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Sixteen years ago when I became a nurse, I assumed I'd always
work in a hospital. Hospitals were where the action was. I went from a
medical unit to obstetrics to inpatient psychiatry. Two and a half
years ago as I drove out of the hospital parking lot crying, I knew
I'd burn my license before I ever worked in a hospital again. I cried
because I was totally exhausted. I cried because I didn't know how
I'd pay my bills. I cried because I was leaving my patients behind.
But I cried mostly because I loved my job. I didn't burn out on
nursing. I just gave up the assumption that to be a real nurse, I
had to be in a hospital. I left the hospital in order to remain a
nurse. It happened slowly and steadily, but one day I realized I
was the last person with clinical training in the chain of command.
My immediate boss was an art therapist, and the corporate director
had an MBA. I was the only full-time RN in an acute psychiatric day
hospital with 20 to 30 patients.
National Public RadioJACKI LYDEN, host, Commentator DonnaD'Amico.