Burnout. Part Two. Me again.

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I guess looking back on my pre holiday blog things were starting to get to me and probably had been for a while. So I decided to do a bit of reading and research into burnout. We tend to throw this term around quite a bit and I have discovered it can be more severe than our common use for the word when we just use it to describe how we are feeling on a bad day.

The definition of burnout is long term exhaustion and diminished interest. It can have an adverse affect on all aspects of our lives and relationships, not only our work life. Symptoms of burnout can be,
feeling physically drained,
emotional exhaustion,
lowered immunity,
pesermistic outlook and
increased time off work.
If this sounds like you then there are few things you can do.
The first thing is to
recognise your situation, which can be hard to do when you are bogged down in it.
Try to take some time out, away from the situation.
Slow down and take a break, cut back on your commitments and activities.
Give yourself time to rest, reflect and heal.
Get support from your family and friends,
share your feelings and relieve some of your burden.
Re evaluate your goals and priorities, think about your hopes and dreams.
What is important to you?
This could be a time to rediscover what really makes you happy and to set course accordingly. Find the chicken soup for your soul.
I have returned to work with a much improved attitude, a better ability to handle the frustrations that I cannot change and a renewed motivation to have a positive impact on the culture in our department. My advice to anyone feeling a bit negative or unmotivated, do yourselves and your colleagues a favour and book yourself in for some leave. I took three weeks leave and planned it so I would have a week to “myself” (and I use that term loosely, there ‘ain’t no such thing), before the kids were on holidays, I went out for coffee with a different friend every morning that first week. The kids and I then spent a week at the beach and then we had a week at home. In that week we renovated a child’s room and I got to do some spring cleaning. Call me weird but I love the feeling when that’s done. It satisfy’s those borderline OCD tendencies that decreasingly get accommodated due to being too busy.
Looking back over these lists I would have to say that writing my blog provided me with the recognition of the burnout.  It has also allowed for some reflection and some of my own self styled therapy, it is very cathartic to get it all out by writing it down. I have written more blogs than I have posted, some will never be posted but they have allowed me to vent. I have taken some time out with my friends and family. The chicken soup for my soul would definitely have to be spending time at the beach with my kids and they are ultimately the priority in my life. So focusing on the positives, nowhere’s perfect but I work in the hospital and the department that I want to be in. I work with some fantastic staff and I really appreciate all the resources and processes of our department when I spend time working in other places.
So, glad I’m feeling like me again, and I’m sure everyone else is too!
If your due for some time off, my advice, book it in, by the time you take it you might just need it.
Do you have a similar story, what did you do? I would love to hear it.
Stay safe, be happy.
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Pre holiday burnout.

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I really need a holiday!
I have just finished night shift, it is eight a.m and I am now on holidays. For about four weeks leading up to these holidays I have struggled coming to work everyday. I have been having serious thoughts about changing what I do. After twenty-two years of nursing, and possibly another twenty-two ahead of me. Do I really want to ever say I spent forty-four years nursing? I’m also a bit worried about what a cranky old cow I’ll be by then given the apparent “years worked in ED v’s cranky old cow ratio”. There are so many issues in nursing, in my own workplace and in my life, that I am frustrated with.  So I have been mulling over the question what do I want to do? Do I want to be a nurse somewhere else in the hospital? Do I want to be a nurse in a different setting like a clinic? Do I even want to be a nurse at all? I have looked into a couple of things, but it’s hard to search for a job when you don’t know what you want to do.
My current work issues at the moment are wide ranging, the following are just a few:-
New junior doctors with “know it all attitudes”.
Extreme paperwork overload for every patient.
Poor nursing skillmix (not enough senior nurses).
Things that change overnight, department wide with no notification.
Gossip.
Mess.
Petty people.
Shift work.
People who think they are s#%t hot but their not.
Poor nursing care (relates to previous point).
My frustration that the Emergency department serves as the “too hard basket” for others.
No beds.
Payroll problems.
Vicarious trauma.
Illicit drug takers.
Drug seekers.
Drunk drivers.
People who take no responsibility for their own health care.
People who expect taxi vouchers but have 2 packs of cigarettes in their hand.
People who request Christmas and new year off even though everyone knows you can’t have both.
The things that currently keep me where I am.
All the fantastic doctors and nurses that I work with every day.
Working in the best Emergency Department in this state (I can’t compare to other states).
Working in the only hospital I really want to work in.
Ocassionally making a difference in peoples lives.
The effort required to be bothered applying for a new job.
The “same s#€t, different bucket” thought.
Not knowing what else I want to do.
Not wanting to go to uni again. Yet.
So right now I need to go to bed, have a sleep, have my holiday and write another blog in four weeks time and see if I’ve been cured by holidays or wheather I need to update my resume.
Have you ever felt like this about your job? Help! What did you do?
I would love to hear from you.
Stay safe, be happy.

Teenagers,Technology and Trust.

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Teenagers,Technology and Trust.

