Do I have anything to say that’s worth saying? Or what’s this blog about? An introduction.

Posted in Introduction at 12:00 pm by admin

For several years I have written poetry with a few short stories thrown in for good measure. Whether any of it is any good, I leave for the reader to decide. As I mentioned on my About page, I am a nurse, both a licensed practical nurse and a registered nurse. I entered the field of nursing by enrolling in a new experimental nursing program offered by the local community college in 1976. I had no idea how experimental it was, but I’ll get to that soon.

There were two local hospitals in the county that offered training in nursing, one was a one year practical nursing program and the other a three year diploma registered nursing program until 1975 when both hospitals closed their programs. The “county powers that be” determined that the region could not afford this shortage. Already the nursing shortage was being felt. It was left to the local community college to come up with the answer. This was their answer. One hundred students would be admitted into the same program the first year. At the conclusion of the second semester, the “top” fifty-five students would move into the RN track which would pick up in the fall, and the “bottom” forty-five students would continue on for another summer semester in the LPN track. We, the students, were told that the greatest emphasis of this decision, as long as the academic criteria for the RN track were met, was the detail and complexity of the care plans each student turned in on a weekly basis.

Now, the care plans were a preprinted form one-half the width of an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper that was mimeographed, yes, I said mimeographed (look that word up if you were born after 1978 or so) and given to the students. After the first week, my care plans were three to five pages typed in length. I spent hours on them and received high praise from my instructors on the quality of my research. Well, lo and behold, on the day the students were assigned a track, I was selected for the LPN track. At that meeting, all the students were informed that the selection decision was made solely on academic achievement. I and four of my fellow students were not told until well into the summer semester that we had qualified for the RN track. Nor were any of the LPN students (by that time there were twenty-five of us left due to overall attrition) told that five students selected for the RN track had dropped out over the summer until after we sat for our final exams the last week of August. By that time, after three straight semesters, I needed a break. I found a job at a local hospital as a practical nurse and worked there for one year on a medical-surgical floor.

After my first year of employment, I was eligible for 100% tuition reimbursement by my employer for up to three courses a semester, including supplies. Nursing courses average nine to eleven credits. They are intense on both an academic and a clinical level. For the next two years, I worked full-time as an LPN in the evening in the ICU and went to school during the day. I graduated in the spring of 1980 from the RN program and passed my three day state boards a few months later. After five years, I returned to college with the intention of receiving my baccalaureate degree in nursing. After the first semester, I realized I could not conform to the role of student nurse again. My instructors wanted their students, who were already working in the field, to forget all they knew and return to the role of subordinate student. Fortunately, today this is not the case. I interviewed with the dean of the Business program and transferred to the Health Care Administration program. For the next five years, I attended one evening class a semester and graduated cum laude.

I worked in different areas of the nursing profession for the same hospital for twenty-eight years providing direct patient care while also administering a diagnostic department for twenty of those years. During that time, I also held a part-time position at another local hospital in the Emergency Department. Several years ago, I felt I had reached a point where there was nothing more I had to offer. I had fought the good fight in an attempt to provide my patients with the best possible care I could, but there was a force much greater than myself that blocked my attempts at each turn. That force was called business. Health Care in the United States is a business, a big business, and just like every other business, the almighty dollar is the bottom line. There were too many cuts being made in budgets which trickled down to services, staffing, salary, and benefits. It was the old story of doing more with less. There’s a saying:

“We the willing
led by the unknowing
are doing the impossible
for the ungrateful
and we have done so much
for so long with so little
we are now qualified
to do anything with nothing.”

I had reached my limit of doing anything with nothing, and I was in a deficit physically, mentally, and spiritually, so I decided to make a change. I decided to start writing again. After thirty or so years of writing nurses notes, business plans, employee evaluations, and requests for equipment and supplies, I returned to poetry and stories, a love I discovered in high-school. I also work part-time and earn enough money to cover my bills.

We’ll see where all of this leads.


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