Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Professional Problems

I'm not sure how many of you know this, but I am an Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Sounds fancy doesnt it? It just means that I can work with adults in an acute care setting. I graduated from grad school six months before we moved to Germany. I passed my boards just three months before we arrived here. I never had the opportunity to practice while we were in the States. Now it looks like I might never have the opportunity to practice at all....

After high school, I went to college with the intent of becoming an occupational therapist. I had done some summer internships at our local hospital and really loved working in OT. I chose the school with the best OT program in our state and off I went.

Once I arrived though, I began doing research on other majors, other careers. I dont remember why, but ultimately, I changed my major to nursing with the purpose of becoming a nurse anesthetist. I wanted to make a lot of money, but not have to work too hard to do it. (Admirable, I know.) I guess OTs just didnt make enough money, plus I wanted to go out of state for grad school and the locations of CRNA schools was highly appealing to me. I loved working in the operating room, so I thought becoming a CRNA would be a good fit for me.

So I switched to nursing and loved/hated every minute of it. I found nursing school to be easy in that the skills came pretty easily to me. I felt like I was born to be in the medical profession. I truly love helping people, having all the right answers and seeing my advice and skills make a difference in someone's life.

Somewhere along the way though, I realized that nurse anesthesia wasnt for me. I wasnt that person. Money wasnt going to make me happy if I was bored with the job. I was already too far into my major to change it again, so I decided to push on and become a nurse practitioner. Nurses have a remarkably high level of job opportunities and can do anything from work in a hospital, clinic or school to teach, manage or direct. I knew if I became an NP, I would have lots of opportunities for a career, and, big money or not, I would be happy. My end desire was to teach grad school.

I put in my time after college at a large local hospital's surgical intensive care unit, a job I loved to hate. I can say now that it was a great experience, but one I am very happy to have over with. I applied to grad school, in state, and got in two years after graduating college. It took three long, stressful, expensive years to get my graduate degree, but I did it. I graduated with my Master's in Nursing and couldnt have been more proud.

During my clinical rotations, I rounded with an endocrinologist who specialized in diabetes. Before meeting him, diabetes was one of my least favorite subjects. I was scared of all the treatment options and the seriousness of the disease. This doctor completely changed my way of thinking. He treated his patients in such a novel way that made total sense to me. He had high success rates and an easy demeanor. He inspired me to want to be like him, a diabetes specialist. He even offered me a job if we were to stay in the area after my graduation. I was elated, so happy to have been offered my dream nursing job.  .... And then we found out we were moving to Germany.

Again, I was elated for the opportunity to live and travel overseas and I havent regretted our decision once. But I am at a professional crossroads now. There are remarkably few opportunities for civilian nurse practitioners to work over here. I tried for months to find a job before getting pregnant. Now that we have a little one and no childcare, my options are even fewer.

In December I received a letter from the national certification board stating that my certification, along with several others, was being eliminated. If I didnt meet the requirements for recertification within five years of taking my boards, I would lose my certification and be unable to practice as a nurse practitioner, ever. I couldnt believe this! I havent even had the chance to work as a nurse practitioner yet, the career I worked so long and hard to get. And now it might slip through my fingers. Years of school, money, stress and time wasted. Before March 2015, I must get 3,000 working hours and around 75 educational hours. I can get the educational hours relatively easily, but the working hours? Not so much. Im not sure what's going to happen at this point.

I never intended to be a stay at home mom. Ive worked and/or been in school since I was fifteen. Ive been a little lost with all of my free time since moving here. Hobbies and social gatherings only take up so much time. And really, how many times can you clean your house? Since having a child, my "free" time has been drastically reduced, but I still feel like I am floundering. I feel so blessed to be able to stay home with our child, to watch her grow, teach her about the world around her and see her flourish. But I never intended to be a stay at home mom. I feel like something is missing. I actually want to work. My mom worked while I was growing up and is still working to this day. I admire her so much for making it all work, for being an awesome mother, plus juggling a full-time, demanding job. I feel like I have so much to contribute to society. I want to be out there helping people. Being a mother is the most rewarding and important job I will ever have. I just want to do that and more.

