I’m a “Big Girl” Now!

Today was a pretty exciting day for me at work, as I pretty much ran my own, complicated three patient assignment with little help from my preceptor. It was nice to feel like a real nurse (finally) after four years of nursing school.

Since I’m on orientation, I can’t pick up overtime hours (anything above 40 hours/week legally); I am scheduled 36-40 hours per week, depending on if I have an orientation class (to go over intensive care unit equipment and diseases we see) or not. However, my boss mentioned today that — because my unit is so short staffed and I am doing well — they may pull me off orientation early and give me more stable assignments on my own! This will be a really big step, for a number of reasons:

First, I will truly be on my own on an assignment, making every single decision and not having a specific person there to back me up if I need anything.

Second, I will get a small pay raise and (hopefully) the ability to purchase health insurance! Right now I am on my parent’s insurance, but to be honest, it kind of sucks. Nothing is covered and everything is expensive…oh, and my primary doctor isn’t in the health system that my insurance covers. Womp.

I plan on continuing my side hustles (selling textbooks, selling excess items I find around my house, and freelancing online), but the bulk of my income will come from my nursing job. As I want to pay my debt down fast, I definitely will benefit from the pay increase and overtime that I can accrue soon. Our unit’s census is so high, and because we are an intensive care unit (ICU) we have small nurse-to-patient ratios…meaning more nurses are needed…meaning extra shifts and extra cash. Every cent of extra cash I make from overtime will be thrown at my debt as fast as I can hit “transfer.”

I’m also hoping to get a TA position while I am in graduate school, but a lot of students hold these positions year to year, so they are few and far between. Some TAs grade papers, while others teach the nursing skills lab. It an easy way to make extra cash, too, but not nearly as much as overtime. (However, some colleges let TAs have reduced tuition based on the number of hours they are willing to work and the department…it never hurts to ask!)

While I try to figure out just how much extra work I can take on without dying of exhaustion, I hope you all are having a relaxing August!

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