Thursday, January 12, 2012

When in doubt...God really does care.

These last 6 months, I've been employed as a charge nurse at Los Angeles Christian Health Centers.  I don't think anyone would deny that that was a big step to take for a new nurse--especially a new grad.  I was blown away at the opportunity, but knew that God would have to carry me through, because it is a big job with a lot of responsibilities.  I admit that I was excited at first, but it seemed that my responsibilities grew to levels that stretched my capabilities in a way that have never been stretched before.

Though it has been very difficult, I have an undeniable sense that God brought me to my clinic for a purpose.  However, it has been in these last couple of months--especially these last few weeks-- that I've really felt the increasing burden of my work. I felt that I wore many hats. I was the security guard (pffft. yeah, right?), triage nurse, clinic manager. I would work in the dispensary (kind of like a pharmacy) from time to time (and when I did work in the dispensary, I was still being the triage nurse, and the clinic manager). I scheduled staff, hired and trained new medical assistants.  Not to mention that I was also supposed to oversee six other satellite clinics, dispersed throughout Los Angeles. Needless to say work did not stay at work.  I was called/texted by employees late in the evening or early in the morningand long after I left work and sometimes on the weekends.  There were many days when I would have to take work home--whether to update outdated MA handbooks, or just paperwork left over from the day. Working 10 hour shifts 5 days a week was not uncommon.  I felt drained of the energy that I used to have--I could see that my zest for life was not the way that it used to be. I started to question why I was a nurse and was day dreaming about other not-so draining jobs (being an artist, a full-time stay at home bum, etc). I was struggling to find joy and contentment. In fact, my heart felt dissatisfied and discontent.  I would ask God if it was supposed to be this hard, that maybe I just needed an attitude adjustment because I want to be obedient. I know I'm not always the best at being obedient, but ultimately, it is what I want.

I stayed home from work on Monday because I didn't feel well, but also because I felt like I didn't have it in me to go to work. I spent a lot of that time praying honestly. I told God that it really seemed like it was too much. I didn't think I was ready to deal with the responsibilities of a manager. I wasn't necessarily asking for a solution, but was looking for direction, or a change of heart. And possibly, super human strength.

Tuesday morning started off like every morning--lots of praying for strength to make it through the day.  We were short-staffed that day due to people calling in sick and then I sent an employee home because he was feeling ill, then found out he was quitting at the end of the week--I am already short-staffed in general, so that was sad/stressing news. Throughout the day, I was juggling phone calls from the other sites that I managed, trying to figure out supplies needed, trying to help the providers with patient care and training two Medical Assistant externs who were new and needed a lot of teaching.  Thankfully, the patients themselves were calm and no one wanted to yell/speak to the supervisor and no one was rowdy/trying to pick fights in the waiting room.   At the end of the day, my boss called me and asked to speak to me in her office.

I didn't know what to expect really--well, ok, I kind of wondered if she was going to talk to me about how much work I've been missing in the last few months.  I was nervous by the time I got to her office.  She mentioned that I have been sick/out a lot, but she asked me a question that I didn't expect her to ask. In a caring tone, my boss asked me if I wanted to be there, to keep working at the clinic. I was surprised--I didn't know how she knew to ask the right question, but she did. I began to tearfully explain to her how drained I have been feeling, how I don't feel like myself, that I feel stretched beyond what I can handle, that some days I don't come in to work because I don't feel like I can handle it.  She didn't scold me or treated me like I failed--like I feared she would-- instead she responded with such grace and hugged me for a very long time.  She prayed and said to me "God has you, Linell. You are blessed. If this is too much for you, we can change it. This isn't a matter of failure. You are a new nurse--it wasn't fair to put all of this on you."  And in a matter of minutes, she called the HR director in, they began discussing my new role as just a clinic nurse, taking all supervisory responsibilities off my shoulders.

