Thursday, April 26, 2007


When I was but a young girl, I would spend many happy hours by my lonesome digging in our county ditches for BONES. My greatest excitement would be to find a skeleton, clean it, and re-assemble it... and sometimes, when I'd find a fresh one, I would leave it in a safe place until it was decomposed enough to clean and re-articulate. How cool is that?
I remember being soooo excited when I discovered that a colt had died and been left down the road-- I couldn't wait to "excavate" the skeleton when it was ready... and it was absolutely worth the wait.
I was the only kid I knew with an extensive skeleton collection, a light touch for dissection, and a full knowledge of mummification technique (note to self: sharing mummification technique for show and tell is NOT a crowd pleaser amongst your 12 year old peers). Sara Bisel, the Bone Lady, was my childhood hero: combine that with a burning love of learning and scary high SAT scores and you have a really promising future as a forensic anthropologist.
... and so I guess it's not too difficult to imagine the leap to becoming a nurse, in a mundane, path of least resistance sort of way.

I'm trying to remember if I chose way back when to be a mom over becoming a field researcher, or if I just fell naturally into the role by the tricks of biology alone. I think I knew in my bones that it would have been impossible to travel as extensively for my work as I needed to, that the world hadn't changed enough to accomodate my potential lifestyle without much pain and struggle. Did I just innately know that having a family was pain and struggle enough? But that no matter how dull or painful, it was somehow worth it to live a life in the suburbs-- surrounded by people who have nary a skeleton (literal, not figurative) to be found, in the closet or otherwise?

And has it been worth it? Choosing family over career?
I guess so.
In the grand scheme of biology, I only have a short while to establish a family, nuture it properly, and grow them to healthy maturity. But I have many years to establish a rewarding career, n'est pas?

I am grateful to the field of Nursing, for putting up with my indecisiveness, my restlessness; and I can truly say I've enjoyed the life experience-- working with people from all walks of life has been fascinating; meeting the challenge of a new job every 3 months has been exhilerating (sometimes). I can really appreciate having a flexible schedule, working around the chaos of our family, learning about my limitations (sore backs included). But do I want to be a nurse into my retirement years? Do I ever want to retire? Uh..... no.
On both counts.

I learned today that the job I've been waiting for now since the beginning of February will apparently NOT be posted, after all. WoW! It's been a longer and stranger trip waiting for the higher up folks to figure out what they're doing than the Dead tour, only not nearly as muddy. But what a mess...
I guess I could claim that I heard the news (gossip) from my co-workers, and not from the boss' mouth, but I'm still not 100% sure about the 10 hour shifts anyway and I should perhaps take it as a sign that it wasn't meant to be. Nice people up there, tho. Working casual is probably the way to go... good thing I have a Plan B.

For a while I thought about going all the way in this career, getting my master's/PhD and teaching and working as a nurse practitioner/nurse midwife, but I think the struggle women face even still in today's society is even more rampant in woman-oriented occupations, and again, I just don't want to make my life's legacy one of a contant battle just to do my damn job. Plus, nursing? Ehhhhhh....

I came to this occupation by default, after finding myself broke, pregnant, and alone (that biology is a bugger, it is. I had such a hankering to have a baby that I chose the LEAST qualified candidate I'd probably ever met at that point in my life. Tricks! Tricks of biology! I think at that point in my life I just wanted to do it ALONE. If for no other reason that just to see if I could.)

Science? Check! Convenient scheduling to meet the needs of a single parent? Check! High demand occupation? Check! Easily obtained degree (with preliminary dissection of cats)? Check! Poking people with needles and getting paid to do it? Check!
So nursing it was... and in spite of having a baby, all on my own with no one to help me, I still graduated first in my class with a 4.0 average. (Nobody gives a rip about your GPA in nursing, so I have to brag a little..)
And that was that.

Now, on the eve of my 10 year "anniversary" of my graduation from nursing school, I'm still having a great time canoodling about the profession, finding my path and enjoying the ride.

To date, these are the things I have done as a nurse, in chronological order:
Postpartum floor nurse (where I lost my mojo-- long story)
Childbirth educator for All Saints
Nurse/nutrition education at WIC
Childbirth educator for Aurora
Adjunct instructor at Gateway Tech in LPN program
*Camp nurse
Public health nurse (where I lost my mind)
*Nursing Lab staff at GTC
Senior resource coordinator (briefly)
*Walk In nurse specialist
*Pre-op admissions
*DTC/Infusion/Neuro nurse
*GI nurse
Hey! That's a lot in 10 years! (*= things I still do)
So, let's raise a glass to nursing-- the very best, completely unintended occupation that has kept me and the kids in clothes, food, and recreation for 10 years. May I be as entertained in the next 10 years, as I grow into understanding of where my wanderings are leading me.

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