Friday, April 29, 2011

What Are You Going To Be When You Grow Up?

I took my nurses training at Lutheran Hospital school of Nursing in St Louis, Mo. It was a three year program. The first year was mostly taking classes. We did a little work on the floor, like handing out food trays and perhaps feeding people. After we were "capped"  however, we began working on the floor as student nurses. Sometimes we worked the night shift and had classes the next day. It was grueling, but we were young and took it in stride.

After our second year we could even pick up shifts to work and get paid for them. One of my classmates worked almost every day of our senior year. If she was not scheduled she picked up a shift. She and her boyfriend wanted to get married and buy a farm after we graduated so she was saving up. Now there was a girl that knew what she wanted. (I have seem that kind of drive in some of the immigrants I have worked with over the years. One woman was  a Licensed Practical Nurse, an LPN, who had a new baby plus two other small children at home. She was going to school full time to be a Registered Nurse. Her husband worked the evening shift after she came home from school, and she then worked a night shift whenever she could fit one in. I asked her why she would follow such a grueling schedule. She looked at me in surprise and answered, "But, this is the time of great sacrifice.")

I am sorry to say I have never had that kind of a drive for nursing. I like my profession, I guess. I have done it long enough that I am good at it, but it is not the great love of my life. I did not work as a nurse when I was raising the children, but was happy to have a profession to fall back on when Paul became sick.

Probably the most fulfilling thing I did as a nurse was to lead the grief group for a number of years at a local hospital. I had gone back to the University of MN and gotten my BS degree in Family and Community Health Education (a degree I designed myself through the "University Without Walls" program there.), so I was hired to do supports groups at the hospital. I liked it because I was able to provide information and support that allowed people to put their lives back together after a devastating loss. They came in very fragile and went out much stronger.

 That is why I liked raising children, too. Roots and wings, as they say. Empowering people to succeed  is my true calling, I think.

This is the probably the last year I will work. I am on call at the present, so I rarely miss anything that is going on with the family. I don't have to ask off to go on a trip, and I am still able to contribute a bit to the family bank account. It is getting harder though. As my sister, Paula says, "Nursing is a young girl's game."

Sometimes I wonder what path my life might have taken with the choices the young women have today. Our choices seemed rather limited once we graduated from high school.. Basically, girls could go on to college to  be teachers or nurses, or they could beome secretaries, work in a store or a factory or get a job with the telephone company. In the process of elimination I became a nurse.

Where did your choices lead you?


1 comment:

Dr. Barry L. Kolb said...

My choices...and sometime lack of choices...have led me to today. Where they tomorrow is entirely up to Him! Where He leads, I will follow!