If you peruse the job boards, there are a lot of openings for nurse managers and directors of nursing in surgery. After spending the last 10 months in my current position, I can understand why: this job is HARD. I'm not saying that it's a piece of cake being a staff nurse. The challenges are a bit different.
It wasn't too long ago that I was a staff nurse. I remember what it's like to run around trying to making sure you have the right equipment and instrumentation for a case, while the surgeon and anesthesiologist are breathing down your neck to get the patient in the room.
As an assistant clinical nurse manager, I make rounds and help the folks in my services get their day started. Throughout the day, I jump in when needed - running downstairs to the Sterile Processing Department to get instruments, troubleshooting machines when the circulating nurse can't figure it out, calming an angry surgeon, etc. In other words, I am trying to be the frontline leader that I wished I had in my past job.
Not only am I clinical, but I need to function at administrative level. There are meetings and conferences to attend, projects to coordinate, evaluations to write, coaching/discipline to give, and plenty of spreadsheets and reports to compile. This is definitely NOT an eight hour, Monday thru Friday job. If I'm not careful, I could work 12 hours every day during the week. Although I don't have to take call, I am still on 24-hour resource call unless I'm on vacation.
At the end of most days, I am physically and mentally exhausted. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth it. But then I think about the progress that we have made thus far that has made a different in patient care, physician satisfaction, and employee satisfaction.
I suppose the most important thing is that I feel that I am making a difference. Once that fades, if it ever does, then it will be time for me to think of something else to do. Luckily, there is no shortage of opportunities in healthcare!