This is about to get touchy ya’ll! I have been a stay at home mom for a year and a half now. Prior to that I worked in an ENT clinic as a “nurse” I guess you could say, but my actual title was medical assistant. I worked in the clinic for 2 years after graduating nursing school. I’ve actually been a little ashamed to tell this story. I haven’t publicized my feelings to the world so while you read this let’s just be kind. Also, I am not here to put the clinic or anyone on blast. This is to sort through what I went through as a new mom who worked full time and to shed light on some injustices in the workplace. If you are in a similar situation or know someone who is, I pray that you find closure and do what’s best for you!
Let’s rewind like 8 years when I started nursing school in 2014. When I went into nursing school I knew that this was my path and passion. I thought I always wanted to be a pediatric nurse because I loved kids so much. I began my pediatric rotation in nursing school and I HATED IT. Honestly it was not for me. After I realized that, I was like “what the heck will I do?” That was the turning point in nursing school for me where I realized I didn’t want to be a nurse. I stuck it out the next 2 years and graduated in 2018 with my BSN. I sat for the NCLEX/nursing boards 3 times and failed each time. My heart was not in it. I didn’t want to be a nurse, but I didn’t know what else to do. Immediately after college I landed my job at the ENT Clinic working with a doctor I was close with. I nannied his three kids for 3 years throughout college and I watched them grow. As their family shifted I was there to witness it all and be a rock for the kids. I loved nannying and when the job opportunity came up to work with him in this clinic I couldn’t pass it up because I knew him as a person. This part is where the story and the ending hurts a little bit more.
The first year or so I worked at the clinic it was “fine”. There were some things I didn’t agree with, but you’re not going to agree with everything at a workplace I thought. There were a lot of shifts in the nurses with hiring/quitting/training. I figured that was normal because this is the only job I have ever had. I had a couple weeks of training and then I was thrown out there as the main nurse for my doctor. It wasn’t overwhelming honestly because I caught on easily and I knew my doctor very well from nannying his kids for 3 years. As I became his primary nurse, there was supposed to be another nurse who worked part time, but was on maternity leave at the time. Well about a month after I started she decided that she didn’t want to come back to the clinic so they started the hiring process for a second nurse. Long story short, they hired a male nurse and it started out fine after he was hired. We worked well together at the start and then things slowly got worse.
I got pregnant in November 2019 and gave birth in August 2019. I took 12 weeks of maternity leave and then started back at work just before Thanksgiving. As a new breastfeeding mom there are some obstacles going back to work full time. Julian started daycare at 3 months and I was pumping and breastfeeding on this new schedule. I would hope in 2020-2021 that employers would understand the importance of pumping. My schedule was working 8 hours a day and pumping twice during the day. It takes a little while to figure out the perfect schedule, ya know? So I would pump in the morning and then at lunch. My lunch time was never the same which can be difficult for a pumping mom as there was more than one of us pumping during the day. pumping in the workplace– this is the pumping law for mothers. Make sure as a pumping mom in the workplace that you know your rights and review your employee handbook. There are multiple reasons why I quit my job so let’s unwrap them…
- Pumping issues: 1. There was a designated “pumping” room, but sometimes it was occupied so then we had to find a different location to pump. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a pumping room? We would pump in the CT room, audio room, hearing aid specialists room. At one point one of the nurses had a broken leg and was working there. Like can’t she work at a different desk? 2. The male nurse I worked with would tell me “You can’t pump at that time I need your help.” This happened multiple times. So he was inconvenienced by my pumping? Also, he would passive aggressively say things about me while I was pumping, but would never say anything to my face. This is actually harassment. I complained multiple times and the nurse manager witnessed the disrespect. She stood up for me and it took them months to talk to him and when they did… he basically got a slap on the wrist. 3. The lack of support I received while trying to feed my child was sickening. It always seemed like an inconvenience to someone else and it was like pulling teeth to get someone to step into my position for just 20 minutes. This is a woman’s right and it was not shown where I worked. This whole situation actually almost ended in a lawsuit. Where I worked hired mainly women of child bearing age, where multiple moms needed to pump during work. I hope they have realized how they can better support moms in their clinic.
