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Returning to work jitters

livin
Posts: 319
Joined: Jan 2003

Hello everyone. In the next few months I will be returning to work after being off 3 years. I have worked 25 years as a nurse in long term care. I loved my job except over the years nursing has been more demading for me. I felt that it was begining to take a toll on my health. I have had only 2 jobs in my life,camp couselor and nurse. I guess what Iam saying is that I don't think I can go back to the profession. I have said to my husband that if I go back I think it would kill me. I am so affraid of any added stress will bring back my Cancer. I was stressed out during the return to work after the breast cancer that I had to take a medical leave. I was put on Meds but still had a high stress level. After I had the Colon Cancer which I thought I was going to die from I quit my job,yes quit I could not take it any more. Will as I think about returning I have become nervous again knots in my stomach not focus when people talk to me. Don't get me wrong I thank GOD each and everyday I am here on earth. I hate to say it maybe I need Professional help again. Any one felt like this. I keep saying to myself Iam a live and that the most important thing. Livin

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

Good morning, Livin'

Ya know, if you're that afraid of going back to nursing, then don't. Your body knows what it needs. I am convinced that there is a link between stress and cancer. When people ask me what I'm going to do when I retire, I often tell them that the greeter job at Wal Mart is looking pretty good. You know? I wonder if there isn't some hint of the serious in my reply!

Working, for me, makes me feel validated and provides me the mental and physical stimulation I need (not to mention pays the bills!). That's not necessarily the case for everyone. If you want to work, then try doing something else that you feel more comfortable doing or just do less (i.e. part-time) nursing.

You'll do the right thing.

Best regards

- SpongeBob

bsrules
Posts: 296
Joined: Mar 2004

Hello Livin,
My husband felt just like you do. He was out of work for only 6 months. He is self employed. He lost all his muscle tone along with alot of weight. He was so worried as he is a plumber/carpenter. His first couple of days were very slow but I told him to just take one day at a time. He came home one day laughing I aked what was up - he said he tried to hammer a nail and one hand didn't work he used 2 hands and still could get it all the way in so he decided to take a short cut and used a drill screw. There is always other ways to do things just take your time think it through and you will be fine!!! You have been working the toughest job you ever had in your life!!! SURVIVAL!!!! Just remember that!!!! You are a better person now knowing what people are truely going through as you were there!!! GOOD LUCK!!!! I am rooting for you!!!

bsrules ( Sue )

KrisS
Posts: 232
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi Livin- I agree with Sponge Bob that stress is related to cancer in some way. If nothing else, you just don't take care of yourself as well when you are under long term stress.

I left my job when I developed progressive metastatic disease and physically no longer could work. I loved my job but I think eliminating the stress has helped me in my battle. I would get upset about anything that I thought was detrimental to the business, even if it did not involve me or my job. In working so closely and such long hours with many other people, I developed wonderful friendships, but also become more personally involved. Office politics, personality clashes and people just having a bad day all affected me greatly. Since improving, I have gone back to "fill in" at my old job intermittantly. It is much easier to do the work that I enjoy and ignore the things I can do little or nothing about when I am not there 60+ hrs a week.

You said you loved your job, and I can imagine how rewarding nursing would be. I know how appreciative and attached I have gotten to the nurses that who have cared for me. I can imagine that working with long term care patients would be extrodinarily rewarding, but I also suspect that the dependence and trust that patients develop for you would be stressful also if you get so busy that you can not give them all the attention that you would like.

It is natural to be stressed/scared when you start back to work after a long break, but you don't want to have to look forward to nothing but chronic stress once you get back in the groove. Perhaps there is some way to separate the part you love from the part that is so stressful.

You do not say what the circumstances for your return to work are. Is it that you have to work full time for benefits, income? Are you tied to coming back to the same job that you left?

Maybe working part time, or with a different type of patient who requires shorter term care. Perhaps working in a smaller or larger facility, or one with a different atmosphere would be better?

Would switching to some other related job in healthcare with less direct responsibility for moment to moment care of patients would be better?

