Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Learning Curve

At work, the big bugaboo right  now is a looming "Upgrade," an event of such awesome significance, I have begun to think of it as one of those life-dividing moments.  Like in the future I will say, "Oh, well that was before the 2010 Upgrade," in the same way you might say, "That was before my disfiguring accident," or "That was after we moved to Shitspray, Arkansas." 

The day that the Upgrade actually happens, we will work all day Friday (not this Friday, a future Friday), then return to work at 02:00 Saturday morning and stay until the upgrade is complete, which is supposedly going to be at 04:00, although I suspect it will actually be much later than that.  I am hopeful that when it's all over, someone will suggest we adjourn to the Blue Moon Diner for breakfast and to get absolutely arse-faced on Bloody Marys.

It's still a bit of a shock to realize that I'm not a nurse anymore, but an analyst.  The demands of this job are almost purely cerebral, which suits me. I felt like nursing was making me stupid, because I was so caught up with trying to get my tasks finished, I didn't have time to think.  This was dangerous, because to be a good nurse you must be able to think, and I found myself so constantly interrupted and pulled in so many directions at once, I couldn't keep a thought in my head.  Other nurses manage to think and work at the same time, but my intellectual abilities were also hampered by extreme fear.  I was in full-on fight-or-flight mode for twelve hours a day.

Now I do nothing but think all day.  I've gotten acquainted with logic as a concept, and learned a new technical language. When I first started, our weekly staff meetings seemed to be conducted in a foreign tongue which I just had to learn by immersion.  One day someone said to me, "....or you could just edit the raw XML," and I said seriously, "Yes, I could do that," giving the impression (I hoped) that I knew how to edit raw XML, or that I even knew what raw XML was, which of course I didn't.  I'm still casting about for a long-term career plan--becoming a nurse informaticist is a possibility--but I am finished with patient care forever.


  1. I hope the Upgrade of 2012 goes smooth as silk.

  2. Full on fight or flight sounds very much like teaching some days as does the inability to form a cohesive though amid the constant movement and reaction.
    I'm glad you are on your way to something better, but I hope they rethink that 2:00am launch. That's just mean.

  3. Full on fight or flight mode for 12 hours a day does not sound sustainable. I daresay it is definitely not sustainable. Which is why, I suppose, you have left nursing. Which is why I could never be a nurse. (One of many, many reasons.)

    Nurse informaticist sounds intriguing, but I have no idea what it is. What is it?

  4. MH, it's a little hard to explain because I don't fully understand the role myself. Electronic medical record has been mandated for all health care institutions, with a deadline of 2014. When setting up and maintaining these systems, many decisions need to be made about how documentation is done in a way that preserves patient safety, complies with regulations, and is user-friendly for health care professionals. Nurse informaticists help make these decisions and also support nurses in their use of electronic medical record. For some people, the transition away from paper is traumatic.

  5. Welcome to the wonderful world of computers.
    Soon you'll be able to call yourself a geek, and if you work hard, there's always a chance of making Übergeek.

    Is the system active yet?
    Is that why you have to work at 2:00 am?
    Because of not, it seems quite pointless.

  6. TSB, yes, our system is active. That's why we have to do the upgrade in the middle of the night. It will have to be down for at least two hours, so 2-4am will cause the least amount of disruption. The hospital is still functioning, but at least the clinics are closed.

  7. What a looming task!

    My daughter is going to get a Public Health degree and then see if she still wants to go into nursing. All my friends say that you need to have a plan for when the actual nursing begins to wear you out.

    Also? I LOVED your comment on Mrs. G's post about the FB rant. We think very much alike.