Thursday, March 12, 2009


For a few months now, I have been in a professional rut. I have an easy job. Too easy. I'm not used to not thinking critically on a daily basis, and it's killing me. I miss having real critical patients, 2 vents with lots of drips, lots of action, lots of mental exercise. My current job is in a PACU that is small, has little acuity except for those OOPS where things go downhill fast, and even those are few and far between. Add to that the cutback in surgical cases, hours and the paycheck, not to mention the constant angling for more hours in different departments and you have me: professionally depressed, deflated and uninspired. In a rut. The upside is I'm very close to home and I work with a group of lovely people, which helps immensely. We're a close-knit family here in surgery and that in itself is a big advantage.

While I realize that this sounds like the dream job for many people wishing to slow it down a bit, I'm not THERE....yet. I'm wasting away my talent here. Like a muscle that isn't getting exercised regularly, I'm turning to mush. Wasting syndrome. I fear for my clinical skills. I fear that I won't be able to function in a more acute environment in the future if I keep this up. I fear that I'll never be able to rejoin the real world again.

And then you know the old careful what you wish for.

My old friends in Key West call frequently to see if I'm available to work shifts with them. Because of my 5 day a week schedule, I'm stuck and can't accomodate them, so I bite my tongue and politely decline. But they keep calling. And I vent to them about how miserable I am. So yesterday the nurse manager of the ICU at Key West called me.....and made me an offer I can't refuse.

Join us, she said. Transfer out of there (its a sister hospital, so it would be a transfer from one facility to another). Day shift, three days a week, with all the overtime you want. Better money. Good group of people (I worked with all of them). Best of all-a full paycheck for less days worked, in an environment where I excelled before, did charge, and could troubleshoot through any department at a moment's notice. It's not PACU, but any critical patient from surgery gets recovered up there anyway. More time at home. NO surgical call. The only downside: it's an hour's drive from home (a very picturesque drive, I might say, but no more rolling out of bed 20 minutes before report!). The TeenQueen would have to step up and pick up some slack, become a little more independent and responsible.

Very tempting offer. Soooo tempting I can't think of anything else. I promised to give her an answer by tomorrow.

I hate to leave the wonderful people I work with, but I'm afraid for the future. We're slow now in full tourist season. I don't want to see what my hours will be cut back to in the summer, when it's really DEAD down here. Key West isn't really seasonal anymore. They still pack them in 24/7. They have hospitalists! They have vent patients! The ICU has a secretary and a tech! THIS is PROGRESS!

These are hard financial times. I would be fearful of changing jobs at this time, but I know that in ICU, the work is always there. They'll always have patients. Plus, there's also the ER and PACU in Key West, where I've worked extensively. And my brain would be happy again.

Decisions, decisions!!!!