I began my nursing career in primary health. Since my first semester in nursing school that was the only type of nursing I wanted to do. The idea of preventing diseases for occurring and battling health inequalities in the very communities they exist in was of great interest to me. I had always thought nurses work in hospitals, so that was what I wanted to do. But discovering this wonderful world of prevention was fascinating.
I had been told by various nurses throughout my degree that I would not be able to start in primary care, that I would have to work in the hospital for a few years before I would be experienced enough for primary health care. I didn’t agree however and pushed myself to be involved in everything primary health related I could find. I joined clubs, I led inter-professional groups and buttered up the primary care lecturer to be my reference for a new graduate job.
It all paid off when I secured a job at an NGO as a practice nurse at their GP clinic. I have never been so relieved and excited in all my life. I had done no practice nursing during my training which made me quite nervous but my position included an extensive new graduate program so I could get the relevant further qualifications to work as a practice nurse. This extra level of preparation was beyond what my fellow graduates had to do at their hospital jobs. It made for a very busy first year of nursing when combined with the post graduate paper I had to complete.
As beneficial as I found this extra training I think it ultimately led to the burn out I have now. I began my nursing journey pushing myself and having no free time on my days off. That became my normal. My work/life balance was skewed from the start. It is only now that I am at crisis point that I am figuring it out.
It is surprisingly hard to relax. Don’t let anyone make you feel lacking because you don’t know how to relax. It is a skill that they don’t teach you at nursing school and it can be hard to work out. I have found that I won’t relax if I sit at home watching tv, my mind will still be working overtime about work things. I relax by doing. Painting, writing, sewing, anything really. Now that I know how I relax I just have to work on not feeling guilty when I do.