For as long as I can remember I wanted to take care of people. My family and then a much wider group. I went into nursing to care. But found it harder than I expected. Over time I became fatigued by caring. Perhaps because of my nature I took on too much, inviting everyone’s problems as if they were mine. Giving care, but rarely receiving any in return I became burnt out. So, I moved into management, and started to make different choices in my personal life too.. Management is no easy option, I’d never worked harder mentally though not physically. But at least no one dies if you leave the office at 5pm. Recent events though have made me follow my instincts back to nursing.
It is fortunate that being a health manager in the UK allows you to remain on the nursing register. It isn’t in fact difficult to apply theoretical work in management back to nursing practice. My skills aren’t lost or dead, they have just been a little dormant. Also I have made it my business to keep up to date, even since I retired. Last November I was shocked to find I needed to revalidate. Three years had passed quickly. I wasn’t prepared, didn’t have the evidence to hand. I contacted the colleague who took my job after retirement to ask her opinion and she was adamant that I should revalidate one last time. So, she and I spent a morning together putting the evidence from files and memories together. That means I am currently still registered as a nurse.
The Coronavirus Pandemic
During the last pandemic (Swine flu) I managed Community locations where people could collect antivirals. I also awaited being called back into clinical practice. It thankfully didn’t happen. So, when Coronavirus reared it’s head, I assumed this would be similar. But clearly it is much much more serious. Day by day we have all watched the number of affected people rise. First in China and Asia then Italy and the rest of Europe. Over the weekend that should have been Eroticon, things in the UK changed. So much so that a week on all cafés. pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues are closed. Our planned trips to Budapest for Master’s birthday and France for Easter are cancelled. It looks too that getting outside will be difficult very soon. People are struggling to come to terms with the concept of social isolating and are congregating together outside rather than indoors.
My instinct is to offer to help
I’ve always said I’d never return to nursing practice. My back especially and body in general is tired. But having lost some weight I have more energy than for a while. Plus, I can see that health services, underfunded and resourced are struggling. Retired doctors and nurses are being asked to register an interest. They are people who have fallen off the registers over the past 3 years, but I am still on it. So on a whim on Friday I contacted my former boss and volunteered to help.
The speed with which things snowballed surprised me. Tomorrow morning I’m meeting with a community manager to discuss where my skills might be best utilised. That haste suggests things are more challenging than we can even imagine. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing but I’m sure that with a little online refresh training and some support in the workplace I’ll turn my hand at whatever they ask. You see, I’ve lived my entire managerial life on the skills learned in nursing school plus several years as a district nurse and nurse practitioner. I always said never again, but also know that you should never say never. Sometimes you have to follow your instincts to do what is right.