I have 14 shifts left before I leave work. As I’m walking out with no guaranteed income and will be on the nurse bank for the same hospital there’s a good chance I’ll be there quite a lot anyway, but it’s a psychological hurdle.
As I’m getting closer to leaving, I’m aware that I may be dependent on the intrinsic social value of Being A Nurse. If asked, I would have always said that one of the more annoying thing about nurses, and healthcare workers in general is that having a job – a ‘vocation’ – that is almost universally agreed to be Good, and that we are taught from childhood is a hard, worthy, perhaps noble occupation is… well, not very good for you. People can become martyrs to an image, and once we start believing ourselves to be good because we’ve got a certain job then maybe we stop really being Good at all, if only because we’re tacitly subscribing to the idea that other people’s occupations might be less worthy than ours.
With that as a disclaimer, I know that I’m leaving a job where it’s really important that you’re present and focused and where if you’re late it might mean that someone who’s been there for thirteen hours has to stay and wait for you or risk lives from short staffing. I’m leaving a job with high societal value to go to a job where, actually, the only person who’ll really take any harm from my not doing the work is myself. I’ll need to make a conscious effort to enjoy and value the work I’m doing, even if it’s not ennobled and classically, biblically worthy. I am leaving nursing. That means I no longer want to anoint the sores of the afflicted, wash the feet of the infectious, scrub the false teeth of the unwashed and purulent public. Am I less Good? Maybe. Will I be less valued in society? Certainly. Will I enjoy my life more? Possibly; I’m alright, Jack, I’ll leave the anointing to someone else.