*Hold your hateful comments. Please remember that these are just my opinions of myself and not in any way a reflection of how I feel about other people. I think being a SHM is an awesome and incredibly difficult job. So difficult, that it's just not for me. I greatly admire all moms, whether they work in the home or out.


Allison C said...

Is it possible to contact them and get some sort of an extension for being overseas? No idea if they can make an exception, but it would be worth checking out.

Jessica Lynn said...

Oh wow! Is there any sort of military clause or an appeal you can write? Because it's not that you're not trying to get the hours in—it's that you literally can't. It sounds like they would have to take you on as a special case with extreme circumstances.

I'm really sorry you're in this bind and I truly hope you can find someway to make it work. Let us know what happens!

Just_Megs said...

That. Must. Suck.

For ever? Can they do that?

Casey said...

That completely blows. I'd be floored. And not in the good way. You would think they'd make an exception because of your unique situation...I'd look into that for sure! I would hate to spend that much money and put in all that time/effort/sleepless nights/cram-sessions/clinical hours just to get your cert ripped out from underneath you. So not fair!

That's part of the reason I opted out of getting my RD after finishing my undergrad in Nutrition & Wellness. I knew with all the moving around and military uncertainty that I'd probably get the job and credentials "run-around" hopping from state to state...or from country to country for that matter! There are NO nutritionist positions here in Wiesbaden...unless I want to go back to working for WIC and that is just NOT HAPPENING! 2 years was enough for me! So, my career is pretty much stifled here too. I feel your pain. I have the itch to work, but with no options, I'm stuck volunteering and over cleaning my immaculate apartment! HA! This is exactly why I wish WE lived in the same city! I would love to waste time hanging out with ya! We could talk blood panels, diabetes, and care plans allllllll day and pretend like we were working and important! :) Kidding. I would totally just squeeze on that precious baby of yours all day. Just sayin'. :)

Either way, I hope someone up in the land of big shots has a heart and lets you keep your cert! Keep us updated and I'll be sending lots of good vibes and prayers your way!

Samantha said...

I'm completely with you. I do not see myself as a stay at home mother. I think that if that's how things wind up I'll try to find a peace with that and also be grateful for the time with the babes (as you are). I think people who judge those like you and I for wanting something different than they want are ridiculous! We're all entitled to want and do different things. I don't judge them for wanting to stay at home. I think there are wonderful aspects of staying at home. People are just different!
But for you I think that's so disappointing since you spent so much time and energy finding something that you were passionate about to pursue as a career. I think it's a shame you haven't been able to find anything over seas!! it's so tough to find something that as a military spouse is as mobile as our lifestyle. Even if we do choose something that in theory will be everywhere the Army sends us it's tough to get one of those positions! I sympathize for you!!

NHGirl said...

There MUST be someone you can talk to about this. I know that NCSN will grant extensions, and even has a military AD clause (not spousal, but I'm guessing that means they understand the military lifestyle and it's impact on one's career). This can't be it! Surely someone will understand your situation and figure out a way to work with you.

I don't know if this helps, but my mom used to tell me, "People can take a lot of things from you, but no one can ever take away your education." It's true- at the end of the day, you still have your degree, and that counts!

hmb said...

I would probably be in the fetal position over this!! I hate this for you...hoping it all works out!!

PS--no judgment for wanting to work here! I love my EJ, but I still want to pay off my student loans in quicker than 15 years!! :)

Jenn said...

Following you back! I cannot believe this situation! How FRUSTRATING. Especially after you've put in the time and money at school! I really hope a window opens here and you find a way around this.
You'd think that somewhere there would be a military clause.... I'm praying for you!

As a side note, wine? Coffee? This is my kinda blog. :) Thanks for finding me!

Kate said...

Ugh! I know your pain! I love that my own mom was a SAHM, but it's just not for me. I love hanging with my little guy al day and seeing all his frists, but I just can't fathom that this is "it" for me. And we're only here for 18 months, so there wasn't much point to me trying to find something here.... So we'll see what happens in a year when we move. Hope you're able to work everything out!

Chantal said...

I hope you figure something out!!

Don't worry about wanting to work over staying home. Some people just need to work! My mom was one of them, she couldn't stay home with us, it would drive her crazy. While I'm staying home, I'm also working on my writing, so I sorta have a job.

