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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Learning to say 'no, thank you."

Today is my first real day off in about two weeks. I have been picking up short calls on top of my prescheduled shifts. Because I only work casual at my job, and being a new grad I find that having work is one of my major worries. I graduated at a time when government cuts have caused a strain on work for nurses. Strange hey? because the nursing shortage is still a big problem in Canada. I guess, it was just unfortunate that I started nursing at that down-part of the cycle. There has been enough work, don't get me wrong. As I said in my past posts, I have been working more than full time hours. Although, when I get called, I still hesitate to say no. Sometimes I get called to work at my other job when I am already working, and I feel so guilty turning the shift down. I just can't help thinking that when in a few months, i would not have the luxury of saying no to shifts. Oh, the life of a new grad.

While I was nursing school, this "blip" as the health authorities would call it, did not exist. There was so much work! New grads were getting accepted into specialized areas. Nowadays, I consider myself lucky to get two jobs right off the bat, and to have been working full time right after graduation. I have some classmates who just started gettting hired now. They were sitting at home for 2 months.

All these lead me to taking on as much work as I can. After all, how much work could there really be available for me? With the budget cuts and all? Well, there has been a lot of work, especially because it's summer. That being said, I am now feeling the toll of working so much. I am starting to get tired, and my patience is waning. Clear signs of needing a break from work, even for just a day- and so I said "no" when I was called to cover a shift today. I'd rather recuperate than get sick and miss 3-5 days of work.

Now I understand what the other nurses in the unit were telling me. They said it was probably a blessing in disguise that I graduated during the down-cycle, because when they graduated, they worked too much that they either got really ill, or they had a breakdown. It is an art of work-life balance- that I have yet to master. It's learning how to balance getting my skills grounded and my health in-check. I am blessed to have concerned colleagues that help me in the process. They really are guardian angels to us new grads. :)

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