get to practice a lot of skills, I get to do a lot of things, I get exposed to a lot of different disease processes. And I get to make a difference in peoples’ lives, whether they realize it or not.

One Year After Graduating

Written on June 19, 2016 at 12:00 pm
Filed under: Nursing School, Personal

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I graduated (officially, with the fancy piece of paper) from nursing school on June 19th, 2015 – and a lot has changed since then.

The media talked about a nursing shortage before I applied for nursing school, and they talked about a nursing shortage while I was in nursing school, as well as talking about a nursing shortage after I had graduated from nursing school. And there is one – just not for new graduates.

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There’s a nursing shortage for specialty trained nurses (perioperative/OR nurses being the big one) – but not for newly minted Registered Nurses who don’t have any real nursing work experience. I started applying for jobs probably around mid-February to mid-March in 2015. I didn’t get my first interview until August 25th – which I failed miserably at because I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t get my second interview until September 25th – which I rocked because I did know what to expect. My official hire date was October 19th, 2015.

It took what felt to me to be a really long time to get a job. In reality, it was 199 days from graduation to the first day that I was getting paid as a nurse (orientation).

It was a very long 199 days.

Luckily for me I lived at home (rent free – still do!) with my parents, who don’t expect me to contribute to room and board. I knew someone who was looking for temporary help and I wound up with a temp job for 4 weeks, which really helped with the perpetually dwindling bank account. Prior to starting the temp job, I had less than $200 left in my bank account. Every time I had to take the bus, or pay for anything, I’d be thinking to myself if I really needed X, Y, or Z because I really didn’t have that much money at all. Being that broke really sucked and I greatly appreciated the fact that I live at home rent free.

I paid off my student loans (I had $0 in loans from my first degree, a BSc that I graduated with in 2012, and a little under $16k from my BSN) by January 2016. I paid off $8k with a bursary I received from school, and I borrowed the rest from my sister so I wouldn’t accrue interest on my debt – by January I had paid off the Bank of Sister.

In March 2016 I bought my very first car. It makes life so much easier in terms of getting to and from work (10-15 minutes driving versus anywhere from 40 minutes to 1.5 hours of public transit). Aside from my car (which I love, because car), I have no other debt.

Since November 2015, I’ve been working as a casual employee. This means I do not get medical or dental benefits, I do not get pension, and I do not get paid vacation. This also means that I do not have a set schedule, I get a lot of short calls for shifts and occasionally I do get shifts in advance so I’m not always scrambling to get ready for work and have developed a routine of prepping meals that get put into the freezer because I just never know when I’m going to be working next. I work all shifts, of varying lengths (8 hour or 12 hour shifts).

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I started applying for full time and part time positions in May because not enough people were taking vacation (or calling in sick)! As a casual and being not that high on the seniority list, it meant that I did not get a lot of prebooked shifts in May. It’s stressful when you don’t know yet when you might work again. It’s also stressful to always be ‘ready’ to work because it means you may have to cancel plans last minute. I had an interview on May 25th for a permanent position, and I found out on May 31st that I got it! I accepted the offer. It took me seven months and twelve days to go from my first day of orientation to getting a permanent job offer.

I started two days ago, on June 17th – my first day of orientation. Tomorrow (June 20th) until Thursday will be my four orientation shifts. Hitting the ground running.

In the 366 days from graduating with my BSN, I went from unemployed and broke to casually employed to hitting milestones that others have reached long before I had (e.g. buying a first car!) to getting a permanent nursing position, complete with benefits and pension. I’m incredibly excited to see where the next year of nursing will take me!

Night Owl Lifestyle

Written on March 3, 2016 at 10:41 pm
Filed under: Personal

Life has been… routine? Monotonous? March is looking up, in terms of work. There was a lot of waiting by the phone for shifts in January and February – but I already have over half of March filled with shifts, which is pretty exciting. Every day is different, and it is weird having a Thursday be my Sunday and a Friday being my Monday in comparison to other people. I can say that, because I had four days off from work, and then I’m working four days in a row – yay?

I’m currently squirreling money away to buy my first car, which will be pretty exciting. I’m starting the process of doing research on cars, and making appointments for test drives. Getting some reliable transportation will be much better than a two hour transit commute from work to home when it would be a 10 minute drive otherwise.

But work has been good – and keeps me busy! I have a lot of evening and night shifts scheduled for March, so it’s a good thing that I’m generally more of a night owl than a morning lark. Nights appeal more to me than the rush-rush-rush of day shifts. There’s a nice stillness about leaving work when the sun is just starting to rise – that and I greatly enjoy eating breakfast before bed.

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