I can't believe it's been over a year since we all graduated from Biola and went our separate ways. I think I can honestly speak for the large majority of us that where we are now is not where we ever expected ourselves to be when we were still in nursing school. I'm still kind of reeling from all the changes just within the past year. But it's been good--through the hills and valleys, I greatly appreciate the journey so much more.
I just wanted to share and update you guys with what's been going on in my life, too. The last time that I blogged on here, I had just stepped down from the charge nurse position at my clinic and took a job that entailed less supervisory responsibilities and more hands-on patient care--which is what I wanted. I know I post a lot of funny stories within the context of my life as a skid row nurse, but it was a way to cope with the physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion I felt working within that community and within my organization. And while I loved my patients and greatly valued the ministry opportunities that my clinic had on Skid Row-I found myself wrestling with, what I like to call an existential crisis-- I felt like I wanted/needed to do something different before I felt completely and utterly burnt out.
Earlier this year, I had had the opportunity to intern with a group of consultants from a company called Coleman Associates (www.patientvisitredesign.com) and I really liked what they did (to read more about what it is they do/what they are about, read here). Long story-short: They came to my clinic in August 2011 to evaluate the processes my clinic had in place and to introduce new methodologies that would streamline patient flow--ergo, making our processes more efficient and more patient-centered. They were at my clinic for a week and I was able to work closely with them because I was charge nurse at the time and was therefore automatically included in the Operations Team (the team that coached/delegated the methodologies recommended by the consultants.) They had invited me to be part of their mentoring program and I traveled with them a couple of times to different clinics, where they did the same thing. I received a lot of hands-on training on these trips. Plus, I had a blast. I have always loved traveling.
Fast forward to the last couple of weeks: After much much prayer and whole lot of thoughtful consideration I asked the CEO of the company if they were interested in taking me on full-time. I love patient care, but feel like my calling or my strengths are in leadership and administration. Some soul searching revealed that I greatly want to be an agent of change. It's no secret that so many health care organizations are dysfunctional and ironically, unhealthy environments to work in. Patients are overlooked and money and business is made a priority over seeking the general welfare of fellow human beings. I believe in what Coleman Associates want to do, what their mission is and I felt that working with Coleman would help me grow professionally and stretch me in the ways that I needed so that I can be a more effective leader. After a few emails and phone calls, she said that she had plenty of work for me to do and I would be able to join the team on a more full-time basis. I was ecstatic. I turned in my two weeks notice at work. My last day of work at the clinic was on 9/14. I have been on a "furlow" since then and have enjoyed some much needed time off. Tomorrow (9/24) I hit the ground running. I'm flying off to San Francisco to meet my teammates and we're working with a clinic in the City for the next week. Then two more clinics in San Fran in October.
It's an exciting time. I am so so so so excited about this new opportunity, this new adventure. I absolutely feel like this is such a testament to the goodness of God, that I have been given this chance to learn and be part of something I am passionate about. That I had to be in the right place so that I could meet these people. Sure, I'm nervous. This is new ground--it's a much different way of using my Biola nursing education. It ain't your typical clinical nurse route. I am thankful that I feel like this is absolutely the next step that I need to take. I don't know where it will lead me or what's in store for this next chapter in my life. But I'll keep you guys posted.