Sitting down with a piece of paper and brainstorming the options no matter how far fetched it may be and the plusses and minuses of each can help a lot in making a decision and getting comfortable with it.

Best wishes, I think you will work it out and do just fine.

Kris

livin
Posts: 319
Joined: Jan 2003

Thanks all that replied to my situation. Kriss You replied to me last year when I was sick as a dog with servere abd. pains that ended up being a sticture of my intestine from radiation I had 2 years ago. Well they found out what I had after 3 months of suffering I lost 30 pounds (Never gained it back-thank GOD) and devoloped Pneumonia as a result. Now I have to have my intestine dialated every 6 months during a Colonostomy I will have my 3rd one in June. I believe you have or had a Colostomy or ilestomy right. Any way it takes me 15 min. to have Bowel movement now which are still painful but nowhere as painful as before. I take M.S. Contin q 12 hrs and percocet for break through pain. I also have a Baker Cyst Arthritis and Fluid on the knee which these meds also help. I get shots in the knee q 3 months which has also helped. When I use to work I would do my job and your job if you didn't do it fast enough. I felt that I was dealing with people lives and you don't have time to be playing around or waiting to the next person come around to do something. At times I took my Job personally. I would bring my Job home. I would return to the Job after my shift if I thought I forgot something or something wasn't right. As it was I worked the 7-3 Shift and would work 7-5 easily everyday, alot a time with asking for overtime pay. I laugh now I remember returning to work at 6 p.m. telling the second shift nurse I left my keys or lost something. Really I would be making sure I didn't forget to do something or making sure I did everything right that day. I was always a half hour early for my shift also. I use to say why can't I be like some other Nurses who use to take short cuts and don't even bat a eye about it. This is why I think I get to emotionally involved with my work. Then when staffing was short the aides were given extra patients so they were over worked also. I know a lot of hospitals have this problem. I will look into doing some thing else in the health field. As for going back to work I need the Money. Thanks for listening it helps to vent. I used to say I should Have a Ulcer, but I had Colon Cancer all the long. Livin

Moesimo's picture
Moesimo
Posts: 1075
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi, I am new to this board. I am also a nurse and have stage 3 rectal cancer. I was diagnosed in March 2003. I worked full time through chemo and radiation but had to take time off for 2 surgeries. I first went back part time and am now full time. I love my job and also need the income. I have kids in college. I work in radiology in special procedures. One of the things that we do is put the ports and picc lines in for chemo. I can now tell my patients that I had chemo, radiation and surgery and survived. I think that I make them feel more comfortable. I tell them, "I did it and survived, and you will too."

jsabol's picture
jsabol
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Livin,
I read your post and all the replies with great interest. I'm stage III, good recovery fro surgery and now on to chemo; halfway through my 6 month course.
I'm also a nurse; started out in psych 30 years (!!!!) ago, but found that working with people with severe mental illness took too much of a toll on me, part after I had kids. I now work, for the last 10 years, in dementia care. Currently I have a split position between an assisted living facility and a nursing home. This job involves a lot of staff training, care plan development, family teaching and support.
A friend at the nursing home has often said that long term care is a tough field to grow old in, particularly as we have dealt with parents decline and death, and when you have to face yur own tough illnesses. One of my good nurse friends now works at Barnes and Noble book store; walked away from nursing for a while to recharge her batteries.
I know what you mean about loving your work, but the its sooooo important to be sure to take care of yourself. Kris made some really good points; even when I'm having a good day, the bickering or complaining that some staff do all the time can be difficult to ignore.
I hope you have a chance to plan for a job that meets your needs without taking too much out of you. There are a lot of opportunities in nursing, from staff development, case management, office nurse, that may be less demading than staff nurse positions.
By the way, my hubby is a psychologist, and I think getting professional help from the right person is not something to be ashamed of.
Good luck to you. I look forward to hearing about your decisions. Judy

Kathpeace
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2004

Good Morning Livin, I am also a nurse for 20 plus years and I have been out of work only since March and already have tons of questions about whether I want to go back to it or not. You know you have to follow your gut and your heart. If you think about all that nursing encompasses you are more than qualified for many different types of positions....

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