“Wherever you go, you will be there. ~Unknown
I’ve heard this word many times in my life and that’s it.heard, thought hmm, and moved on. Well, here I am, 39 years old, and I’m starting to see and understand it.
Lately, I’ve started noticing this idea popping up again and again when careers change. I went from an ER nurse to a transfer center RN. So from bedside nursing to office work.
One day, sitting in my new quiet office area watching the ER board meeting (which shows how many patients are currently in the emergency room), I see about 98 patients out of 40. I realized that 4 bed unit. I really felt like I was in the ER. I was terrified in my heart and felt sympathy for the patients, nurses, doctors, etc.
Then I thought, what the hell am i doing i’m in the office I’m not down in the ER. If this office feels like an ER, why did you change jobs?
In that moment, I knew, like Katie, I had to heal this wound. Whatever it is, you have to heal it.
I took a deep breath and consciously tried not to feel that way. I have decided to acknowledge that waiting times are long, workers are overwhelmed, and hospitals are oversaturated and patients may not get the care they need.
In that moment, I decided to thank myself for not being one of them. I chose to feel better. I decided to celebrate my escape from an unhealthy environment.
Another time was when I was working on a stroke transplant. Everyone was rush, rush, rush.
I felt my face turn red. Her chest tightened. Fear and worry had taken over. I thought to myself, Oh my god, Katie. you’re doing it again Feels like you are in a bedside emergency room. Calm down. Remember, if you’re trying to feel what you felt in the ER, you should have stayed in the ER.
I took another deep breath. I remember that I am only one person. I did the best I could, as fast as I could. That was enough. I don’t have a magic wand and reminded myself that I can’t teleport anyone in the blink of an eye. I felt better, but I was really starting to have a sense of “wherever I went, I was there.”
This happened again on a day of consistent work at the transfer center. I tried to be creative and tried patient swaps, but in the end, all my work went nowhere.
It said “zero” because I was sending an email stating the transfer was complete.I had a feeling like Oh, they’ll think I didn’t do anything today. The ER didn’t help me at all. Of her 33 hospitalized patients, none were discharged.
The truth is I did my best. There was something out of my control that inhibited movement.
In that moment of frustration, I once again heard the voice in my head saying, “Wherever you go, you will be there.”
I started talking about my feelings with one of my friends and colleagues. He asked me if I was familiar with codependency. I think it was because he could see my signs.
It made me laugh because codependency is definitely something I’m trying to overcome. It doesn’t just show up in relationships. It shows up in every area of my life.
In my job, I validate my importance by the number of hospital transfers I have made, even though there are so many factors involved in transfers, most of which are beyond my control. I showed you how.
My personal relationships have shown me how I please everyone but myself and ultimately feel worthy based on their approval.
According to Psychology Today, codependency is “a dysfunctional relationship dynamic in which one person assumes the role of a giver and sacrifices his or her needs for the sake of another person.”
In my opinion, this is what is happening in healthcare. So many health care providers give, give, give, but only get paid. It is unsustainable and unsatisfying to individuals and their psyches.
Do you often feel responsible and over-invested in other people’s lives by giving up your own feelings, thoughts and identities? You feel guilty for asking for a break or just sitting. Do you have poor or no boundaries with your friends, family, colleagues, or clients? If so, it’s a good idea to take some time to reflect and see if you’re codependent.
Awareness and understanding of your role in times of burnout and frustration can lead to a more fulfilling life and career.
Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and emotions. They are powerful messengers. Take your time and be interested in your reactions and triggers. Replacing judgment with curiosity creates space in your brain for learning.
Looking back on my career as a nurse, I feel like a lot of people struggle with codependency, especially in the healthcare field. I think that perhaps we create most of our problems from unhealthy patterns that develop in childhood. I learned to please others and to suppress and deny my own feelings.
So what did I really feel in that moment, the moment I felt guilty that I hadn’t moved? I felt like I wasn’t good enough, why? It’s hard to break old habits, but I’m thankful that I’m conscious now. Awareness allows me to do better, create new habits and break old patterns.
Tomorrow is my last day as an RN. I want to take a step forward with conviction and build a new life and career for myself.
Don’t expect all rainbows and sunshine. On this journey, thoughts, feelings, and emotions follow me wherever I go.
You have to tell yourself not to choose based on your need for verification. I worry if I get even one “like” on something I post on social media, or if I don’t buy everything my son wants, he won’t like it.
But I must remind myself that I must not allow my opinions and preferences to dictate my worth.
It all starts with questioning your own thoughts and trying to get to the root of your actions.
Awareness allows me to grow, heal, and become my destiny. wholly imperfect.