I recently had a friend of mine ask my advice about what we do regarding our daughters laptop use. Her daughter will be getting one next school year.
All of the advice given to parents says, keep computers out of kids bedrooms. Then they get to grade nine, aged fourteen and the school laptop program kicks in. Provided by the school, paid for by parents, each child is given their own laptop. This is to be used in class, used for assignments and used for homework. It has Internet access and school based programs and filters. You really can’t say no thank you, we won’t have one. The school then has several guest speakers visit and talk to the kids and the parents about Internet safety. Most of which is quite frightening.
Our daughter up to this point had been doing homework at her desk in her bedroom. Driven there mostly due to two little brothers and the household’s evening noise and chaos at the dining table and lounge room. So her bedroom is where the laptop was being used. One of her first assignments after being given the laptop was done as a pair and this required our daughter to be talking to her friend over the internet whilst doing the assignment together. Back in my day we would have needed to be driven to our friends place to do the assignment together. It would have been a combination of chatter and work. Which was exactly what was going on online during this assignment too.
My husband and I discussed this computer being in our daughters room, neither of us was very happy about the position we were in. To follow the advice of the experts we needed to remove her and the laptop from her room to the dining room table, have no television, and keep two boys settled and quiet until 8:30pm every night. She would also spend many nights studying and working on assignments until very late and that would mean one of us should stay up and supervise what she was doing. Technically we should have been able to see her screen and be able to see her working. Imagine  for a moment changing your evenings in your household to this extent. Possible but not desirable.
Our daughter has always had our trust, she is mature, smart, sensible and reliable, she understands that she has our trust and she realizes that if anything happens to change that then the activities she does and the freedom she enjoys will stop. She also gets good grades at school and in the end what we decided to do in our household is to allow our daughter to have the laptop in her room. We reiterated all the safety information we could and let her know that if her grades dropped or anything happened that was inappropriate then she would be removed to the kitchen table.
Two years later she has continued to get mostly A’s and she continues to have our trust too. With so many things in our children’s lives once they are out of our sight and supervision we leave them open to all the same risks we worry about online so I believe that it is important to teach your children appropriate strategies and actions, keep an open line of commutation and talk regularly with your children about what is happening in their lives and what’s happening with their friendships. I have also been the instigator of dinners and contact lists with her friends mum’s, we are becoming good friends and we are able to share information with each other and we have all seen first hand what a great group of girls they are. We are all very lucky.
I trust my daughter to go to the movies and spend time with her friends, knowing that her behaviour will be appropriate and responsible. I know she is not going to engage in behaviour that she knows I won’t approve of because she also knows that those things are either stupid, risky or unsafe. When out with her friends, just like when using her laptop in her room, she has the potential to be approached by a stranger, or someone who is not who they say they are. What I have to do is trust her to respond appropriately in either case. As hard as it is to let them go we cannot keep then locked in the house all their lives. And I know that this will probably be a controversial opinion but we allow our daughter to use her lap top in her room because we trust her to respond appropriately and know that she will speak to us if she ever has a problem online.
What strategies do you use in your household to monitor your children’s use of technology?
I would love to hear what you do!
Stay safe, be happy,

Technology in the Bedroom???

Fathers Day.

