Gabrielle N Neff, LPN is the winner of the 2022 IntelyStars People’s Choice Award. (IntelyStars is the annual celebration of IntelyCare’s nurses and nursing assistants. We believe that nursing professionals deserve to be recognized and rewarded for the contributions they make year-round, not just during Nurse’s Week or CNA Week.)
Gabrielle is a neurodivergent nurse who spent 2020 through 2021 rediscovering her love of nursing. She knows the power in sharing her experience. Here is her story.
When I started working as a nurse, I was sure this would be my forever career. It never crossed my mind to think, “Is being a nurse worth it?” The hard days were outweighed by the impact of my work with my patients. And then, on March 11, 2020, everything changed.
With the official proclamation of the pandemic, nurses were thrust onto the front lines of a global health crisis. Even my unique experience in nursing school could never have prepared me for a new disease sweeping the world. My passion for nursing started to wane as I went from ‘healthcare hero’ to nothing comparable to that months later.
Is being a nurse hard? Is being a nurse stressful? 100%! Nursing has always been demanding, but in 2020 we were thrust into a new healthcare situation. I was working a full-time schedule, working holidays and weekends, picking up extra hours to help out at my place of employment, and having my time-off requests declined. Working as a nurse during the pandemic almost broke me.
My Pandemic Experience
In the beginning of the global health crisis, there was no time to think. At one point the only people working on the floor caring for critically ill patients were me and my Director of Nursing. I called 911 multiple times throughout the shift, and I left work feeling mentally numb, and mentally ill.
Nursing had been a job where every shift I gave it my all, then left it at the door when my shift ended. I couldn’t do that anymore. I was concerned for my patients, as well as my own health, to a heightened degree. As a nurse, I was scared about this illness that was killing residents by the hour. In those conditions, it was difficult to find people to work, and I spent every single shift short staffed.
As much as I loved nursing, I could feel my passion slowly withering away.
Is Being a Nurse Worth it During an On-Going Global Health Crisis?
On top of being short-staffed I was starting to miss out on life. Family gatherings, birthdays, and holidays were all happening without me. My grandfather’s birthday was coming up and I requested the time off, but was denied. I was upset because I worked every other weekend and my job was keeping me from him. I didn’t even know at the time that it would be his last birthday. A year into the pandemic he had fallen ill, and ended up passing away at the hospital. I missed his last birthday, my last chance to share in his special day, because I was working.
It was at this time that I revisited the question, “Is being a nurse worth it?” Was putting up with having no time off, feeling stressed, and constantly worried for my life and the lives of others still worth it? I was thinking a lot about the advantages and disadvantages of being a nurse, and sadly the bad was starting to outweigh the good.
Discovering Per Diem Nursing
After the death of my grandfather, I seriously started considering switching careers. I thought about going back to school to be a dental hygienist. Whatever I did, I knew that I needed to regain control of my schedule. I wanted a job that allowed me to work Monday-Thursday, with no weekend or holiday shifts. One of the worst parts of this time was that I was angry at myself. I felt that if I had made different decisions in my life, I could’ve been there for my grandfather’s last birthday.
That was when I stumbled on exactly the solution I was looking for. Per diem work. The reality was that I had never lost my passion for nursing, I had just lost my desire to work for a system that didn’t serve me. My friend introduced me to IntelyCare. I did my research and looked into the company. I thought to myself, “My heart is too warm, my love is too rare, and my passion is too strong to leave nursing. I belong here.”
I quickly applied and was employed by IntelyCare. I fell in love with the per diem model. I never worked this way before, where I could choose my own schedule, only take the highest paying shifts, and feel empowered again. I increased my monthly income, and was back in control of my finances and my life. Most importantly, I knew I was never going to be forced to miss a family function again.
My passion was back!
Is Being a Nurse Worth it? Yes, Especially When You Can Choose Your Shifts
Shifting to per diem was the difference between me leaving nursing and staying in my career. If you’ve been wondering whether you can continue working in the nursing field, know that you have options. Reach out to IntelyCare today to see how you can take control of your schedule.