I have since retired from critical care and switched to PACU! Though I miss critical care and the puzzle, and the feeling of making a difference, I must say for my own well-being that PACU has been a good change. Selfish? Probably. But I could start seeing myself grow weary from politics, night shift, understaffing, terminally ill, etc. And I felt like I was not there 110%. The fire that lit my desire to be the best, do the best, and learn the most was fading. I didn’t want to be the buzz kill and didn’t want to turn into a jaded nurse because that can easily affect your co-workers and patients. I used to think that I was not strong enough to endure for sick people and that I failed. A little twinge of that is still there, but I think that transformed into more of a respect and appreciation for all the critical care nurses out there. It’s probably one of the most demanding jobs physically and emotionally. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to learn as much as I have, the amazing people I’ve met, and the life lessons I’ve learned. Starting in ICU at age 21 really makes you grow up fast.
Thank you to all my co-workers at the two hospitals and teachers (nurses and patients) for one of the most rewarding, heart-breaking, and challenging experiences I have encountered. It feels bittersweet to be leaving critical care, but I suppose it’s just the beginning of a new chapter.
Special thanks to: Barb, Chris, Donna, Christa, Michele (one L), Veronica, Terry, Alicja, Kathy, and Angela. I’ve learned so much from all of you, clinically and personally. And thanks for not killing this new grad.