I have not blogged recently; I have been too busy. Too busy! Busy with real, paid, reasonably consistent writing work! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!
I have two days left at my job as a proper nurse, and so more hugs have been forthcoming. People have started wishing me luck in my new job, and I have to (or try to) hold back from saying ‘well I haven’t got a new job’, or from reeling in horror at the thought that I haven’t got another job to go to. I HAVE. It is a job. Being self-employed is going to be a culture shock. I won’t have to get up at 6. I will be a writer. And when I say that I shouldn’t say it in a silly grandiose voice as if it’s a huge affectation.
I’ve been a nurse for a long time now; actually I’ve only ever been a nurse, or a student nurse, or a healthcare assistant. And it can be a really hard job. It can be incredibly busy, and busy with stuff that is all so important, and all the people who are keeping you busy are having the worst times of their lives, or they are desperate to get to the toilet but they’re attached to loads of tubes and wires and they can’t remember why, or their heart’s stopping, or they’re in pain, or their relative needs to know what’s going on or a million other things. It’s a really, really hard job. And then there are the ever-present staffing problems. That may or may not be linked to how hard it can be. I don’t know, I’m leaving.
Lots of jobs are hard, in all kinds of ways. I’ve never worked outdoors in winter, I bet that’s hard. I’ve never flown a passenger jet, I bet that’s hard. But people who work in care work hard. And they choose to do it, and there are millions of them, and they’re out there right now doing all the things it takes to make dysfunctional bodies manageable. I’m not a subscriber to the idea that people who work in healthcare are martyrs, or angels, or anything like that, and nor should they be – human care and compassion is paramount of course but there is so much more to it than that old idea of vocation. I genuinely believe that the idea of a vocation was invented to stop workers from fighting for their rights.
It occurs to me that there are lots of jobs that are not hard. Everything has its own stressors and priorities, for sure, but I’m sure there’s work out there where you don’t have to get up at 6, where you always have time for a cuppa, and where no one can be seriously harmed by your omissions. I want that. I want one of those jobs. Every few weeks there’ll be a flare-up of stories in the papers about how the NHS is haemorrhaging nurses, and it’s certainly multifactorial and an expression of a whole raft of problems, but couldn’t it just be that every year 20 000 nurses wake up and realise they could just have a nice job where they never get bitten?