Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 28, 2010

Last year on this day, Sweetie and I were shopping at a popular variety store in my old hometown when I got a call from the director of my Nurse Refresher program.   I had sent her an email just before Christmas, abandoning pride and throwing myself on her mercy.   

Find me a unit--anywhere--willing to take me for clinical experience, I begged.   My husband's company has been idle more than half this year and there are no projects on schedule for 2010.   I need to work!

She was not the person in charge of nurse placement, but she read my email and went to work trying to place me.   Now she was calling to tell me she had found a place for me at Li'l Old County General, 12 minutes from home; I should report the second week of January.   That phone call made my Christmas.  

A few of you may understand the chagrin I felt on visiting relatives, most of whom were healthy, happy, and well-paid while we were unemployed, broke, and putting on a good front.   I was glad for my family's success, but for me the hometown visit was too cruel a reminder of the years when we all had new clothes at Christmas, an obscene overabundance of gifts, and I was the Perfect Christmas Fairy.

2010 proved to be a year of adjustments and (Thanks be to God!) easing of financial worries.   We are in process of closing husband's company, a business into which we both put many hours of time and creative energy.   His client base has been demolished by the economy and work is so sporadic now that it doesn't make good sense to keep going.   Still, it is difficult to agree to label it DNR while there is any life left in the company.   I think at last we've agreed that "quality of life" for our company in this economy is impossible.   Pull the plug.  (sigh.)

Nursing work has made it possible for us to survive and prosper.   I didn't get a paying position until June, but Li'l Old County General has turned out to be a golden employer.  Along with decent working conditions, decent pay, and shift differential I got health insurance, sick leave, and chance for advancement.   These things are not (like husband's business) dependent on the whims of the wealthy.   Being a nurse makes it possible for me to stand on my own and provide for us while doing some earthly good.

Nobody is more surprised than I that nursing finally worked out.   Since I began in 1973, nursing seemed  an albatross of a job to me; I never felt fast enough or smart enough, and the shift work was a constant trial.   I left nursing three times, but fortunately I never lost my hard-won nurse sensibility.   The RN refresher course gave me a chance to demonstrate that my skills were not too rusted for use; forty years of varied life experience had made me a better nurse, too.

In the upcoming year I will grapple with my future in nursing; what direction will I take?  Informatics?  Chemotherapy certification?  RN to BSN to MSN?  Watch this space.


  1. I feel the weight of the albatross. Sigh. I'm very glad things are working out for you at this job and you have plans to extend your education. Informatics? Does that mean no soul sucking patients? (LOL)

    Hugs and thanks for the comments at my blog!!!

  2. My wife left teaching in the mid-seventies and got her B.S. in nursing by driving 70 miles each way to school. She began her career as the only night shift R.N. at a 110 bed hospital, and has since worked ER, ICU, ante-partum, and cardiac telemetry (all of this took her through four states in all), but she has been an OB nurse for last 20 years. If not for the health insurance, she would already be retired.

    I'm glad you've feeling confident in your skills, and I know it must be a tremendous relief to be able to support your family.

  3. Good for you!
    Another area is phone triage. You can do it from your own home....and it is almost like not working!
    (I love it!)

  4. Wow. Thanks for the kind words, everybody.

    Don't worry, Crazed; the albatross does go away after a while. You are doing well for being in your first year as an LPN. And yes, informatics means soul-sucking computers, not patients. Where does a girl go for Kodak Nurse moments in that kind of job, I wonder? Am going to get Sweetie to help me work over the options in January.

    All y'all are the BEST!

    Nurse Philosopher