Being a nurse is what I do, but it’s not everything I am.
Don’t get me wrong – I love the practice of nursing. If you want to make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives and in your community, there are few better ways to do it. Like any other registered nurse, I love being able to work alongside other clinicians to provide people with the care they need. There is immense satisfaction to be had in developing human connections at the bedside, to bringing comfort to families in their time of need.
But at the end of the day, “nurse” is just one of the many hats I wear on a daily basis. I’m a mother and soon-to-be grandmother. My husband and I are just recently married, so now you can add wife to the list. I’m a regular person with interests, hobbies, and a life outside of work. As much as I love nursing, I’ve learned that doing it full-time doesn’t leave a lot of room for a fulfilling personal life.
After I graduated from nursing school, my first job was in a hospital on a med surg neurotrauma floor. I knew almost immediately that this was what I would be doing for the rest of my life. As I moved forward through my career, eventually landing in emergency medicine, I began to recognize some of the struggles inherent to full-time nursing.
As a full-time nurse in a hospital, I was having trouble being present for my daughter as she was growing up. I couldn’t take off work like every other mom to take her to the doctor when she was sick. Planning my shifts around her life – and around my life – was difficult. Every occasion required a Plan A, a Plan B, and oftentimes, a Plan C and D.
I needed much more autonomy in my life. So, I became a travel nurse, picking up local contracts when they were available. But it was still restrictive, especially when it came to time off. What I needed was flexibility – the ability to be a good mom, to have a personal life, while still doing what I love and providing for my family.
Discovering CareRev was a pivotal moment in my career. As an independent contractor nurse, I’m able to work for myself and schedule shifts around my life rather than the other way around. Nothing fundamental has changed about my job: I’m still going into hospitals, still working alongside other clinicians, still able to provide the best care possible to patients. But my life has improved drastically. I am able to be present in everything that I do, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time.
I’m entering a new chapter in my life, and I need the flexibility so that I can wear my nurse hat, and still be present for my daughter while she steps into this exciting and challenging role as a new mom. I can finally be there for her doctor’s appointments during the day, and pick up a shift that night. I can take time off to be where I’m needed and where I want to be. And when I come back to work, I can be fully-present with patients and care teams because I’ve taken care of everything I need to take care of at home.
There was a time in my life when I felt I had to choose between my job, my family, and my own interests. Being an independent nursing professional has given me an opportunity to balance all three, on my terms. I look forward to my future – one where I can take care of patients when I want, where I can be there for my daughter and grandchild, where I can travel and enjoy life with my husband. That’s not a future I have always been able to imagine for myself.