- Mental health: Due to the pumping situation my mental health took a huge toll. I was extremely anxious and depressed. My child started daycare at 3 months old and I never saw my husband because he worked 2-11pm. I was basically living for the weekend and every sunday I had the Sunday scaries. That was not the life I wanted to live. I never wanted to be there at the end. The injustices are not something I could put off any longer.
- Horrible coworkers: Have you ever worked with someone who finds the worst in coworkers and then tries to get them fired? Well, the same nurse that I worked with was doing just that. He wasn’t just saying things about me passive aggressively when I was pumping, but was also talking about other nurses behind their backs. I was actually the third nurse to quit in 6 months because of him. They wouldn’t fire him and to this day he still works there. The toxicity in this workplace was just unreal.
- COVID-19: COVID happened. COVID happened hard. My hours got cut so I was working 16-20 hours a week and honestly I was so happy when I was working less hours. My mental and physical health actually improved during COVID. We can’t deny that the money from the government also helped. In 2020 we paid off over $20,000 in debt which undeniably helped me say goodbye to my 9-5 job. I quit June 6, 2020 in the middle of the pandemic.
- Toxic work environment: Not only was there the issue with the male nurse, but the front desk. The people you see as soon as you walk in the clinic or when you call, yeah they are not friendly. So much cattiness and pettiness and I just couldn’t get with it. Again, they would not fire anyone. We were told numerous times by families that if it wasn’t for my doctor’s nurses AKA me and the male nurse, then they wouldn’t not go to the clinic.
- No leadership: the nurse manager I had was awesome and very understanding of the other nurses. As the pandemic hit the communication improved and then she quit. It was a huge mess after that. I got a .54 raise in the 2 years that I worked for the clinic and I know my value is worth more than that no matter my title. It’s almost like they didn’t see anything wrong with the toxicity in the clinic. Maybe they didn’t see it at all and that is concerning. Any topic that would cause conflict that actually needed to be resolved would be swept under the rug so issues just kept piling up.
- Lack of effort: Like I mentioned I knew my doctor through many different stages of life. From nannying his children for 3 years and being his nurse for 2 years, there were many things that went on in those 5 years of life. The morning I told him that I was quitting and he said, “Okay”. THAT’S IT. This solidified my decision. Throughout the whole time I knew him he gave me an “okay”. That was it for me. It actually hurt. I knew I made the best decision for myself and my family after that. I knew he didn’t see my value.
I am not here to say I did everything perfect because I did not. However, there are some non-negotiables in a workplace. One- you will not mess with my human rights, two- you can’t hire and fire just anyone. There was no 90 day probation in place or anything. There were 6 nurses that left in a matter of 8 months and that shows the dynamic of the clinic. I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to leave that environment. I know many people who worked there that wanted/want to quit, but don’t know where to go or what to do. I truthfully hope the clinic is a better place to work in 2022. And I pray that other workplaces honor women’s rights and see their workers as people.
One reason I could quit my job is because I was making an extra income. I started Herbalife Nutrition my senior year of college, I started using the products and felt great and then became a distributor. This was more of my calling in terms of helping people. After realizing nursing wasn’t for me and then working in a clinic for 2 years, nursing seemed more of helping people stay sick and not helping them improve their health. Other nurses may feel this too. I started herbalife part time around college and my full time job and I continued it after quitting my job. I do make a part time income which is super beneficial in staying home. I am also so grateful for this opportunity to make money from home!
Remember, this is my story. This is a very touchy subject, but I was ready to unwrap it with all of you. Again, let’s be nice! Thanks for reading my story and I hope we can begin to shed some light on these topics, especially breastfeeding mamas in the workplace!