I'm quite excited but ever so slightly petrified about this one, because it will be the first time in 25 years - yes, you read that correctly - that I will not be working in a hospital. My new role will see me working for an educational institution, a shiny office setting where people wear normal clothes and don't have to let someone know when they're going to the toilet. A place where lunch breaks can last for more than 29 minutes. A strange, new world.
I love hospitals. I feel at home in them. I understand the language. I know how things work. I know what hides behind doors, what things are kept under lock and key. I can work the equipment, silence those annoying alarms, make the backrest on the bed come out. I can make a bed in mere minutes. I can cast my eye over a clinical situation, assess it, prioritise the necessary actions, delegate, supervise and evaluate. I can do stuff, me. But I do that stuff in a hospital, my natural environment. It's been my only constant since I was nineteen years of age and now I'm leaving home.
And my patients. How can I leave them? It's been my privilege to care for people for so many years. I've been there for people when they're lonely, in pain, frightened, critically ill. I've delivered babies who came before their time. I've held the hand of the dying and sat with them as they took their last breath. I've wiped bums, washed faces, backs, feet, changed nighties and pyjamas, given injections, pushed wheelchairs, sat and listened, made thousands and thousands of cups of tea, looked after scared student nurses, looked after scared staff nurses, scared doctors, gone toe to toe with aggressive relatives, cried, laughed, laughed, cried and then laughed some more.
It's been hard and there were times when it nearly broke me. The pay isn't the best. The perks are practically non existent. But it's been my life for almost 25 years. Leaving it is going to break my heart.
Still, people have said some very nice things to me since I resigned. My current students are sad to see me go. My new graduate nurse is mildly horrified that I'm leaving. I'm mildy horrified for her.
So, that's it. Now it'll be normal clothes and a classroom, telling people what's out there. I'm not sure if I'll last but there's only one way to find out.