Wednesday, October 01, 2014

I've Retired From Nursing

 I am finished with my nursing career. 
I retired on Monday. 
I began my career in the dark ages.
Nurses still wore hats, although I only wore mine to my ceremony.

I thought I wanted to be a Labor and Delivery nurse, but they wouldn't take Rn's without some experience.
When I graduated I went to the NICU.
Ours was always called , the INFANT SPECIAL CARE UNIT.
(ISCU or Isk kew..phoenetically) 

I have been  employed by the same hospital for 34 years. 
I began my career as a unit clerk or secretary when I was 20. 
The nurses on that floor on 4 North at Glenbrook truly were my inspiration. 

I was in nursing school at Loyola University in Chicago, working weekends at the hospital, and also waitressing in the summer. 
I took the L to school and back, living at home. 
(This was after 2 years at Miami of Ohio on a creative writing scholarship which I gave up to come home) (My father was furious that I'd made that choice) 

I still have the blanket I crocheted when I was an aide in the Emergency room one year.  A nurse was crocheting an afghan and I asked her to teach me.  

My friend Helen, a nurse from Ireland, always said you get your Masters Degree In Life working as a nurse. 
She is right. 

I'm still processing it all.
Fireman just smiles and understands.
I was a nurse, and I raised a nurse. 
I feel I've done my share. 

I've left the profession is capable young hands.
When little ones come into to visit their siblings on the unit, I ask them what they want to be when they grow up.
They usually say, "A doctor" 
Then I say, "Oh that's too bad. Then you can't hold the babies. The nurses get to hold the babies and feed them." 

My mother encouraged me to be a nurse. She had 5 girls and always wished she was a nurse.  She wanted one of us to be a nurse.   My mom is in an advanced stage of Alzheimers now, but she would be very proud of me.  I know it.  She was always proud of me and worried for me coming home at midnight alone many snowy nights.  She rubbed her rosary beads down for me and placed her trust in Mary .

My father dismissed my entire career.  He couldn't brag about my being a nurse.  He thought that was for children who grew up to be doctors and lawyers and Indian Chiefs.  
Even as he lay on his pre operative cart with me by his side reassuring him that he'd be okay on by-pass and in ICU post op, when someone would come in and say,
"dont I know you? " to me. This is what would happen. 

I'd say, "Oh I m an ISCU nurse" 
and they'd gush and praise and say, 
I don't know you do that job. 
I'd say I don't know how you do your job!

then they'd look at my dad, and say
"you must be so proud of your daughter"
and he'd always say,
"well I have 6 kids, an engineer and a lawyer among them" 

My father never ever ...ever...thought my career was a worthy choice.  "You should have been a doctor" 
Silly man.  He is so wrong. 

I met so many great women along my way.
They helped "grow" me up at the bedside. 

I made mistakes, we all do.  We are humans not machines. I thank God the mistakes were not catastrophic. 
I walked by our hospital Chapel before each shift and prayed that I would not make a mistake.  
I usually bumped into another nurse coming out of the chapel praying the same prayer. 

Oh boy, this post has gotten away from me!
So I'll finish today on this note:
I've cleaned out my locker, and turned in my badge,
it's been a good run. 









22 comments:

knitterbeader said...

Wow, what an amazing career you've had, and to spend 34 years at the same hospital. You had to have loved your job and the surroundings. Thank you and all the nurses out there for their care and kindness when I'm sure it's difficult at times.

So now you have lots of time to do other things - like knitting, right?

Wanderingcatstudio said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful career! And yes, the nurses really are the backbone of the health system! Congratulations!

Nancy Kay said...

Yes, your dad was wrong...you and others in the profession have given compassion, comfort, and care to so many. Those are noble qualities! And such significant contributions to our communities! Congrats on a wonderful career! It's not an easy emotional gesture to pass the baton on to the next generation, but they too will do their best and grow from their experiences. And you...you can now try on some other hats! Have fun exploring options you didn't have time for because of "the job." Have fun giving to others in new ways. You can't imagine the GOOD waiting for you around the next corner!

Suburban prep said...

Congratulations on your wonderful career.
My sister and my mother are both nurses though not practicing. It is always said once a nurse always a nurse especially as a mother.
Glenbrook will miss you. I have (personally) spent too much time at Glenbrook.
My MIL has been in there on and off and she really enjoys the nurses. My father was there last month and he enjoyed the nurses as well.
I wish you well and enjoyment in whatever you choose to do or not do in life as you meet it now.

Jennifer said...

Congratulations. Think of all the people you've helped along the way. They are all so lucky to have crossed paths with you. Enjoy your retirement.

Vicki Knitorious said...

Beautiful. Thank you, and congratulations!! Enjoy your retirement.

Nancy said...

Well done! You helped more people in your career than you will ever know. God's blessings to you and all those who continue to nurse.

