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ABOUT

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The Sister
will see you now
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I've been to destination burn out. The destination of a decade's long journey in the intensive care unit, where the patients hang on by a thread and nurses are met with the full gamut of human emotions. And not just from the patients and NOK, but staff and visitors. As the father Sanguinista always said, nursing is one helluva finishing school.

 

Yep, the emotion extremes are part of the job, but add in the fact nurses are humans and not punching bags or robots. Add in the pace, the most devastating medical cases, the run of the mill cases and the most idiotic. The required level of knowledge and skills, the technology, workplace politics. Add in the 50% night shift, long hours, not regularly having designated weekends off like normal 9-5’ers and regularly missing out on social events, but working any day of the week all year around, fatigue, abnormal circadian rhythms and all the bad health stuff from shift work. And it all takes its toll.

 

We adjust to it all and then we unadjusted, or we drop hours or change roles. The most empathetic amongst us are the ones who burn out the fastest. And are the ones who need more fuel to be reignited.

 

And while I suspect burn out is a one way journey, by the grace of black humour, the natural world, getting in back in touch with the world outside the hospital, and the suspension of disbelief in horror and fantasy genres, I'm searching for the light in the mess of humanity, and crawling my way back.

 

The results are the bleeding honest, sometimes tongue in cheek: How to Guides, Reviews and Observations, and Tales.

 

Also I don't subscribe to the two extremes of nursing blogs. The snarky element, nor the holier-then-now we're all angels element. Just the real deal people who are trained to cop it, until they drop it.

 

So Read at your own peril.

 

But don’t worry, I am only a vampire by trade, when I need to take blood for pathology.

I am an Australian intensive care nurse, aspiring writer, horror fiend and animal lover.

I hail from a big town in Victoria that is too big to be a country town, but too small to be the city—although city people refer to it as the country. I read Anne Rice's vampire chronicles when I was 13, chased up as many books by the underestimated British horror writer Simon Clark as possible. Been reading/watching vampire and other horror and fantasy books and movies since forever, looking for new tricks and twists. Or anything beyond the ordinary modern world. Authors like Walter Moers, David Wellington, Elyne Mitchell, Scott Lynch, Peter V Brett, Con Iggulden,  Laurell K Hamilton, Markus Heitz. 

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Flames

The state of feeling frustrated, fed up and defeated by your job. So what are you going to do about it?

Patient with Healthcare Nurse

What makes an ICU nurse different from a ward nurse, or community nurse. What the level of knowledge and skill do we need.

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Why do people like Horror?

HORROR

Coming soon

A more indepth explanation

  • Adrenaline rush of being scared and the suspense.

  • Mystery of the monster, working out the rules of how to kill them, defeat them.

  • The human response to a monster or threat—those who fight back and are resilient, and the break down of societal cooperation and fear.

  • The odd sadist, who would like to be in the shoes of the horror monster.

I studied nursing and then moved to Melbourne for my graduate year, replacing easy access to bushland with the concrete jungle of traffic and crowds. It was a bitter pill to swallow for a "big town bumpkin." But finding the remnants of bushland at the end of city rivers, and going back to my hometown as much as possible, made the city bearable.

Nursing quickly exposes the world, warts and all. ICU especially brings you in contact with every walk of life, destroying many of the illusions of humanity while creates new ones. You have a unique understanding of human nature, which does wonders for removing the awe of high status, and for your independence. It enabled me to travel solo to Europe, T  volunteer with orangutans in Malaysia and elephants in Thailand, and chimpanzees and lions in Zambia, elephants and rhinos in Zimbabwe.

But after a decade of working in ICU, I found myself rundown and sick, needing the diagnosis of an illness and treatment for it. And also so constantly fatigued by it and shift work, that it catalysed the loss of the last of my idealism and passion for nursing, leaving me over it and burnt out.

​It took a while to accept it like it was some kind of personal failure. But as my good friend reminded me, we should be working to live, not living to work. Sometimes you got to take a step back, and get out of your own way and realise a career is not who you are. So I took a chance on the RMIT Associate Degree in Professional writing and editing, to find another world other that of my own health worries, suffering patients and families, and the moral distress of prolonging the inevitable deaths, and the competitive nature of ICU nursing. And it gave me some distance to find some heart in the job again.

So I am based in my hometown, I still work in a city ICU, just not so much. And now I have the energy to not be a bitter burnout nurse, and distance myself from workplace politics, and have the time to put on the writing hat to share the unique insights of an ICU nurse, the black humour, and my own brand of the horror genre and humour.​ And whatever else brings light to the black humoured, cynical and burnout amongst us.

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