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I wore this about my dad on Father’s Day 2012.
Times change and so has the role of the father in our society.
Dad was a farmer, a tough country bloke.   After being born on a dairy farm and living for five years on a sheep station, my two brothers and I grew up on a five thousand acre property in central Queensland, farming sunflower, safflower, sorghum and wheat.  Our childhood was a summer haze.  I don’t remember Dad showing much emotion when we were kids, and looking back his main role was that of a provider.   Mum seemed to do all of the rest.   Dad did spend all of his time working.   As a farmer that seemed to be twenty-four hours a day seven day’s a week, if it was dry he was in a paddock, if it was raining he was in the shed.  If there was a bush fire he was fighting it, a flood he was helping neighbours.   We certainly never felt like he wasn’t there for us.   We saw him every night at dinner when he would come in eat and watch the weather report on our tiny black and white TV that only got the ABC.   Dad was also the final word on discipline.   We could nag mum all day but as soon as dad said no we knew it was over.   We always had great family holidays, camping, fishing, hiking and four-wheel driving.   We often went to the “big smoke” too, and visited nearly all of the islands in the Whitsunday’s.   I remember once begging mum and dad for us not to go away so we could do things with our friends on the school holidays instead.
We didn’t have a lot of money but we never felt we needed any more than what we were provided with.   When I was twelve dad built a house in the local town, population nine hundred.   This was so we could have better educational choices.   We spent our first years of education in a one teacher school that went from grade one to seven and had about twenty-four kids on a good year.   Dad then continued to spend most of his time on the farm and only came to town when he had a machinery breakdown or it was raining.  It was at that age that my younger brothers and I started swimming club in summer and little athletics in winter.  Very different to the busy schedules of the kids today and the time that parents spend driving them to it all.   As kids we usually rode our bikes to all the sport we did, to school and to our friends houses.   We did rely on mum, and sometimes dad to take us all over the country side on weekends in summer to go to swimming carnivals.
Dad eventually sold his farm and bought a motel.   Our lives changed completely, mostly for the better, a bigger town of ten thousand, bigger schools again and every sport that you could dream of at our finger tips.   The motel business was twenty-four hours a day seven day’s a week, which mum and dad were used too but we were all much closer, living in the little house that contained the motel reception, and we got to spend so much more time with dad.    It was an interesting childhood living in a motel, we thought it was pretty cool.   I left home at seventeen to start my hospital nursing training.   Mum and dad had a couple more moves and when the first batch of grand kids were little they ended up in the same capital city I lived in.   All of our family are now here, with seven grand children.  I’m sure thirty, forty or even fifty years ago dad never would have imagined he would live in the big smoke.  Surprisingly he has adapted well.  I remember coming from the country for expo ’88.  Dad drove to Toowoomba, the roads were too busy to drive any further, caught the bus to Ipswich and then the train into Expo.  A few years later driving us to a specialist doctor’s appointment in the city he managed to drive all the way to about Oxley where he pulled over, swinging the car into a motel saying that was it he wasn’t driving any further.  Now he cruises around the city in his Lexus like he was born to it.
Dad and I are closer than ever in our adult relationship.  I remember him dropping me off at the hospital nurses quarters on my first day and having to “go and park the car”, but we all knew it was because he was in tears.  We have never had an argument that I can remember, he is a great support to me and I know he is very proud of me.  We live close by and he enjoys teasing and harassing the grand kids, AKA, “the turkeys”.   Mum and dad in their early sixties are really in the prime of their lives, financially sound, traveling overseas, mum work’s if she wants to, they can spend time with the grand kids and then give them back, they are completely free to do as they choose.  Dad should probably never retire, he will need to keep busy, he doesn’t know how to do nothing, sure he could take it easy but he would go stir crazy with nothing to do.  I am very lucky to still have him in my life, and I hope to have him around for a long time to come.
With this in mind, I have recently banned him from getting on the roof.  No more Christmas lights to go on the roof.  What is it with men and getting on the roof?  I told him all the things that could happen to him and what we would do to him in the emergency department if he fell off the roof.  Including the finger up the bot!  His response to that was he would just wait until “the old girl” goes out so if he did fall he might be dead before she got home!!!! Typical Aussie country bloke.
Love ya dad!
Stay safe, be happy,

My Family, 1977

Welcome to “Accidentally Bernie”!

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I have come to a point in my life where I have started attending my friends fortieth Birthday Parties. Long gone are the twenty first’s, the engagement parties, weddings and christenings. Gone are the thirtieth’s and here I am about to enter my forties. I have always thought, and said that for me “life begins at forty”. I’m not waiting to get to forty to start living, but I feel that my forties will be a time for “me”.
Life carries us along, I often have moments where I realize that I am the “adult” that as a teenager I couldn’t wait to be. From school I decided to become a nurse and worked to achieve that goal,  which took me along a path that looking back, is the same as it looked from the other end as a seventeen year old looking forward, just with the details more defined. So I guess that means that up to now life has turned out pretty much how I had planned. I consider myself very lucky to be able to say this, when my work involves unexpected death and trauma often with young people, it makes me very aware of how precious and unpredictable life is.
I met my husband along the way, married and had our three children. This was during a time when twenty three was considered young to be having children and many other mothers were closer to forty. But I always knew, during the busy baby, trying toddler and early child hood years that when I turned forty my daughter would have just turned sixteen and my boys will be twelve and eleven. And compared to that tied down, isolated, overwhelmed, sleep-deprived and chaotic phase of caring for three small children, forty was the light at the end of my tunnel!
I don’t feel a sense of gloom about turning forty. I have no regrets about my life so far and my mid life pondering’s have not driven me to the extremes of buying a sports car, moving overseas or joining a new religion. No, my mid life “crisis” has led me to the decision to write this blog. This is about extreme as I get! Twenty years ago it would have just been a journal. But in this new age of apps and the Internet, here we are.This blog is for me and about me. Not primarily to entertain, but hopefully that will be the end result for my readers. Along the way there will be some parenting tips and advice, feel free to learn from my mistakes, a funny story or two and some good old fashioned common sense to be taken from the ramblings of someone who can, at the very least, say she has some life experience! I am doing this with the expectation that for me it will be like therapy. Putting all the thoughts that go around and around in my head down on “paper”.So With twenty-two years of nursing experience, eighteen years of relationship experience, (with one husband) and sixteen years of parenting experience I hope to share with you, who I am, what I do, where I come from and where I am headed. Because for the first time in my life the path ahead is not so clear. I hope you will join me for the journey.Make sure you click on the link to follow my blogs.

You will never see your name but you may read about you’re behaviour!

I would love you to leave a comment below, especially for my first blog!

Stay safe, be happy!

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My friend’s fortieth birthday.