Alyssa said...

Congratulations on your retirement! That's amazing. :) I wish I could have been a nurse. My mom + grandma were both nurses and I just didn't have the guts :(

Anonymous said...

You have been do fortunate to have a career that was not a chore, something you loved and something you got as much from as you gave to. I am not a nurse but wotk in he as lthcare and just cany imagine doing anything that gives you do much satisfaction. The experiences you see are true life lessons that wr learn grom. You sed do much and realize how fragile life truly is. I wond=r if your father said he had a nurse for a daughter (that he was very proud of) in front of your attorney sibling.

Mrs. Micawber said...

Thank you for all those years of care and dedication. I think nursing is one of the hardest jobs ever, and one in which a person can make a huge difference to the lives of those around her. Mr. M and I still remember who his best nurses were when he spent a lot of time in hospital 20 years ago ... they helped turn a frightening experience into something positive. And earlier this year, when I was sitting in pre-op with my Dad who had an intracranial hemorrhage, his admitting nurse was so incredibly kind and caring. To us, she represented the entire OR team, and she made me feel that Dad would be in good hands. (He was.)

Just think - there are families out there who will always remember you, and the love you gave to their precious little ones. That is a goodly heritage and something to be proud of.

Katherine said...

You are amazing. Let me say what I hope your dad was thinking but just couldn't find the words--you are a daughter any father would be proud of. Your years as a nurse have been a blessing to all you have cared for. You will be remembered by too many to count as "the nurse" who was always there with us, giving clear information along with love and care for the whole family. You will be missed, but you have run the race and fought the fight with and for those who needed you. You are now and will forever be A NURSE!

I'm proud of you!

Araignee said...

Congratulations!!!!
My sister is a nurse and I know how hard she works and the sacrifices she made for her career. Now that we've got Daddio to deal with, I can't tell you how grateful I am she is a nurse. You are all angels from heaven.

I know you will enjoy every minute of your retirement. Being home all say with "him" can be a challenge at times. When things get rough just turn on ESPN. They gravitate to the sound and you can get some peace and quiet. I don't know what I'm going to do when Mike and Mike retire next year.

Dee said...

I know you were a wonderful nurse and now Al is there to carry on your tradition of loving care.

I'm so happy for you in your retirement. I hope you and Fireman get to do all the fun things that had to wait until this time. Hugs ....and rest.

I'm so sorry that your dad could not appreciate what you did. (Sadly ... I think my dad must have been cut from the same cloth.)

TracyK said...

Congratulations on your retirement! There are several nurses among my extended family members and every one of them is an angel to the ones they care for and their families - you were too.

As long as you're proud of your career, that's the important part. Nurses are the ones who put the care in healthcare.

Sue said...

Congratulations on ending a successful career. It's sad when we can't accept that everyone has to make their own choices and they may not be the ones we would have them make, but you have much to be proud of.

Judy S. said...

Congratulations on your retirement, Kathy! I have nothing but the greatest respect for nurses, especially ones who work in the NICU.I'll bet had your dad followed you around for just one shift, he'd have changed his impression of your career choice. Hope your retirement will bring you many blessings! (And that you head our way for a visit!!!)

Mereknits said...

I am so happy for you and in awe of your career and your perseverance with all the years you have put into it and dealing with a Father that did not understand the importance of what you have accomplished. Nurses are the ones who take care of us when we are ill, they are the ones that help us to heal. I am not dishing Doctor's but without nurses we would be no where. Congrats to you Kathy.
Meredith

SapphireBlue said...

I know some doctors who would say nurses have the harder job. You could have done so many wrong things with you life. The fact you chose a sometimes thankless job, and stuck with it for so long, I'm proud of you. I hope you enjoy this next phase in life.

Donna from Arizona said...

Yay for you and your many years of nursing in a very challenging job. We have much in common. I retired from nursing three years ago after working at the same hospital for 37 years. And yes,I am still pinching myself! I started my nursing career in the NICU, and loved it. Being a retired RN is awesome, but fair warning...I had dreams about work for two years! The dreams involved being called in and not remembering how to do anything, or not knowing where any supplies were located! Ha! It was such a relief to wake up! I love your blog and wish you much happiness (and well deserved rest!) In your retirement.

Sarah said...

Your Dada was wrong! Good luck adjusting to retirement.

Lynn said...

Happy Retirement!!! Too bad your dad never saw the beauty in nurses. Doctors are in and out, but it's the nurses that truly care for the patients. Whenever I was in the hospital my dh used to make sure he brought in donuts for the nurses. He felt if he took good care of them, they'd take good care of me.

And if you've been a nurse for 34 years you have definitely seen some advances in medicine!!! congratulations again!

SissySees said...

Congrats, my friend. Yours is a noble profession and you made a tremendous difference in the lives you touched.

Pooey on your father.

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