Greener Grass

A month ago I mentally let go of my current job. I went looking for something else. I didn’t know what, but I knew The Universe would help me. It was time for a change. I could feel it in the wind and I wrote about it.

I applied to several potential positions within my institution (I’ve got twenty three years in and a lovely retirement waiting when I hit twenty five). I interviewed for two. And either position was mine for the taking.

And then the wind blew again. Only the change was internal. I’ve been around enough to know the old adage about greener grass. What do you gain by leaving? What do you lose? And being me, I had been honest and up front with my management from jump about the fact I was looking for a change and a challenge.

Enter The Universe. And the people I work with whom I love.

Honest conversations followed, good advice and options to change, challenge and engage me right where I stood. In the job I love, with the people who are family, doing the dance with the Devil I know.

Not everyone can do what I do. I think some of the hardest parts are not the job itself — its the personal stuff. I have to live my life about 10–13 weeks ahead to be sure any time off requests are in so the OR is staffed. I can’t just say, “I want next Tuesday off because something’s come up”. There is no flexibility. You adjust and you learn to live that way. I’ve been an ICU or OR nurse most of my career. It is just the way it is.

The second thing is as an OR nurse, you are captive in your OR once the patient arrives. You don’t leave without another nurse to relieve you. Meaning, if you have to pee, you can’t. You have to call for relief. If there’s no relief nurse, you are SOL. When I used to scrub hearts, I learned to control my fluid intake because once you went on bypass the surgeons didn’t allow scrub relief. Unless you ‘done fell out’. A lot of OR nurses suffer from kidney stones and bladder issues.

When I look at the nuts and bolts of another job though, getting to pee and take time off whenever I want is a lovely bonus — for sure. But doing the job itself, will I love it like I love the OR? Likely not. I have never loved a job like I love the OR.

Working with a surgeon in the OR is unlike working with them in any other area. The OR is the surgeon’s happy place. And for the most part, they adore their OR staff. We enjoy a unique relationship with them and are usually on a first name basis with even attending surgeons. We know their quirks, we save them from having to train their residents in the nuances of positioning, draping the site, and dressing the wounds, and we know them. We can tell by the tone of their voice when it’s time to turn the music down or when it’s time for the scrub nurse to push the medical student out of the way because teaching is over and he needs experienced help.

This is my world. Through my exploration of other options, I came to appreciate how much I loved it and the places I had left to grow in it.

I left it once and came back. Wiser OR nurses have always told me, ‘Once An OR Nurse, Always An OR Nurse.’ I’m going to listen to them, and The Universe, and my heart.