Monday, October 15, 2012

About my career choice.....

This is an extremely long post...just be warned!

I received an e-mail the other day that was really touching. Even though it was just a few sentences, it meant A LOT TO ME!!! (Thanks Jo!) Well, that e-mail got me thinking....I have not really shared anything about my career with you guys! So let me start with a little background and a warning...this will be a wordy post, but I feel like I should write it in order for y’all to get a glimpse of me and what I do.

          As the name of my blog implies, I’m a nurse, a LPN to be exact. I’ve been a LPN for around a year now. I’ve been in the medical field for around 5 years.

        After I had my daughter and she was probably about months old, I went looking for a job. I couldn’t find one anywhere, I mean NO WHERE! I probably filled out 100 applications, if not more within a few weeks time with no result. So, I started thinking about my options. I needed to find a job that had a little security and one that I could do. My mom is a RN so I’ve always kind of wanted to be a nurse anyways. There was no way at that point in time I could go back to school. I had a friend that was a CNA and who had told me that places around here are ALWAYS hiring CNA’s. CNA is a Certified Nurse’s Assistant (aka certified butt wiper). I started calling around to find out about classes. I knew some nursing homes held classes for free and some even PAID YOU to take the class. Well, no luck in getting paid to take it, but I did find one for FREE!

      So, after around a month of classes and clinicals I became a CNA. I loved my job, I loved the one on one with the residents, I LOVED IT! But I HATED the pay! I was litterally working myself to death, just to support my family. I was tired of it! I then decided to apply for a nursing program. The one I applied to is a year long program, I thought, I can do a year!  I remember the day I found out I got accepted into the program, I was at work (of course) coming in off my lunch break when I got the call. I was so happy I started crying. FINALLY an opportunity to change my life for the better, and an opportunity to start an actual CAREER! (Something back then I never thought I would have). So Jan 3rd of 2011 I started class. Monday through Friday from 8-3. Working every weekend, from Friday night at 10 pm til Saturday at 2 pm. Saturday night from 10pm until Sunday at 2 pm. And start back over Monday morning at 8 am.  Don’t get me wrong, I WAS DEAD! I never saw my kids except to tell them I love them, goodnight, or take them to school. Other than that my butt was in locked in my room studying.

      It’s a 2 year program CRAMMED into a year.  Its rough. You have to be dedicated. And I WAS! I honestly don’t know how I did it! But, on Dec 11th of 2011 there was my name being called, I had done it! (and with pretty good grades at that) I made it through the year. But that didn’t mean anything. I still had to take the NCLEX exam. Have I ever told you I have the worst luck ever? Well, really I do. THE STATE BOARD OF NURSING AND THE OPERATORS OF THE NCLEX EXAM LOST ME! Yes, they lost my files! So everyone from my class was taking the exam, and I still hadn’t recieved my authorization to test. For a week I was on the phone EVERY DAY with the dean of nursing at my school and the people who set up your testing. FINALLY they got everything worked out and I got my test date. I WAS NERVOUS AS HELL!

           I had to drive an hour and a half away to take the test. With this test you can have a minimum of 87 questions and a maximum of 206. The computer just shuts off when you are done. You have no idea if you passed or failed for 48 hours (or more in some cases)! Most likely if it cuts off at 87 you passed, anywhere between there and 206 you failed. So after question 87 my computer didn’t shut off. I thought shit, I failed. Nope, I got the “luck of the draw” and had to take the WHOLE THING! Honestly, I didn’t know but maybe 10 questions on the whole flippin test! I reckon I’m a good guesser! Cuz I PASSED!

