In Everything Give Thanks

One Year Blog Anniversary!

Dear Readers,

It’s hard to believe that I began this blog one year ago this month! After I attended a Christian Writer’s Retreat in October, 2013, I asked the Lord to show me how I could minister to my fellow Christian nurses. The blog workshop opened to me the new world of blogging! This seemed the best format for me since I still work full time, and do not have time to write an entire book.

After returning home, I searched the internet for other nursing blogs and couldn’t find anything quite like what I had in mind.  I desired to record and reflect on my decades of experience in a variety of specialties as an American Christian nurse. Several dear brethren from my church stopped by my house to give me a personal tutorial on the nuts and bolts of maneuvering on the Word Press site, and I was off!

And so I began writing. I had no idea if anyone would ever read my blog, but I began to tell my friends about it, and asked them to tell others. I contacted three Christian Schools of Nursing here in the USA, but had little response. But I kept writing and committing it to the Lord while asking Him to use it for His glory and honor.

I want to thank each of you who have read my blog this past year, and for your words of encouragement to me at just the time I needed it. Several times I asked the Lord to show me if I should continue writing it, and invariably some stranger would email me and tell me they were blessed by what I wrote. So thank you to those of you who have written me in the past year!

I also thought you would find the blog statistics interesting. I have now had over 1600 visitors from 69 countries! The most frequent visitors come from the following countries: USA, Brazil, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Philippines, Italy, Columbia, Germany, and Mexico. What truly amazes me is that I know none of you outside the USA! I would love to have you introduce yourself to me at Pamela.aprn@gmail.com 

I would also be interested in knowing if you are a nurse, thinking of becoming a nurse, or just find it interesting to read about a nurse’s life?

Here in the USA, we will celebrate my favorite holiday on Thursday, Thanksgiving. You can read my Thanksgiving blog from last year if you are unfamiliar with this American holiday. But it reminds me of one of my favorite Bible verses.

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I Thessalonians 5:18

As my Pastor says, “Do you want to know God’s will for your life? Start with giving thanks, for clearly this is the will of God for each of us!” I’ve also noticed that when I start thanking God when I am in a very difficult situation, He turns it into a blessing as only He can do!

So Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thanksgiving Pumpkin

Thanksgiving Pumpkin

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Rejections and Offers

Float Nurse – 1980-1981- Midwest, USA

I handed in my resignation as Diabetes Nurse Educator because the head nurse was micromanaging my every move. I also became very bored with teaching the same thing in class every week and started feeling like a robot. I feel like I need a new challenge so have decided to work as a float nurse through a temporary nursing agency so I will have a flexible schedule and be available for job interviews. I just applied for a traveling job as a Diabetes Education Consultant for a large company that manufactures insulin syringes. Sadly, they moved the position to another state, so I was not offered it.

I’m enjoying floating at three other hospitals in the city so far, mostly on evening or night shift. It really tests my flexibility and ability to quickly assess patients  who are new to me every shift. One of the biggest challenges is finding where things are located. Each hospital gave me a very brief orientation. So far, there has also been a nurse on my shift who works on the unit permanently who is able to answer my questions. I even did a few shifts of private duty nursing for a wealthy lady. It was certainly different staying in one room the entire shift, and being able to read in between attending to her needs and requests.

I applied for a nurse practitioner position at the Veterans’ Clinic and a research lab, but received rejection letters from them also. The VA letter stated, “Your application was carefully considered, along with those of other interested candidates. Another candidate, however, was selected. We appreciate the opportunity of reviewing your qualifications. Your application is being retained for consideration for future vacancies.”

The rejection is hard to take, but then I remembered how my dear Savior, Jesus Christ, has been rejected by so many, even His own Jewish people.

“He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” John 1:11″

I asked Him to comfort me and thank Him that I am “accepted in the Beloved; In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:6-7.

