Thursday, April 10, 2008

Time Flies

Even though I READ blogs everyday (my cousin's: Constant, Growing, Amazement and Confessions of a Pioneer Woman--who both are wonderful daily bloggers), I just seem to have lost my muse when it comes to blogging myself. This spring though I feel like the light is starting to come back into my life and I am coming up out a full year of shadow.
A year and a half ago, the company I was working for sold our division to a new company. The feelings of disenfranchisement and loss that accompanied the handling of the sale was huge. We were not told even of any negotiations until after it was a done deal. They called us to a mandatory meeting and said "as of yesterday you no longer work for this company, your benefits will end at the end of the month and you are ineligible to reapply to this company for a period of 6 months". Now most of us worked for this company because of the great benefits and opportunities for work. If you were tired of one position, look for another in a different area! It had a pension plan, most of us had worked for this company for years, and some were approaching retirement, we were very loyal employees and had planned to retire from this company. But now we were out! The new company would hire most of us (except some office and auxiliary staff) so we did have a job. But we felt betrayed and the poor local company that was set to encorporate, train and support us had also been in the dark of their out-of-state parent company's plans of expansion, therefore it was a suprise to them as well and to say the least, they were not prepared to accomplish all of what that meant on a moments notice. There was no transition plan no benefit people to talk to, no orientation,So we lived in complete ignorance of what and how we were supposed to carry on. So we just did our best to take care of the needs of our patients and continued to use our own paperwork. This limbo carried on for two months at which time they came into our facility and took away every form/paper with the SH logo, replaced it with their forms and left. We had no idea how to fill out all of this new paperwork, and all we could do was do our best but there was a lot of complaints from the home teams and when the in house auditors came 00-la-la were we a mess, finally our old manager called some lateral staff from another unit to come and show us what to do since management had not deemed it neccessary to orient us. It was a stressful time. Then our old manager decided she could not do what they asked her to do (since again she had no job training/no explanation of expectations/no orientation in fact what we heard from several people was "just do your best and when you screw up they'll let you know!) and asked me to apply for and take over her position as manager. I had not considered a management position as I really do want to do my job and then go home and live my life. But when I prayed about it, a very clear answer was that I was supposed to accept. I was shocked!! My husband kept asking me why did I want to do something for which I would work more and make less. I had no answer except that it would be like being in school and when I had a couple of years of management under my belt then I could take that experience to a company where I would make more. The job was requiring 50-60 hours a week and I still couldn't get it all done. I was "on call" 24/7 except for a few weekends when another manager would take the call. I worked 36 hours straight several times when a night nurse called off. And the really crappy part was that since I was salaried I didn't get paid for doing it!! Of course the retoric is that I was supposed to take the next day off which is bullcrap because if I couldn't get the job done even if I worked overtime, how could I do it by taking a day off! and an 8 hour day does not make up for a 12 hr nightshift.
There certainly were many aspects of the job that I enjoyed, I loved being behind the scenes providing the support that allowed my staff to do their jobs, I liked meetings and teaching, I liked having an office, and I even liked paperwork to some extent. But I did not like that I didn't know what was expected of me, I didn't like having a sword hanging over my head knowing that one day, someone would say "I need to see your ________" and I would say "my what?" and they would say "you know, your mandatory monthly/quarterly/annually/ blah blah blah!!" My only defense would be (A) don't know what a __________is and (B)nobody told me I needed to be doing _______!" It had begun to seem that every week, I would learn of some other thing that I was supposed to be doing/recording/monitoring/auditing that I didn't know about. After accepting the position but before I was officially in the position. I told several people in management that my biggest fear was that "The day to come when everyone just assumes and accepts me as the manager and I still hadn't been trained." AND IT CAME TRUE!! Now to my own culpability in this, I did have a couple of large binders in my office that held the COP's, Medicare regulations, policies and procedures, and unit manager guidelines and I carried them home many a night, I just could not find the time to study them.
At the same time as all of this, my beautiful 21 year old daughter was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She underwent major surgery to remove a 5 pound tumor and her left ovary and fallopian tube, followed by chemotherapy. She was absolutely amazing through the entire process and only rarely complained. She was incredibly brave and upbeat and really showed us a side of her that (as the baby of the family and someone who quite honestly was most concerned with her looks) had been hidden. She supported all of us and made the whole episode less heartbreaking by her upbeat and cheerful attitude. But regardless it did contribute to the shadow that I have living under the past year.
After 8 months as the manager, I called it quits and asked to be transferred back to the floor as a staff nurse. I took a night position, because it was the opening that was available and it paid a night differential so I could make more money. The transition for me was smooth enough but the next manager came in and shook things up and then left after 6 weeks to move to CA. (though I do think she would have been a good manager and those she fired did have problems) Then the next manager was a nightmare. She lasted for 3-4 months and then the company did a big reorganization a lot of people were let go and they closed 2 units, and she was one who was gone. Our new manager is nice enough but through all of this there has been an undercurrent of anxiety, tension, unrest. Since I worked nights I was spared from a lot of it but it was still there. That coupled with having to work with some difficult staff (a very negative person and a drama queen who for what ever reason seemed to escalate issues rather than defuse) them made for an uncomfortable working environment. I began--after two back to back weekends of issues caused by these coworkers--to feel unsafe both professionally and physically. I was just keeping my mouth shut but inwardly I was upset and then like a dove landing on my shoulder I recieved a spiritual confirmation and release, I was told that it was OK to leave this toxic environment. While I was relieved, I now had to face again the question "what do you want do when you grow up?" do you want to go back to hospital nursing? perhaps labor and delivery and work on the other end of life's spectrum? or change to another hospice? I started checking out available posted positions on the internet and did not immediately find any that fit what I was looking for. I worked another week which was pretty uneventful and then came down sick for a week, the next week, I recieved a call from my old manager who now works for the hospice I was planning on applying to, and she stated that they were going to open a new facility and were looking for nurses (they had not had any open inpatient positions available when I checked online). She set a time for me to meet with her the next week and the following week I met with the HR person and accepted a position with them. It is pretty much a lateral move, they will take me at my present pay but I will lose senority and a week of PLT time annually. I will be starting orientation next week YEA ORIENTATION!! I have asked to be placed in an older unit close to my home, rather than 10-11 miles away where the new unit is going to be, so I will be joining a team that is already established. I just hope they are not too cliqueish and will accept me as a friend and fellow coworker. If I want though, I can transfer to the new unit when it opens if this doesn't seem like the right fit for me.
Of course there were other things going on in my life which may have contributed to this dark immobilizing cloud this past year but I am so glad to be coming out of it.
I need to close now, my now recovered youngest dtr. is getting married next month so there is a lot that needs done for that as well. I need to get off of the computer and finish the flowergirl's dress. I can't believe myself--first that I have put off making it for two months despite having all the materials and pattern and now that I have drug it out to be a three day thing rather than a one day event. (I really don't have that much left to do but you know those zippers are always intimidating!)

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