Change? Bring it on … I can take it!
Sometimes change is sudden. As in when our neighbor’s house was sold, then demolished a few weeks back. For the 14 years we’ve lived in our home it was always beside us, constant and reassuring. Then in the space of just a few hours it disappeared – all the memories and associations of the family who lived there replaced by a gaping hole in the ground. Yikes.
Some change is much more subtle. I have been a nurse for over 30 years. It is part of my identity and a centre point of my being. Even as I raised a family and began to pursue a career as a professional speaker, I made sure to keep my hand in the profession. I loved taking shifts, seeing my colleagues, working as a team, doing good and important work.
Over the past decade, as my speaking career demanded much more of my time, it became clear that at some point I would have to make a choice. Change had also come to the operating room and it was stressful managing two careers.
Reflecting back to the early days on the nursing wards in Vancouver, I remembered being nervous and excited that I was trusted to administer front line healthcare.
About seven years in I advanced to the operating room. The challenge and the excitement notched up considerably. I loved the OR. We worked as a team sometimes under extreme pressure, in life and death situations. The nurses, doctors and support staff were part of my extended family. It wasn’t easy taking call, and having to do shifts that could go 18 or 24 hours straight. The memories are vivid: the tough cases, the variety of patients, all the laughter and sometimes tears.
I deliberated my status for months, frightened by the prospect of cutting the nursing tether and finally stepping away. Then one morning I sat down at my desk, took a deep breath, and wrote my letter of resignation. And just like that it ended. Pffft. Gone. Case closed, Over and out. No gold watch. No retirement party or fanfare…just a chat and a warm hug in the Manager’s office.
As I made that familiar drive home from the hospital, I welled up with the realization that my nursing days were officially behind me. To realize I was stepping away was hard to accept. But, I reasoned, life is all about change. And life dares us to embrace it, because out of change comes growth and adventure. Accepting this made me feel grateful for all that nursing has given me, and to know my speaking career will be the channel through which I am able to share all the stories and life lessons nursing has provided over the years.
Nursing is my identity and no letter of resignation can ever take that away!