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!
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.