Dani said...

Oh my goodness! I hope they can work something out so you don't lose all your hard work!

I'm terrified of the same thing happening to me if my boyfriend gets stationed overseas. I'm working on my doctorate in Audiology, and I'm already dreading my license problems.

ALW said...

How stressful! I'm so sorry this is happening. Hopefully they have some sort of military clause, or will be able willing to work with your unique situation. I don't blame you on wanting to work! If we decide to have kids I definitely plan on working at least half time. You're in my thoughts! Keep us posted!

Natalia said...

Sorry to hear this and hope it can be worked out somehow.

I'm also struggling with not working right now. I've been working since I was 14 and have been so focused on my career in museums and archaeology that transitioning to "mom" will take some getting used to. I love my field but I'm also excited about having kids! Now that I've moved and getting settled in I'll start looking into part-time or volunteer opportunities. And little part of me is also jealous that Mr. F is deployed and that I'm unable to join the deployment to Africa with my unit this summer...

Jen said...

Oh, girl I get it. So much. I only have a BSN but it was my second career and I worked hard (and took out lots of loans) to get it.

I am so worried I won't be able to work while I am here, and thus be totally unable to be hired when we return to the states.

I enjoy being home for now, but it's so Lonely when you don't have friends and family nearby. I have met a few moms but not many.

Hugs to you, I totally get it.

Mrs. Mootz said...

A few things...

1. It's been quite awhile since I've been in blog world and CONGRATS on the kid!! I definitely missed the beginning of that adventure while on my blog leave. How exciting!

2. That totally sucks!! I agree with the other comments. Surely, you can call them and see if some sort of extension can be worked out. There's got to be exceptions to the rule. I hope so anyway!

3. I just stayed home with my kid for 4 days because he was sick. Normally, I work a full-time job, but I've always kind of wondered what it would be like to be a SAHM. And after four days, hells no! That's hard work. I much prefer being a working mom. I realized, being a SAHM is just too much work for me and I can't do it. I need my working days away from home and kid. However, in all fairness, I don't think a SAHM could do the working mom thing. It's hard too, trying to balance all that. Neither is better, just different. And each mom has to find her balance whichever route she takes.

Anonymous said...! I would call someone to see if there is a clause like everyone said. Even with one kid I still wanted to contribute to our income and to the world and now that I have two I still do, it's is a yearning you will always's your personality. I was able to open up my own side business for Graphic Arts but not everyone can do keep your faith in finding something...sometimes timing is everything! Good Luck!

It's a Dog Tag Wife Life said...

Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear this! But I completely understand the wanting to work. I have friends who said all they've ever wanted is to be a stay at home mom. I didn't even want kids until I met the hunny. Even if I work part time, I feel as thought I want to use that Master's degree that I worked so hard towards.

And the other suggestions are great. We're here for you!

Maranda said...

Oh no!!! That sucks!!!

As far as the Stay at Home Mom gig...I never intended this life for myself either. I actually fought it for several years. It wasn't until Little Butt was about 2 1/2 that it finally clicked for me.

We were at dinner with my father and Little Butt was being super annoying. I turned to him with this frustrated look and asked him why she couldn't leave me alone. Why is she always so needy. Why is it always me.

He looked at me with this matter of fact look in his eyes and said "you are her one constant. Who else would she turn to?"

Until that moment I had been applying to every job I possibly could. I was trying to get away from this life that I never intended. But in that moment I realized. Her life is so unstructured. Her daddy is in and out of her life constantly. Do I want to do that to her as well? I am her rock. I am what gives her structure and foundation. It is because I am sacrificing my need to "be" that she has the opportunity to feel secure and to know that someone is there for her always.

So I found ways around my need for work. I've joined groups, I've started book clubs, I have 2 home based businesses. But everything I do now, I do because I know it is in my kids best interest.

I don't know if this helps you any, but maybe it offers a bit of a different perspective.

Most children growing up in a dual income home have the stability of knowing that their parents are both coming home every night. Our children don't have that luxury.

No matter what, I wish you luck and success! I truly hope your education and the money and time you spent on it will not be wasted. Definitely keep us posted and know that we will support you in your decisions!