A lifetime of nursing…starting at 48

CaribbeanCarlaOne day, my phone rings and I answer it. I mean, that’s what you do when the phone rings, right? It’s my mom. “Do you still want to be a nurse?”

“Of course I do mom, it’s my dream.”

This woman, my mom, otherwise known as my hero, became an LPN at 50 following the death of my father.

She said, “It’s April, next class starts in five months. BELIEVE!”

I talked to my husband and he said fill out an application.

A month later, I got accepted.

My “stats” at the time: stay at home mom of four. Age 38. Children ages 5, 9, 13 and 15.

I was so nervous.

It has been 21 years since I had last been in a classroom and I was going to enter into a routine that included study, homework, mother, wife, housework…who was I kidding?!?

But as it got closer, I got braver. We all sat around the dining room table doing homework, quizzing each other, challenging each other for the best grades.

My mother, God bless her, would put my younger children on the bus, stand in as class mom and  usually do the prep work for dinner, then go work from 3-11.

For the next two years, I worked nights and would come home, get everybody on their way and go to sleep.

Then I thought, “I want to be able to do more.”  I want to grow so I started taking a class or two every quarter – still working, mind you –  while continuing to raise my children and remain involved in their lives.

At 48, I graduated from college, the same year my oldest son graduated and got married.

As an LPN, I worked on CCU stepdown and as an RN, I worked the unit.

Sometimes the nurse who was showing me something was the same age as my children but they never intimidated me, only encouraged.

I retired at 60 due to my husband’s health and with osteoarthritis it was becoming more and more difficult to work 12 hours.

I was home six months and feeling empty, I started volunteering first in the hospital as a spiritual aide and  then started volunteering for hospice.

Both volunteering jobs gave me my people fix.

As a hospice volunteer I began dealing with 2 altzheimers patients, another challenge, both professionally and emotionally.

About 2 1/2 years ago I returned to the work force PRN.  I can honestly say I would not change one hour of one day of being a nurse and thank God everyday that nursing filled my life.

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