Tag Archives: Nursing

I Found It

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The day I found it, I knew beyond any doubt, He was real. That profound piece of knowledge is shown to me repeatedly through my life.

I am a mother of two children, now grown. I’ve been an RN for thirty-two years. Before I became a nurse, I spent years trying to survive and take care of my two young children as a single mom. I lived on food stamps and in public housing, and I hated every minute of it.

I’d always wanted to be a nurse and in fact started college right out of high school. I decided at that point I wanted my man, and put love above my education. I was married to my children’s father for nine years. He decided he wanted to play. I’m a selfish woman, I don’t share well. My marriage ended.

I was living in Vernon, Texas when my marriage crumbled, and my family was in Oklahoma. Everything about my world crumbled around me. I didn’t have a job, I had two small children, and I was an emotional wreck. I wasn’t dealing with my failed marriage well. I had my children wanting their father, and my family telling me the children needed their daddy. I actually swallowed my pride and asked my husband to move back home. I met him at the door, when he moved back. He gave me a kiss and I knew with that kiss something was missing. His being home lasted four days. He couldn’t stay away from his play toy. There was too much pain to handle. I packed up and moved back home to McAlester.

The subsidized housing we lived in was not bad, but the neighborhood could get rough. At that point, in time, which was in the mid 1970’s I, felt as if I were the only white-skinned person in the complex. My apartment was broken into a couple of times and once I made the mistake of leaving my month’s food stamps on the end table. They disappeared.

I rejoiced when I received a five-dollar increase in my welfare check. Every five dollars in my pocket helped. The rejoicing didn’t last long. The housing authority raised my rent by six dollars a month. It was a losing battle. There was no way to win.

We never had enough money to buy the non-food items we needed, such as laundry soap, toilet paper, and dishwashing soap. Times got so bad that my children would go to a service station and steal toilet paper for us to use.

Towards the end of the month, we would run out of food. Weekends and summer were the hardest, because the kids didn’t get their breakfast and lunch at school. I was blessed enough to have a mom and dad who let me and the kids come to their house for supper when we needed to. I felt like a failure from beginning to end. I couldn’t do anything right. I was supposed to have stayed married, and raised my kids with both a mother and a father. Instead, I felt like a moocher, even though I know they didn’t feel that way. The guilt I felt was eating me up.

I finally got enough of my mind back that I decided to go back to college and fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse. I couldn’t continue to let my children live the way they were living. My mom was so supportive. She encouraged me every chance she got. She wanted me to get the education she’d always wanted for me. I had to be able to take care of my children and myself.

My uncle teased me about not needing an education, because I now had two diplomas, Allan and Stephanie. He’d tried to talk me out of quitting school to marry my kids father, but of course being young and in love I didn’t listen.

Using Pell Grants, I moved to Wilburton and began college at Eastern Oklahoma State College. I made application to their nursing program and was accepted. The two-year program, which I took three to complete, was tough. I took all of my prerequisites one year and did nursing the next two years.

The kids and I lived in a two-bedroom house trailer on campus for the first year. I had a car but didn’t drive much except to go back home to see mom and dad. Mom would usually give me money for the gasoline. The problem of living in Wilburton and being in school, I no longer qualified for food stamps, because I received too much money from the Pell Grant.

We still had to eat and pay bills, so I took a part-time job at a local nursing home working as an aide. Since my family owned nursing homes, I was well qualified. I’d done everything from cooking in the kitchen to the laundry room. The down side to the job, it didn’t pay much more than minimum wage, and I had to pay for day care. It didn’t leave me much money. I worked whenever I could.

Through God’s grace, we made it through the first year. Due to almost freezing to death in that trailer, I found a walk-up apartment I could afford to rent. The kids’ day care was down the road from us about a block, and I could drop them off on my way to class without having to drive out of my way.

My second year of nursing school was the toughest. I couldn’t work many hours because of my clinical schedule for school. It got to the point one time when there wasn’t even milk for the kids in the refrigerator. I had nothing. I cried and I prayed and cried some more. I’d finally cried all the tears I could and I needed comfort.

Something made me pick up my Bible and I began reading in my favorite book of Isaiah. I felt comforted, as I always did. After my divorce, I slept with the Bible close to me. God was my comfort and my strength. When I turned, the page, what I saw astounded me. I began crying all over again, except this time with joy.

Stuck inside my Bible was a crisp, new ten-dollar bill. I didn’t put it there, which made it a miracle for me. It would let me buy food until my payday from work rolled around in a couple of days. I fell on my knees and began praising God. I knew then I didn’t have anything to worry about because He was with me. You know what, He still is. I worry very little because I know God has my back. I have failed him many times, but He has never failed me.

Times remained hard while I was in school, but I received my nursing license and my world turned around. I know I made it through with God’s help and the help of my family.

 

 

Unhappy with LTC (Long Term Care)

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Group of nurses, Base Hospital #45

Image by The Library of Virginia via Flickr

The following blog was sent to me as a response to my blog  concerning LTC (Long Term Care)  This is a young woman who is now second guessing her decision of becoming a nurse after working in LTC.  There was times over my 32 years that I wanted to quit nursing but I couldn’t.  I liked caring for my patients.  It is never the patient care that makes us want to quit, it is all the peripheral garbage going on.  If you are not going into nursing because you feel in your heart it is what you are supposed to be doing, then don’t start it.  Find something else to do.  It is a tough profession from dealing with all the political garbage going on to budget cuts.  This article is the downside of LTC and unfortunately I feel it happens all to often and it doesn’t matter where you live in the country.  Do not put your loved one in a home unless you checked it out thourghly.  Visit at different times of the day.  Maybe go with a friend and visit some of the patients, watch and listen to what is going on around you.   If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them.

I’ve always heard nurses explain that they do not want to work in LTC. I always thought that they were just complaining about the fact that they didn’t want to work with the elderly.

After working as a  CNA in this facility for just 2 weeks, I have a new appreciation of the reasons why people do not want to work in LTC: and a desire not to work with the elderly is NOT one of the reasons.

Suffice to say, I’ve been off from work for 5 days due to a parasitic infection that I contracted from either  or my job site and I’ve felt an extraordinary amount of anxiety regarding return to work because, during my last shift at work, we were out of PPE supplies, including gloves.

Other issues that I’ve encountered while working as a CNA:

  1. Nurses and CNA’s sleeping at work, in the hallways and all over the facility.
  2. Lack of supplies, such as briefs  (the wrong size is usually available), soap (usually can find some soap somewhere in the building, just not where it should be), bed sheets AND gloves!
  3. An expectation what some patient care tasks must be pushed aside, for example, are not changing their briefs more than 1 time per shift and ignoring a patients call for help due to pain from bleeding wounds.
  4. We are told not to wear gloves all of the time to respect the patient’s dignity, but I just contracted scabies!
  5. In most cases, staff fails to wash hands between residents, nor change their gloves between residents. New gloves aren’t put on even after removing a soiled brief.
  6. Briefs with feces and urine in them are tossed on the floor and picked up later on. A nurse laughed at me for wearing PPE when doing a brief change on a resident on contact precautions for MRSA or C-DIFF (no-one knows which one because the print on the form is cut off) but she is on contact precautions.
  7. I don’t know if the management knows or cares about any of this. I kind of think that some of them do know.
  8. Failure to document important issues on the part of the nurses and the C.N.A.’s.

I’m feeling very discouraged about working as a nurse, now.