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Reality Unscripted
Nursing in a Tough Economy

I've done a lot of talking over the past couple of years about finding the job that's right for you.  In the nursing profession, there are so many types of jobs in a variety of places, that you don't have to settle for a work environment that you don't love.  Until now.

I confess: I've kind of done a 180 in the area of job satisfaction, at least for the time being.  I have so many friends, husbands of friends, friends of friends who are out of work right now, that I'm singing a different tune.

Though I am hopeful the economy will turn around sometime in the near future, I hesitate advising anyone to give up gainful employment in hopes of finding something they like better.  And you know what, I don't think working a job you don't love is the worst thing in the world.  In fact, it might be just the thing to help a rather spoiled nation of workers get back in touch with reality.

There are a lot of people in this world who are grateful to do ANY type of work to earn a very small amount of money in order to feed their families.  There are people who have worked a job they hated their whole lives to provide a comfortable home for those they love.

We feel entitled to get great satisfaction out of the work we choose.  And we'd like to get paid well for it.  But the truth is, if those things happen, it's a blessing, not a rite.

I have been very fortunate in my life to have had many jobs I loved.  I currently have a wonderful situation where I only work a few hours a week.  But times are changing, and I need to be prepared to suck it up and go find a full-time hospital position with benefits, working nights and every other weekend if that's what it takes to put food on the table.

I've been spoiled and I know it.  I enjoy being home during the day, going out for coffee with friends, meeting my husband for lunch, getting my kids off to school in the morning, and welcoming them home when it's over.  But if anything were to happen to my husband's job, I have a profession that would keep a roof over our heads.

We all have to do our part when the economy tanks.  And the beauty of it is, we're all capable!  It's in times like these that we get to find out what were really made of.  And if you've already made it out of nursing school, you're made of good stuff.

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6 Responses to “Nursing in a Tough Economy”

  1. Jason R. Thrift Says:

    This is very true! I thank God everyday for the job that I have, that I have had since I graduated from nursing school. The key to any job is being able to take the good with the bad and showing a good work ethic in the process.

    I remember being on Facebook one day and seeing someone’s status saying the following words, “You’ve got to love a job that when you go there it feels like a vacation every day.” To me, that’s not realistic AT ALL! You’re going to hate your job some days and as far as I know I never hate a vacation! To me if a job feels like a vacation every day then it’s probably too easy and won’t last. Hard work gets a bad rap, but it’s REALLY good for you!

    This philosophy of “I deserve a job because of my degree” is fading fast. People are having to prove themselves again, slowly, but it’s progressing and that’s good not only for America, but the entire world. People don’t deserve to have a “right to work”, they deserve a kick in the pants until they start working right! I know I pushed myself every day on the unit because I wanted to ensure I did a good job, and still had time to enjoy my life. I still push myself in my advanced position now, because once you fall into complacency that’s when the rug can be pulled out from under you.

    The current generation of nurses coming out are beginning to feel the effects of the nursing shortage and it’s only going to get worse. Finally it truly is rearing it’s ugly head. Perhaps that will open up new jobs, or perhaps the shortage will continue because of economics. Either way, you need to be grateful for having a job, especially as a nurse these days!

  2. jparadisirn Says:

    I don’t remember where I first heard the saying,”If you want to change the way you feel about someone, change the way you treat them,” but it’s a adage that has served me well, and adapts easily to “…change the way you do your job.”
    Disinterest in the job is a sign of burn-out: one way to change your feelings is to choose an area to become an expert in. For example, CCRN, OCN, or IV certification are examples of ways to become more competent, and increase your marketable skills.
    Consider what you are contributing to your own unhappiness. I’m happiest at work when I focus on my patients’ needs and not the gossip or bad feelings sometimes circulated by colleagues. Besides refraining from gossip, try to find sincere characteristics about colleagues to compliment them on. Focus on what you have in common, not your differences. The smart-aleck comments made by this season’s TV nurses sound sassy, but they won’t get you far with problem solving.
    Developing good communication with managers is very important. Staff and management don’t have to(and won’t)agree on everything, but you do have to follow chain of command. Try to limit complaints to the department manager to safety and liability concerns, and don’t bring complaints about coworkers to their office. In my experience,the best managers expect staff to work out personal differences among themselves.
    Lastly,be grateful. There are a lot of people wishing they had our jobs.

  3. Jeff Long Says:

    This is great advice. I love the part about becoming an expert in something. That is a great way to reignite your passion.

    Jeff Long

  4. beachglass Says:

    I am fortunate at this time in our economy to have a nursing position where I find fulfillment and satisfaction. To help me maintain this attitude I set short-term and long-term goals of increasing my knowledge in the nursing field. Example is to continue to learn about new research on diseases such as Dementia. Also, I have set a goal of certification in a specialty area as others have suggested.

  5. jparadisirn Says:

    Thanks. I suspect that travel nurses have known these things all along.

  6. Becky Says:

    I chose nursing for the diversity in working environments, because I get job burnout very easily. I got out of school in april 09 and thought that as soon as I put out my apps I would have people fighting over me. HOW WRONG I WAS!!! The economy tanked and even here in oklahoma, where its not as bad as some parts of the nation, it took me 4 months to find employment. I really want to specialize in pediatrics, but got stuck in a primarliy geriatric clientell (sp?) I am very very greatful to have all I have and that I am fortunate enough to have been able to attend college. I do believe you can still be happy in a work environment though so I am going to start my own plant nursery, and when that takes off I will do nursing on the side. There is nothing better than home grown veggies with both the taste and the price.

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