I had a high school advisor who said I would never be a nurse.
Fortunately for me, there was a program and I went to a vocational tech school for my LPN and graduated at age 18 in 1967!
I spent over 18 years working in various positions such as med surg, medical floor, nursing homes, home health and others when they tried to eliminate LPNs in the early 80s (A big mistake).
I then went to a community college in Frederick, MD and got my AA degree and passed my RN boards.
I worked full time and went to school full time while raising a daughter alone.
She was a huge help maintaining our home, doing the grocery shopping and all those other daily tasks that take so much time.
While going to school I worked in a drug and alcohol treatment center detoxing, and teaching patients how to get sober.
I am proud to say I managed to get through school with Pell grant money, 2 scholarships, money for single women through the college and my own resources.
Out in the real world
After graduation in 1986 I worked in intensive care for 1 year, then a county detention center for 8 years, also doing part-time work in a walk in clinic.
My job was out sourced to a provider so I then moved on to other venues including supervisor in extended care.
My passion throughout nursing became working with alcoholics drug addicts and their families.
I was on treatment team while working in the county jail, when in intensive care I was given most of the overdoses due to alot of nurses feeling very uncomfortable with this type of patient.
If their own lives had been affected by someones addiction sad to say a real prejudice and disdain for these patients.
I have since gotten my nursing certification in addictions.
I am currently working in the Carroll Hospital Center.
I work in outpatient behavioral health and am cross trained for mental health and addictions.
My passion and gifts still is working with addiction.
This is a sorely needed area of expertise.
I am also an ALANON member and have used this to help with families who are often sicker than the patients who have the disease.
I am at age 64 still fulltime, and proud to say that my daughter at age 40 decided to go to LPN school, graduated and got her license and is now working in a methadone clinic and loving her new career.
My hope is that young nurses consider a career in behavioral health.
I am the only certified nurse in my hospital and less than 400 in the country.
What does the future hold?
As my generation retires we are going to be in dire need of well trained dedicated nurses.
I am sad to say over the years I have seen some of the standards of nurses change, and quite frankly am wondering how well some are at clinical skills.
I have seen most everything as a young nurse, not just reading out of a text, but attending and helping MD’s at bedside for procedures that are now done in out patient.
I have experienced death and dying, many long shifts when time was not mandated for how long you could work, being stranded in snow storms and yes getting a nickel raise one time at age 19, and also without retirement benefits in many places.
In spite of these things I have loved may career and am proud to call myself nurse, and now I get to watch my daughter grow in her field.
I am also glad to see so many men joining our ranks. There is so much more I could share but feel I’ve said enough.
To all my fellow nurses, I salute you!