Sunday, September 25, 2005

"Not in Nursing"

If I have to get another job, I do NOT want it to be in nursing. Been there, done that – for almost forty years.

When I was a junior high school almost fifty years ago, I had to write three reports on what I wanted to do “when I grew up.” The third choice was nursing; the second was draftsman (I thought since I could draw I could earn a living drawing houses). The first choice? Journalist.

I had been reading the Washington Post (we lived in Laurel, Maryland) since I was 10. I wanted to major in journalism with a minor in political science. Today I say, trying to be funny but with some real sadness, “I could have been Woodward or Bernstein.”

So why didn’t I go to college and follow that dream. Pop said we couldn’t afford college. But we could afford nursing school. But not Washington Hospital Center School of Nursing (I had been accepted to three schools and that was the one I wanted). We could afford Easton Hospital School of Nursing in Easton, PA - two hundred miles from home but it was only $500 for three years – this was 1965. A bargain. And considering Pop gave me $5 a week to buy my toiletries and anything else I needed, I guess it was a real bargain for him. But not for me.

I hated it. I hated, hated, hated it. I hated the classes. I hated the work on the units. I hated being two hundred miles from home. But I graduated with good grades and when I learned that Mom and Pop were retiring and moving to West Virginia and I would have no home to move back to in Maryland, I realized I had to make my home in Easton, PA and I had to support myself by nursing.

And I hated it. I started work as a charge nurse on one of the worse units (six bed wards with no running water) in the hospital. I called off sick as often as I could. I got warnings after warnings. I hated it. I hated getting up in the morning. I hated taking report. I hated doing everything pertaining to nursing. But I did it. I supported myself. I did it well. I went on to other areas in nursing and finally into administrative work. I was the major financial support of my family, then of my daughter and now of myself.

And I still hate it. There are parts that I like. But those are few and far between. I’m in long term care and the regulations are strangling – you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. In long term care, you are the Bad Guy – always. I want out – out of long term care and out of nursing.

Forty years is long enough. Many people don’t serve that long of a sentence for murder.

I may only have ten years to live – two bouts of cancer, one of congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, nonfunctioning parathyroids –Mom died at 68 – I want out now.

I want to do something I love – not something I have to do just because a decision was made forty years ago.
My friend, Verna, who is older than me, tells me that I have so many options. I can do anything – as long as it’s in nursing. She tells me because of her age, she doesn’t have those options. But she has something I don’t – a husband with a very good business. She doesn’t have to support herself; I do.

But I know the way of the world. I’m too young to retire and too old to be taken seriously for job retraining. I need health insurance. I need to support myself. My fate may be sealed because of a decision made forty years ago.

At least I didn’t kill anyone – at least not that I know of.


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7:55 AM  
Blogger LadyLit said...

Why am I attracting these trolls?

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mitzi - you need to turn on word verification under Settings, Comments to prevent automatic spamming.

9:16 AM  
Blogger hugh said...

OK Mitz, Maybe I can make this work. I so sorry things seem to be going so wrong for you. I can understand, quite readily, your reluctance to remain in nursing. I know I grew tired of it soon after coming out of the service. I did not share with you in previous communications that I attended Allentown Hospital School of Anesthesia only to be terminated when the program went on the skids. Nevertheless, all of my education and experience has brought me to the position I am in now. In two weeks, I am being transferred to the position of Assistant Chief Inspector for medical matters. One never knows when good fortune will come our way. Hang in there, Babe, and keep your chin up. Someone with your smarts and experience can do nothing short of greatness. Use the power of self-knowledge and you shall succeed. And I'll not tolerate anymore of this age nonesense. I just turned 63!!

12:44 PM  
Blogger LadyLit said...

Thanks for all the encouragement.
I'm working on my freelancing. I'll have another article in The Easton Irregular next month. I'm working on a critique service.
And age does matter in this type of nursing - very physically demanding.

7:51 AM  
Blogger LadyLit said...

I took your excellent advise and used Blogger's "Troll Begone" spray.

7:52 AM  

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