       Once my license was issued, I started my career as a nurse. I work a lot! I am still at the same nursing home I worked at all through school. I give pills and I chart. I give pills and I chart. I give pills and I chart. Not so glorious after all huh? I miss the one on one of being a CNA. But then, when I have a patient’s family come and tell me how much they appreciate what I do for their family member, and to see the smile on my resident’s makes it all worth it. It’s a very stressful job, I get cussed, hit, and talked down to on a daily basis. A lot of family’s aren’t so nice. I take care of a minimum of 35 residents and a max of 44 a night. I’m just ME! I am ran ragged! But, they say it takes a “special person” to do what I do. I work with the elderly. Some of them, don’t even know they are in this world. Some of them know they are but just don’t care. Some of them have no respect for anyone. And then there are the ones that make my job worth coming to everyday....they smile every time they see me. I get told “I love you so much” a million times a night, I also get told that if it weren’t for me, they have no clue how they could survive.

          Being a nurse is hard work. Yes it’s not as physical as being a CNA, my job is mental.  But the rewards are well worth it. To look at a patient and KNOW without a doubt in your mind, “I saved their life” is a FANTASTIC feeling. I’m not settled yet though, I’m going to go back to school and get my degree as a RN. I want to be a trauma nurse. I can do it.

            Now before I finish this post, I have a request. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or hospital, please please please please please have respect for their nurse. Know that they do EVERYTHING in their power to make your family member as happy and comfortable as they possibly can. Our hands are tied. If the doctor hasn’t ordered something, there is nothing we can do about it. We would love to give your family everything in the world that they ask for, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. Know that if a person is a nurse, they do care. If they didn’t, trust me, they wouldn’t be in this line of work! You have to care to be a nurse!


Sorry for the long post, but I felt the need to write it!


Crickets Corner said...

As a person who has spent a lot of time in the hospital due to a rare birth defect I know first hand that the nurse is the one person who knows and cares about what is going on with you. You see the doctor maybe twice a day but your nurses are there 24/7. They know exactly what is going on with each of their patients and care about them even when their patient is only with them for a few days.

In my opinion a nurse is the most valuable member of the hospital/nursing home staff. I also believe they are the most under appreciated, under paid, overworked person on the medical team.

Thank you for sharing your story and thank you for becoming a nurse. It takes a very special person to become a nurse. I admire and appreciate your career choice and don't think I could have made it thru my hundreds of hospital visits if it weren't for my nurses. Know that even if you aren't told as often as you should be you are appreciated more than you will ever know.

Danielle Weiss-Raichel said...

That is a good post. It is night to know the person more from behind that screen ya know? I have been working with Alz/Dementia Residents for nearly 3 years now. I had been a MedTech-Passed pills and charted etc etc. and did some of the "CBW" stuff too. Then decided I wanted to change my job but, didn't want to leave my place of work. So, I now work in the activities department. Which, is also very rewarding. I am trying hard to go back to school-right now-the economy-not so good. But,reading your post gives me a little umph! so,thanks!

Jo said...

Bravo, Kelie! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story...i love your ambition. A BIG thank you to you and all the nurses out there...yes, we do love you soooo much!

lauraluvsloons said...

I admire your dedication and all your hard work to achieve your goals. Nurses are the best, the very background of our health system. Keep up the wonderful work:)

Judy B said...

Congratulations! My daughter is a trauma nurse. She was studying while working with paramedics and getting her EMT and paramedic license. Did it in 3 years. When applying for a trauma job, was told she would have to do floor work for 2 years. Ha ha, said the paramedic standing there, she used to help scrap them off the pavement and clean them up before you got them. Long story short, She is the head of a large well known trauma hospital. You can do it!

rush said...

best wishes on your next journey.

Beverly said...

Both my parents were in a nursing home. I admire you more than you'll every know. There were nurses like you there for my parents. I was so fortunate to have them in the same nursing home with wonderful nurses, CNAs, admin personnle. Overall it was a good experience. Thank you for what you do. I can tell you personally that you make a huge difference when you care for the people you tend to. It does take a special person and you sound like you definitely are special. It's been quite a while since both of my parents have passed on and you just brought back a lot of GOOD memories.