Return to emergency nursing?

The short answer is thanks but no thanks.

Yesterday I received an email from my old emergency department (where I worked for a little over 35 years before retiring) offering full and part-time positions.

I think they must be super short-staffed* and struggling to cope with the winter workloads right now and looking to re-recruit staff that have left the workforce.

My heart goes out to all my ED amigos.
This year must surely be one of the worst, with a perfect storm of COVID-related staff absenteeism, a nasty winter flu season, and the accumulated mental and physical traumas from the past few years that have had zero time and zero space to heal.

In short, my reply to the email was thanks but no thanks.
Working as a nurse in the ED was an utter privilege. I do miss it.
I worked alongside a team of exceptional human beings, doing meaningful and important work every shift… and looking back I consider myself blessed to have had a career that made real, tangible, positive differences to people’s lives (and their deaths).
Not a lot of people can say that.

But the health organisation has a shadow side and alas our Emergency departments sit deep in the penumbra of that shadow.

Short-staffed, over-crowded, under-resourced and completely misunderstood, Emergency Departments continue to be used as the public-facing, “everything is fine” escape valve to maintain some semblance of homeostasis as the health-ship slowly sinks**.

The function of the Emergency Department has become twofold: to save lives and to hide truths.

The resulting toll on the individuals working there is high. Mentally, physically, emotionally, and morally. Many good people are struggling, plenty have left, and some have been ruined.

Despite my thoroughgoing passion for emergency nursing, and despite the obvious critical situation it is trying to operate in right now…..I simply cannot go back.

Proud to have been an ED nurse.

*I mean, if they are asking me back after all this time, things must be dire right?
**Don’t even get me started on the aged care sector. Or mental health. Or remote area nursing.

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2 responses to “Return to emergency nursing?”

  1. I too left nursing after 37yrs, for similar reasons, I left pre covid.. 2019. I now work in retail.. in a running shoe store.. love it, the best decision I ever made.. no lives get lost in the choosing of a shoe 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Moved from an ED to residential aged care, to community care…
    So different, but so same!

    Enjoy your retirement 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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