I might as well just get the apologies for not writing sooner out in the open now. I am well aware of how long overdue I am in posting but before I do the great reveal of our next location (that most of you already know about) I’d like to take this time to pay my tribute to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
When I started out on this adventure, I envisioned the difficulties I might endure as a brand new traveler in a job that was outside my comfort zone. At the end of my interview with the manager at PCH, she asked me how I felt about the job and I said, “nervous, but capable.” Couple that with the constant reminders from the travel nursing Facebook pages about how awful it could be and I was, for good reason, apprehensive.
That’s not to say I really felt like I needed to “belong” but…okay scratch that I did feel the need to belong. It’s ingrained in my psyche. I also felt an insane pressure to prove myself. It was challenging to start out on 7th Floor for a number of reasons- mainly, out of my 4 years of experience, only 2 months of it were spent training on an inpatient floor…as a brand new nurse. I’m sure it was a little nerve racking for my manager as well, knowing how little experience I had before she just tossed me in with two days of orientation.
But none of my challenges at PCH ever had to do with my coworkers, and I cannot fully express how grateful I was to feel like I was part of the team, almost from day one. Lynette, my preceptor, all bubbly energy and optimism, yet clear about expectations and honest with her feedback-perfect, in short. When I asked for an extra day of orientation, just to be safe, she encouraged me by saying she didn’t think I needed it but understood if I wanted a safety net for one more day.
From many conversations before, during and after our shifts on topics ranging from Portland, to Colorado, to the must-see places of Arizona I got to know some amazingly generous and wonderful souls. It is because of the friendliness of the staff that Jason and I were able to experience this little gem:
After a rough day, my coworker opened my eyes to the best taco salad. Ever.
I also enjoyed a few dance parties and maybe I even rode the toy cars around the unit with a few other nurses. Maybe.
In my second to last week I had an emergency situation with my patient that required a “Clinical Assessment Team” otherwise known as a Rapid Response Team. This gathers doctors, residents, nurses, respiratory therapists all in the patients room…rapidly. The idea is that you call this before the patient needs CPR. My patient wasn’t in horrible shape, but I wanted more eyes in the room to assess the situation and I wanted them yesterday. There are a lot of things that go through your head when you have to make this judgement call and almost first and foremost is, “what could I have done to prevent this?” Obviously it’s better to call a rapid response rather than waiting until the situation is more serious but even then, I would argue that it is in the nature of most RNs to question almost every decision they make. I was no exception.
I bring this up because it is a prime example of why 7th Floor is so amazing. Almost every single one of my coworkers, including one of my charge nurses, supported me through this. There was never any judgement about the situation, even though there could have been. There was nothing but endless encouragement that I made the right choice. Through the rapid response, there were nurses covering my other patients, nurses hanging around the door waiting to help if needed. Afterward, I was constantly being asked if I was okay and if I needed anything. The amount of support and reassurance was so….nice. I’m not saying it was any different than what I would have had at Duke, but it was so wonderful that I was able to experience that kind of support at multiple hospitals.
I guess the point I’m trying to get at is this- I know how bad it could have been. I have seen pictures and heard stories of travel nurses walking into very hostile environments. I can’t imagine how long those three months would feel if that had been the case. As it was, I landed in one of the most welcoming, helpful and brilliant floors at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. I learned so much from so many nurses and had a great time in the process. I felt free to vent if needed, I felt safe admitting when I was outside my comfort zone and I felt comfortable enough to open up and be me, in all my weird, awkward glory.
I didn’t feel like an outsider, and that is all any travel nurse could ask for.