I’m very unsettled at the moment. You may have noticed.
Each day, I bounce from room to room, from project to project. I hit upon something that takes my fancy for several hours – throw myself into it – it’s delightful – I’m delighted – I’m going to do marvellous things with it. Then, the next morning, I’m back to bouncing.
Feverishly filling in a giant crossword book I found. Spending waaaaaaay to long playing mahjong on the computer.
The one upside to this state, is that slowly, bit by bit, each room is getting a good shaking out and organising. This only seems to happen by creating an unholy mess first. And sometimes, the crosswords overtake me and the mess lurks about for a few days.
The reason for this chaos. I am at a completely loose end. You see, it’s a funny thing this nursing business. You know how there’s this perception that there are never enough nurses. Well that’s only sort of true. The degree we undertake these days, to gain our registration, is so very very university based – with so little clinical practice – that no one wants to employ a newly graduated nurse. She needs way to much training to be safe and useful. No one except nursing homes.
They’re usually desperate and will cheerfully snatch up a new graduate and put her in charge of 40 – 80 residents. She will be the only registered nurse on duty and will be expected to provide medication to frail and vulnerable people she’s never laid eyes on before and accept complete responsibility for their wellbeing. It’s a recipe for disaster – the examples of which hit the coroner’s court. Mention working in a nursing home and newly graduated nurses shudder with fear.
And so we have the graduate year. I think almost all of the hospitals have them. The big public hospitals have big intakes, the little private hospitals have little intakes. And they all have hundreds and hundreds of new graduates applying. And guess what – there are nowhere near enough graduate places for those who are graduating – at least a third of graduates will miss out. Makes you wonder where they wind up.
Do they just grit their teeth and head to the nursing homes, fingers crossed that they don’t kill a poor old soul? Do they go rural (another whole can of worms)? Do they do agency work – as terrifying as nursing home work – imagine a ward in a hospital where you know nobody, don’t know how they do things, have never walked those corridors, navigated that drug room, met those patients, and you have almost no clinical experience – nice! Do they go bank (casual work for a particular hospital – not quite as bad as agency – at least you stick with the one hospital)? Or do they wind up in all sorts of random places where they will never develop the skills they’ve studied for – like doctors’ surgeries and schools and occupational health and safety things. All of these alternatives to the real thing send chills down my spine.
Where does this all leave me? Well – I achieved a good GPA. I have great clinical reports and glowing references from really good placements. I put in my four applications for a grad year – you are only allowed four – and you can only apply one year (theoretically you can apply every year, but you will always be considered last after your first go – so given there’s a shortage of places … ) I received three interviews at 3 big public hospitals – all of which I had been to as a student and had great references from.
The fourth application – a private hospital where I’d also had a great placement and really clicked with the senior nursing staff – I missed out on an interview – they emailed me one hour after applications closed to advise me. I was HORRIFIED to have been dismissed so quickly so queried their decision. Turns out they didn’t like my clinical reports – I used my last two reports which were from the Royal Children’s Hospital and The Alfred ICU – two of the most sought after placements – this private hospital wanted general medical or surgical. Really? Bugger them.
I had my interviews. The first two were up quick. The third was a few weeks back. I think they went well. Hard to know. And now – I have no clue as to what 2015 will hold for me because we don’t find out until October 14th!!!!!!! Can you believe we have to wait that long. My first interview – at The Alfred – was on August 5th. That’s 2 1/2 months wait. Aaaaaaaaargh!!!!! And get this – the final joyful bit of the whole torturous process – we only get one offer. That’s right. Even if all the hospitals who interviewed you want to offer you a grad year, you will only hear from the one you listed first, so you better make sure you ordered that list just right. AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGHHHH!
For this marvellous process, we say thank you to the State Government of Victoria and their canny little program ComputerMatch.
So, until October 14th, I am bouncing around, fretting hourly about whether I will get an offer. Rehashing those interviews and thinking up 20 ways I could have answered each question better. Filling out yet another crossword. Wasting more time on mahjong. Not finishing my quilts. Not writing up my crochet pattern. Not working on my needlepoints and cross stitches. Not finishing off that yoke on Abby’s sweater or Mum’s stripey sweater or Julian’s Argyle. Not upholstering the footstool. Not painting the front porch chairs. Jeeez I’m slack.
Instead, I’m hating that here I am – with months of blissful home time – and I am not using it wisely. I am flitting about chaotically – perpetually lonely and seemingly unable to finish even one thing. Wanting the day to pass quickly so that Abby and Julian are home. Incredulous that another week has disappeared. Sad that the weekend vanished in the blink of an eye. Longing for the year to just jolly well slow down. Wishing I could hack into ComputerMatch and get an offer now so that I can stop THINKING about it all of the time and just settle down to being lucky Lily at home.
Man, I am all over the place.