I am grateful for my career choice and the path that I travel to get where I am today. Nursing has been good to me. The doors in my life opened just right for me to be a nurse with a degree. It was a long road but well worth it.
I have always wanted to be a nurse. Of course I played nurse when I was a young girl. After I watched the movie, The Nun Story I wanted to be a Nun Nurse in Africa. My mother didn’t want me to be a nurse. She would tell me it is hard work that I would not like it and not to do it. I even thought of enlisting to be an Army Nurse, my Mom really didn’t like that idea at all. She was an Army Nurse during WWII. I did listen to her on that but I followed my heart and became a nurse. She never saw me graduate because she died before I graduated from high school. She was right it is hard work but it is honest and satisfying.
My high school principle told me I was and I quote, “too stupid to be a nurse, compassionate enough but too stupid.” Well I guess you can’t say that to me.
After high school I went to a vocational school and received my LPN. I went there because two different, three year hospital schools of nursing turned me down because my high school grades weren’t high enough. It looks like a closed door doesn’t it, but waits and watch it was just a detour to a better path. I graduated top of my class and as the Student of the Year for my class. I even went to the national nursing convention as the Student of the Year. Not stupid just a late bloomer.So I started with my pre-requisite classes and handed her straight A’s. Now here is the door marked entered. The year I went back they changed the sciences for nurses and respiratory therapist to Integrated Sciences. The same sciences classes but at a more practical level and user friendly level. Just perfect for me, I like science but those higher levels would have been very hard for me to complete. These more practical levels of classes allowed me to graduate with all A’s. So two and a half years after entering Broward Community College I passed my Florida State Board of Nursing Exam and became an RN. I had accomplished this while working as an LPN to support myself. Mostly I worked part time but I also worked as a private duty nurse taking care of one patient for eight hours and finishing my homework.
I worked for a couple years as a LPN. I was able to get an apartment with a friend and live my own life. I worked hard and even had an RN say to me once when are you going to become a Real Nurse. So I decided to attend the Community College to earn my ASN (Associated Degree in Nursing). During my interview with the Dean of Nursing when I applied to the School of Nursing, she was very dismissive. She didn’t think I had the high school grades to enter the program. I mentioned that I had done well in LPN school and her reply was, “That doesn’t count, vocational schools are only equivalent to a 11 grade education you have to give us a semester of college level work with a grade average of C.” Back in the days of A, B, C, D & F grades not grade point average. I guess she shouldn’t have said that to me either.
|Mary 1966 As LPN Student of the Year|
|Mary Feb 1971 RN Student|
After working as an RN for a while several of my co-workers decided to go on and get their BSNs (Bachelors of Science in Nursing) I started with them but I was the only one who finished. A new University had just opened and they were accepting all Community College credits across the board. The other university I thought of attending wanted me to retake all the nursing 101 courses over again. That was not a hard decision to make on which university I was going to go to. Two and a half years later I graduated with my BSN, and I had worked 24 to 32 hours a week during those years.
Many a day I felt like I was eating, drinking, sleeping and working nursing 24 hours a day. Between work, schoolwork and homework there was little time for anything else. But it was worth it.
|1979 Nursing Instructor|
· PICU = Pediatrics Intensive Care
· Clinical Instructor at a Community College for an LPN transitional program to RN (part time because I didn’t have a Master’s Degree)
· Home Health Care Nurse or Visiting Nurse, I went from home to home to visit patients after they are discharged from the hospital (this was a real fun job, I was the only American who spoke Spanish and I saw many Spanish speaking patients.)
· Oncology floor nurse
· Home Health IV team, I started and maintained IV’s at home to give antibiotics and chemotherapy
· Outpatient Chemotherapy nurse at private office groups, giving chemotherapy, supporting, educating and symptom management of chemo patients, I did this the longest, over twenty years
· Case Manager helped instruct patients over the phone on how to manage their chronic disease such as diabetes, Congestive Heart Failure for an insurance company
· Clinical Informatics train and support physicians and nurses on the Electronic Medical Record, my current job