After the temporary nurse agency only gave me 3 shifts per week, I decided to return to the float pool of the first hospital where I worked. Eventually I took a permanent full time night shift position on oncology.  I learned so much about oncology nursing, but it was so short staffed that it was very dangerous. Some nights I was the only RN for 32 patients with one nursing assistant. I had to mix chemotherapy for 17 patients at the beginning of the shift and manage all their infusions alone. They also admitted a young burn patient to the unit, so I had to do his dressings in the middle of the night with the assistance of the nursing assistant using sterile technique. While we were both in his room attending to him for an entire hour, neither of us could answer the call lights of the other 31 patients or monitor the infusions of chemotherapy. I asked the supervisor in writing for more staff to no avail. I went home in tears every morning, and finally couldn’t take it anymore, so I left the hospital. This was the darkest period of my entire nursing career, and I felt like a total failure.

But I asked the Lord for another job and in one week, I had five interviews and five job offers! I could hardly believe it after so many rejection letters! The five offers were for a sleep lab nurse, visiting nurse for a cancer clinic, night supervisor at a nursing home, camp nurse, and labor & delivery nurse. After praying about it, I chose the labor & delivery position. My obstetrics rotation in school was not very busy, so I think it will be enjoyable to learn a totally different area of nursing! When I called the Director of Maternity who is a former Army nurse, she said, “Good! I’m glad you don’t have any obstetrics experience so you won’t have any bad habits to break. We can train you the right way!”

It is a very busy L&D unit with 4000 deliveries annually! That is the size of a small town. They are also a referral center for high risk deliveries. They have 4 new birthing rooms where the mother labors, delivers, and recovers in the same room which is a new concept. They also have 6 traditional labor rooms, 4 operating rooms, and a recovery room. There seems to be good staff morale and almost no turnover among the nurses. Some have been there over 20 years! There are 5 RN’s on night shift with an average of 3 deliveries each night, ranging from 0-11 babies born in one shift. I will have to work every other weekend, so will have to miss morning worship. The Lord seemed to confirm this job to me when I read about the midwives in Egypt who preserved the baby boys even after Pharaoh told them to kill them.

“Therefore God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied and became very mighty. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that He gave them families.” Exodus 1:20-21

I pray I will walk in godly fear at this new hospital and shine as a bright light to the many new parents.

I was delighted to read my letter from the hospital!

“Dear Pamela, We are pleased to welcome you to the nursing staff of R… Hospital.” It went on to state my salary and orientation start date and date for my physical examination prior to employment. The nurse recruiter concluded, “Please confirm your acceptance of this position by initialing the carbon copy of this letter and returning it in the enclosed envelope.”

Thank You, dear Lord, for your wonderful provision of this new job!

Labor and Delivery Nurse!

Labor and Delivery Nurse!

Reflection – 2014

And so began my time in labor and delivery. I will share more about my orientation and some of my patients in future posts. I enjoyed my two years there and found it very challenging. It could go from total quiet to bedlam in a split second! I learned in this job how to keep a quiet heart in the midst of life and death emergencies as we fought for the life of a newborn baby and sometimes the life of the mother.

Volunteer Camp Nurse

Midwest, USA – July, 1980

The various Bible churches in the state have joined together to have a Bible camp for one week for children who attend Bible Clubs and teen Bible classes ages 8-18 years old. We rent a state park that has a group campground with a large lodge with dining hall and kitchen, clinic cabin, and 32 cabins which each hold 8 children and one counselor. It is set among the green hills in a beautiful rural setting and has a lake for swimming.

We split the children into two separate camps. Junior camp is for ages 8-12, and senior camp is for ages 13-18. All the speakers, counselors, kitchen staff, and nurse volunteer for the week. It is very exhausting and hot and humid this time of year, but it is worth it all when we see children receive Christ as their personal Savior and others yield their life to the Lord. My sister, Linda, tried to be the speaker and camp nurse last year, but it was too much for one person. Often the nurse gets awakened at night. So I volunteered to be the nurse this year rather than a counselor as I was last year.

Lake where I was lifeguard and nurse at Bible Camp.

