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.