Tuesday, 25 February 2014

In Two Minds

At the end of last year I made a list of aims for the new year. Sort of like resolutions, but more a list of this I want to achieve in 2014. 

One of those was to find a new job. Here's what I wrote in December: 

"The hospital I work in is moving site in 2015, which means it will be further away and take longer to get there. Although I drive. I don't fancy the extra 15/20 min drive and I'm away from my family for long enough on a 12 hour shift. Plus we're not moving over as a ward or team; we will all be split up, which is a shame because we are an awesome team, and I don't think I'd be happy in the new place.  I discussed my fears with my ward sister, who basically outright said I'd better start looking for a new job.  So I am. I'm taking this opportunity go for for my dream job.  I'm not looking for a promotion or a higher grade.  I always wanted to be a community nurse, since before I started my nursing training, so it just feels like the right time to start applying.  Fingers crossed."

Two jobs came up that looked perfect, both based in the community, both the same pay grade I'm at now. So I applied. And, happily, I was called for interview. 

And here's where it goes disastrously wrong. 

Interviews in nursing have clearly changed since my last interview eight years ago. (Has it really been eight years since I qualified? Time flies).  The interviews were competency based. Questions worded in such a way that it seems only the interviewers knew what they meant. Questions that require giving examples of experiences and situations in your career. Fair enough.  But that's where my mind goes blank. I am rubbish at thinking of good answers on the spot, especially if the questions are not in laymens terms. And they don't even ask questions about the way you nurse, or how good a nurse you are. They want to know how you handle situations. If it had been a written test, it would have  been fine. Time to think and explain myself. I wanted to stand up and rhyme off all my reasons of why I'm a good nurse, and a great team member and all my strengths and weaknesses, but it seems they don't want to know any of that. 

This experience of interviewing for a job has had me questioning myself. Does the fact that I can't answer these questions comprehensively mean I'm not a good nurse? Am I stuck nursing on the ward forever? 

It's also had me wondering, do I really want a change? Working 12 hour shifts has it's pros and cons and recently I've found myself listing them all in my head:

Pro: Only work three or four days a week, so more days off through the week and more time to spend with the wee one. 

Con: unpredictable nature of shifts, creating an inability to plan and commit to other peoples plans, and missing out on valuable time with the wee one. 

Pro: Familiarity. I know my job, I do it well, and I work well with my colleagues. 

Con: it's not as challenging as it used to be. 

Pro: Anti-social hours pay for working weekends and nights. 

Con: working 12 hour weekend and night shifts, meaning I miss out on family time with my husband and the wee one. 

The problem with working 12 hour shifts is that when I'm three 12 hour days in a row, I don't get to see the wee one at all. She's asleep when I go to work, and asleep (most nights) by the time I get home. I miss her terribly on those days. But I treasure my days off with her and we spend all day together. I don't like being away from her for long spells, and I know other parents manage it, but it feels unfair. And she may be only 2, but man, they know how to make you feel guilty! 

I keep thinking if I went Monday to Friday, 9-5. It would be better for us, but really, would it? I would be taking a drop in wages and I would be away 5 days a week instead of 3 or 4, but I would see the wee one every day, and I'd have almost every weekend off. It would mean my parents would have to babysit got at least 4 or 5 hours every day, instead of only 2 or 3 and that hardly seems fair to them. They need to enjoy their retirement too.

Would a complete change be worth it? Could we live on a lesser wage? Right now I'm not so sure.

Maybe being unsuccessful at these interviews has been a blessing in disguise.  My mum said before my second interview, that if I didn't get the job, then it wasn't the right job for me, and it's not the end of the world. I think she was right, on both counts. Perhaps at the moment, I'm in the job I'm meant to be in. 

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