A year ago on September 19, 2017 I was in a car wreck that seemed like the end of the world to me. I say that because I got rear-ended badly and the first thing I was freaking out about was my job as an ICU nurse… I mean of course I was concerned if I was injured, but automatically I thought “is my nursing career over…?”
Being 25 and in a car wreck like that terrified me because I was so scared I’d have to leave my job as an ICU nurse. My mind couldn’t really comprehend me going to any other types of nursing jobs at this time, because I’d been an ICU nurse since fresh out of nursing school.
After the wreck, I took a couple weeks off from work (Dr’s orders) and was diagnosed with some bulging discs and sciatica… and then went back to my job in the ICU. Going back I was in MISERABLE pain. My ability to turn patients in bed, give baths, etc was not the same. By the middle of my 12 hour shift my back would be screaming at me to relax and let it heal. I realized slowly that my time as an ICU nurse was coming to an end. However, I did not want to accept this.
Finally, in December, my boss and I decided it was time for me to leave the ICU. I did and went on a break for about 3 months to let my back heal. During this time I was very depressed and anxious, because I didn’t know what the future held, just that I’d lost a huge part of myself… Being an ICU nurse.
After a few months of healing and TRYING to work on my mental health, a good friend told me to work with her as a home health nurse.
I thought she was CRAZY. If you’d asked me when I graduated nursing school over four years ago if i’d ever consider home health nursing, I would have laughed in your face. Anyways, I prayed and talked to my husband about it and ultimately decided let’s give it a try!!!
In April I started my job as a home health nurse part-time because I didn’t want to go back full-time and end up quitting, or getting more injured.
This job is so different than the ICU and since April not only have I grown exponentially as a person, but as a nurse.
My mental health has improved, lots of self-care, prioritizing myself and my family, and making sure to appreciate the small things in life. I really enjoy my job, especially the patients I see and treat. Most are elderly, but not all and the stories I hear are amazing. When I was an ICU nurse I learned to not take life for granted, especially after hard situations and cases I saw, but my patients I see now are living proof that they live life to the fullest.
This car wreck has given me pain in my back since that varies day to day, and for months I held out hope of someday going back to a position in the ICU. All I know for sure is that I’m blessed where I’m at right now.
Special thanks to my family, Chris, and my friends for supporting me through this wreck and this last year. Manu ups and downs both with my physical and mental health. This year will be better!