All I'm doing--honest!--is switching departments inside Sunnydale General, so I'll be an ICU nurse rather than an acute care neuro nurse. My job will still be about 70% neuro, so you'll still get stories about people with big holes in their heads. You'll get those stories as the people are a little closer to the OR, but you'll get 'em.
So why the hell did I decide to switch gears seven years in?
Easy answer, and the one I gave the interviewers at Sunnydale: I got bored. There's a lot of truth to that, actually; after seven years in one place, doing pretty much the same thing every day, I started to want something a little more complex and a little deeper. With ICU nursing, you learn a whole lot about five or six systems per patient. With acute care, your concerns are primarily with one system, and your knowledge of each patient is broader and shallower.
I was getting itchy, and getting bitchy as a result.
One of the ICU nurses told me that she wished she'd made the switch from acute to critical care years before she did, that this was the most interesting, fulfilling job she'd ever done. I hope that's what it turns out to be like for me.
The other reason I'm switching is the management of the acute care floors. I've gotten tired of being everybody's spokesperson when they're unhappy, simply by virtue of my big mouth and relative skill with the language. The emphasis on "customer service" rather than "nursing care" was getting to me, as were some of the specific actions of the management on the acute care units. I decided it was better to leave than to have a heart attack...and no, I didn't tell the interviewers that.
I am going to miss the education aspect of the job. That's my big strength: translating medicalese into English in a non-threatening, understandable way. You don't get to do a whole lot of that with the patient when the patient is intubated, but I look forward to working with patients' families.
You'll still get your crazy patient stories. You'll get other stories, too: about what it's like to be a New Nurse with seven years of experience, about the differences in relationships with doctors between ICU and acute care, about my ginormous fuckups early on and later in. I'm not going anywhere.
It's going to be a slow summer, but one hell of a ride come October. Who's up for it with me?