Lake where I was lifeguard and nurse at Bible Camp.

I began to prepare by reading through the manual for camp nurses from the American Camp Association. We copied their health information sheet to hand out to the campers to have their parents complete and give us on the first day of camp. I also replenished our first aid supplies from the previous year, made copies of the medication administration sheets, and read all the treatments for the most common injuries that were likely to occur. I prayed that God would give me wisdom in handling every situation. I was so glad Linda would be on the grounds as a backup consultant! She has years of experience with pediatric nursing, whereas I have none other than my experience in nursing school.

The children all arrived with their parents Sunday afternoon. I sat at the registration desk with the camp directors and reviewed each health information form with the child’s parents. I collected all the prescription medications and marked on my record the child’s name, medicine, time, and dose so I could bring it to him in the dining hall at mealtimes. Only two children had asthma with inhalers. We gave their rescue inhaler to their counselor so they would have it in the cabin at night in case they had an asthma attack. All the cabins were at the top of very long hills, so it would be too long a hike at night to the nurse’s cabin in the valley near the lodge.

I knew from experience that none of the campers or counselors would get much sleep Sunday night because of their excitement and the occasional mice and bats that invariably came in the cabins after dark! The rest of the week, they would sleep well  from sheer exhaustion despite the critters. Monday we all began to settle into the routine of wake-up , personal devotions and Bible memorization, breakfast when I administered the majority of the scheduled medications, cabin clean-up, Bible lesson,  swimming, lunch, rest period, group games, crafts, dinner, and evening Bible lesson and group activity.

The most common complaint was homesickness, especially among the 8 year-olds who would complain of a “stomach ache” if they couldn’t quite admit they were homesick. I prayed with them and encouraged them to keep busy so the time would pass quickly. Sometimes it worked, but sometimes it didn’t. Occasionally, the camp director had to call  parents who chose to pick up their child and take them home.

One of the campers, Becky, stumbled over a log and fell on her arm. Her counselor brought her to the clinic and I cleaned her abrasion and applied a dressing. Her wrist was bruised, swelling, and very painful when she tried to move it. I suspected a fracture, so the camp director called her parents while I applied a splint and sling. The director drove her to the closest emergency room 45 minutes away where her parents met them. Sadly, it was broken, so Becky went home after getting her cast put on.

Other things I treated were bee stings, splinters, abrasions, headaches, and upset stomach. It was exhausting as I felt like I was on call the entire week with no down time. But overall, I enjoyed it and was thankful for the opportunity to serve the campers so they could hear the Bible and learn about the Lord Jesus Christ!

But Jesus said, Permit little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 19:14

My fun duty was to be cabin inspector along with one of the cooks. After the morning Bible lesson, we would announce each cabin’s score from 1 (filthy) to 10 (sparkling clean). The kids were very competitive and began making elegant signs by the end of the week to welcome us to their cabin! On Friday, the cabin with the highest score for the week was presented a beautiful cake at lunchtime. I also enjoyed being the camp lifeguard during the swimming sessions.

As the week progressed, the Bible lessons began to sink into their hearts and several received Christ as their personal Savior. On Thursday night, they had a group campfire which was very moving and quite a few more received Christ, including Amanda, one of the teens from the Bible class I taught! Friday night, the campers’ parents arrived for the closing program. The speaker had a clear gospel message followed by a fun time where each cabin did a funny skit. We all laughed so hard that we were in tears!

Reflection – 2014

I am thankful I had the opportunity to be a camp nurse where many children received Christ as their personal Savior over the years. About ten years ago, when I was between jobs as a nurse practitioner, I interviewed to be a camp nurse for the entire summer.  But somehow, in my middle-age years, I decided it didn’t sound quite so appealing nor did I have the energy to do it.

In doing some online searching, I came across an excellent book called The Basics of Camp Nursing by Linda Erceg and Myra Pravda. I also found some excellent tips on how parents can prepare their children for camp and prevent homesickness. http://www.acacamps.org/media-center/how-to-choose/homesickness