I was completely caught off guard. I did not expect that to happen. I really felt that God cared. And I was beside myself, overwhelmed. He saw/sees me and wants to show me that He loves me.  And he is doing that through my boss, who for some reason, has really taken me under her wing and is an advocate for me. I know that it's nothing that I've done necessarily. It's God's grace played out in a very real and tangible way.

I wanted to share with all of you. I am not sure what my new position now entails, but I will definitely get to focus more on patient care and I think I will have a more positive outlook about my job. I am looking forward to enjoying life again and having the energy to be more well-rounded. I am looking forward to see what God will do. He never ceases to amaze me.

"'You are a God of seeing,' for she said, 'Truly here I have seen him who looks after me." [Genesis 16:13]


Monday, January 2, 2012

Missus-sippi, here I come!

Hi all,
So I think most of you have heard by now via Facebook that I got a job! I wanted to write a post to update you, though, to give you guys the full story.

As you know from my previous post back in September, I have been applying to jobs and was turned down by the military. I pretty much just applied everywhere, barely noticing where I was applying except to keep track of how many apps I was putting in. I found that helped me feel productive while I was getting nothing back but rejection emails.

In November, I got a phone call from a hospital in Greenville, Mississippi. At that point, the positive responses I had had were an in-person interview with CHOC and two phone interviews with other out of state hospitals. All of them had said no. This hospital, Delta Regional Medical Center, wanted me to come out for an interview. In the first conversation, the concern was raised that I was not from the rural South, and might come out to start a job and then leave after less than a year. (They have had problems with losing new grads to bigger cities after 3-6 months.) I was hesitant to spend the money to go out there, but I had few options and couldn't be picky.

I planned a trip for the first week of December, and basically hoped for ANYONE else to offer me a job so I wouldn't have to go on my trip. I was so not interested in moving to a small town in Mississippi if I had the choice to be... well, nearly anywhere else. It didn't happen, so I left for my trip, anxious but trying to see all the positives about Greenville.

When I got there, I felt overwhelmingly sad. This is a community that has been hit hard by the recession, with businesses closed on nearly every block and an unemployment rate of 13.5%, significantly higher than national average. That day, I visited apartments and stumbled upon a small nature preserve. I sat there and prayed and processed and it basically hit me, "Maybe this is why I have my public health nursing certification". I still felt sad, but almost instantly passionate about making a difference in this community, and ready to pour into it everything I learned from our community health semester. That night, I talked to Andrew and he was right on the same page with me, ready to go for this adventure if that was what God had for us, seeing it as a mission field.

The next day, I interviewed with the director of Med-Surg, the director of ICU, and the CNO (no pressure!). They all went well and I was amazed at how God gave me such a calm where before had been so much anxiety. I flew home that night and the next day I got a phone call. Not only did they offer me a job, but both departments had given good feedback so they let me choose! I chose the ICU. They have been very understanding about the license transfer process and me getting married, so they are letting me start after the wedding, and didn't even tie me to a specific start date!

So here we are, just over a month from my wedding, and a move across country only 2 days after that. (Literally, we're getting married on Saturday and leaving Monday! Aah!) Andrew is amazingly supportive, just wants me to get this experience even though his job prospects there are limited and grad school options nonexistent. Since we should be able to do fine on my salary alone (Thank the Lord for lower cost of living! Also, Andrew has NO school debt, incredibly.), he is going to be looking for internship or volunteer opportunities related to his field, but really just planning to volunteer wherever there are needs, full-time.

We are getting very excited about this new adventure, and I'm thrilled to finally have a job, and in the ICU at that! I'm glad to be just three hours from Clara and Luis as well as Cory and Joe. I am applying to a federal loan repayment program (link below -- see if your hospital qualifies!) because Delta Regional meets the requirements, so please pray for me to get accepted as I could have 60% of my loans paid for a 2-year commitment! Oh, and I will most definitely have a Southern accent in about 2 days since I started to pick it up while I was there for not even 36 hours!

So that's the long version of what's new in my life. I know that this is where God wants us to be, and have a wonderful peace about it. I hope you all had a great New Year's and are doing well.


NELRP, deadline Feb 15, 2012.