There are days where the obvious course of action is just that, obvious. But some backstory.
My facility is facing financial issues of an extreme variety. Between reduced reimbursement due to Congressional inaction, higher amounts of Medicaid and flat-out charity care we’re millions in the hole and it is necessitating drastic action. Layoffs are definitely in the picture. We thought that nursing itself would be spared, reduced to not replacing retirements and unloading PRN/part-time nurses. But no, the emergency reaches further than that. It won’t be calmed by those measures and there are only so many non-nursing auxiliary positions to cut. So it comes down to this: layoffs of bedside staff. This means increased ratios at the bedside, less staff on the floor and a general reduction in our ability to care for patients, while still being required to deliver the same care, check the same boxes and generally carry on, doing more with less.
This was not the facility I came to 5 years ago. It is not the same floor I came to 5 years ago. We’ve devolved, reduced to essentially a nursing home with telemetry capability. No longer being challenged except for the nightly herding of cats I knew it was well past time to move on. And I had been waiting for the right time to do so. When this unprecedented financial morass emerged I had a feeling that things would be changing. Being involved as a charge nurse, I knew the enormity of the changes and how it will effect the staff. And I wanted no part of it. Plus, I was scared for my own job.
So when the offer for a severance package for those willing to leave voluntarily came by email, I saw it as my sign. It took a bit to realize it was my sign, but in the end both my wife and I came to same conclusion: this was our impetus to move on into our next adventure.
So I took it. So did quite a few other staff, which is telling to me in that folks would rather leave than endure the changes slated to happen. There is a bright side, because so many opted to do so, no one had to be involuntarily laid off on the units I’m a part of. We saved jobs and found a new path.
I didn’t want to write anything of this until it was for sure, but I signed my papers yesterday and have a firm end date. It’s official. When I signed the papers there was a rush of conflicting feelings, fear, excitement, sadness, peace all fighting for attention. The last couple of days have been a huge upper as person after person comes up to me and tells me how much they’ve enjoyed working with me and will miss me when I’m gone, it validates the hard work I’ve done over the years. Still it’s freaky. It is a huge step into the unknown. But there is a precedent. When I went to nursing school, we did much the same thing, pulled up stakes, packed the truck and headed out into the world and things turned out OK. While finding work could be a problem, I’m confident with my experience and knowledge it won’t be a problem for long, plus there is a little cushion thanks to severance. I’m not leaving nursing, just finding a new place to practice it, new things to learn, new people to meet, a new start one that will hopefully help pull me out of the burnout ditch I’ve been stuck in for the last year or so. And you all have a front row seat to it!