The 5 stages of a nurse vacation
Because nurses typically work three days a week, we can schedule ourselves to have extended time off without taking vacation. (We’re awesome, I know.) For example, if I work Sunday, Monday and Tuesday this week and work Thursday, Friday and Saturday of next week…that leaves me with eight days off without using my vacation time.
Yes, this is quite the glorious perk of being a nurse. However, these nursey vacations, whether they are enjoyed on a sandy beach, historical landmark, mountainous peak, or on my comfy living room couch, still always contain the same five stages of grieving. Here they are, outlined below.
Stage 1: Denial
No, I am not a nurse. Do not ask me to do anything nursey. I don’t want to look at that new mole on your leg, oh close friend of mine. I don’t care that your dad’s blood pressure is 10 points less than it was last week and I don’t care if he goes to see his PCP. I will avoid large crowds because larger crowds mean more people that could potentially need CPR.
Stage 2: Anger
I can’t believe I wiped other people’s butts more than my own this week! I can’t believe a thin piece of latex was all that lay between my hand and feces! I hate that I didn’t pee for 13 hours on Tuesday! Why did I go into debt for school to clean up POOP!?
Stage 3: Bargaining
Alright God, if you make it so that I never have to wipe another butt (other than my own) again, I promise to never hide in an unconscious patient’s room again. I promise I’ll never “forget” to start a bowel prep until an hour before shift change. And I definitely won’t fart and blame it on my intubated and sedated patient.
Stage 4: Depression
Who am I kidding? This is hopeless. I’m going to have to go back to work. All of my patients are going to be detoxing, poop will be everywhere, and they’ll all be allergic to all pain medications except Dilaudid, and are nauseated and nothing will work but Phenergan. Oh, and they’re itching too so they’ll need some Benadryl to complete their cocktail. Every two hours. My life is over.
Stage 5: Acceptance
Awwww look at that old lady getting groceries! She’s so cute and needy! She needs ME! I want to help her and walk her to her car. I hope she took her meds today. I bet she takes aspirin, Lisinopril, Colace, and Simvastatin every day. She reminds me of that patient I had last week that cried when I left for the night. Aaaahhh darnit. I cannot deny who I am. I love who I am. I am a nurse.
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Kati Kleber BSN, RN CCRN is a a nationally certified critical care nurse located in Charlotte, NC. She is the Nurse Advisor and Editorial Director of the #ProtectNurses initiative, and will be guiding the content we curate, create, and share back with you. Kleber, aka Nurse Eyeroll, is a popular blogger, the voice behind the wildly successful #ProTips series, and a frequent speaker on nursing leadership. You can buy her book "Becoming Nursey" at nurseeyeroll.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other sites. She also has two more books in the works, which will be published by the American Nurses Association and on shelves Feb. 2016!
By Kati Kleber BSN, RN