Graduate Nurse Banding Ceremony

Febuary, 1977 – Senior in College of Nursing

It is hard to believe I am in my last quarter of nursing school before I graduate in March. This quarter my clinical site is the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at University Hospital. I truly thank God that everything I learned the past 4 years is finally coming together! I am receiving a good review of anatomy and physiology as I spend many long exhausting hours making my care plans for these complex patients. I go to bed at 1 a.m. after finishing the care plan, and arise at 5 a.m. in order to get to ICU ready for report at 7 a.m.

I have a very nice instructor, Miss B. She corrected me last week after I gave a medicine Intravenous (IV) push without her or my preceptor being present. Earlier in the quarter she told me to work as independently as possible, but I guess that does not apply to IV meds yet! Thankfully, no harm came to the patient.

At the third week, I became filled with anxiety that I would not make it through the quarter because it was so difficult. I pleaded with the brethren to pray for me and claimed Isaiah 40:29.

He giveth power to the faint; and to those who have no might He increaseth strength.

The Lord gave me victory and lifted the horrible depression and sense of defeat. From then on the quarter was fine.

The end of January, my class had our ceremony where we received our black velvet band to attach to our nursing cap. I thanked God for his mercy and grace to me these past four years as I pinned the band on my cap .  I know I only  arrived at this moment  with God’s help. My family traveled two hours so they could share this special time with me.

Approaching the podium to receive my band.

Approaching the podium to receive my band.

banding 2

Pinning on my new black velvet band.

banding 3

I almost feel like Cherry Ames with my black band!

Reflection

Nurses no longer wear caps in the clinical setting. It was optional to wear mine in the hospital where I first worked after graduating. I wore it very proudly at first, but as I bent over a patient to do his dressing change, it fell into the middle of my sterile field and I had to start over. I also knocked it off sometimes on the over-bed trapeze bar. There was no good way to clean it since it was made of stiff cardboard like material.

But there were some advantages in wearing it. I could easily identify which nursing school the person had attended. I still am fascinated when I look at old pictures of the wide variety of nursing caps! It also set us apart from the nursing assistants so the patient knew at once that I was a nurse when I entered the room. During a code for a patient emergency, it was easy to recognize who the nurse was because of the cap.

A variety of nursing caps!

A variety of nursing caps!

I still have my slightly yellowed cap tucked away in my bottom bureau drawer. Occasionally, I gaze at it fondly and recall that proud moment when I received my black band.

Christ is Risen!

Easter

I hope you have a blessed Easter worshiping our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ! This week, I will share the precious simple good news from the Bible and a few photos from my journey to Israel in 2013. It was truly the trip of a lifetime! If you ever have an opportunity to visit Israel, by all means go. (I felt safer there than anywhere else I have visited in the world.)

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve. After that, He was seen of above 500 brethren at once. ” I Corinthians 15:3-6

“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.” John 20:31

If you are unable to attend a good Bible church this Easter Sunday, I encourage you to go to http://www.ttb.org and listen to an Easter message by Dr. J. Vernon McGee.

Six day old donkey with shepherd.

Cross of Jesus

An empty tomb of a wealthy family from the time of Christ

Jerusalem Skyline

Rose of Sharon

Home Care in the Cemetery

Fall Quarter, 1976 – Senior in College of Nursing

I had a really wonderful quarter of working in Public Health with the County Board of Nursing. I was assigned to a family of ten Laotian refugees and a pregnant lady who needed prenatal care. The first visits were with my RN preceptor, and then I visited them weekly by myself the rest of the quarter.  The Laotian family had three generations who had escaped from the communist takeover in Laos and were sponsored by the Catholic Church. They were placed in the empty caretaker’s house at the rear of the large Catholic cemetery outside the city in the country.

Laotian Refugees coming off the boat in the 1970's

Laotian Refugees coming to the USA in the 1970’s

I had to visit them at night after the father came home from work since he was the only one who could speak some English. I have to admit, it was a little spooky to drive through the huge dark cemetery to their house which stood isolated in the woods. When I entered, they were all gathered around a large dinner table eating rice and vegetables. They appeared tired and looked at me suspiciously. I examined each one of them and took each one’s history using the father as interpreter. They all had parasites and were quite malnourished when they first arrived in the USA. The grandfather was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was being treated for it. At each visit, as they became more comfortable with me and their health improved, they became more relaxed and looked happier. I was never able to find out too much about their story due to the language barrier. I wish I could have shared the gospel with them, but none of them could read English.

Home care in the Cemetery at Night

Home care in the Cemetery
(photo by R. Spearrin-used with permission)

The Lord has laid a burden on my heart to minister to German speaking people in some way after I graduate. I asked the Army Nurse recruiter to come to my dorm room to explain what it was like to be an Army nurse as a way to go to Germany. But she said there were no guarantees as to where I would be stationed. If I was sent to Germany, I would have to live on base with the other nurses, and work rotating shifts in the base hospital. A Christian friend who is in the Air Force and stationed in Germany wrote a long letter to me discouraging me from joining the Army. So after praying about it, I decided not to join.

Then I heard about a scholarship to Germany where the University chooses one student a year to study abroad. I applied, but did not get an interview, so another door was closed. I’m learning to wait on the Lord! I was encouraged by Isaiah 30:18 – And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you; for the Lord is a God of justice; blessed (happy) are all they that WAIT for Him. 

Dear Lord, Help me to wait patiently upon You as to where You will have me to work when I graduate. I trust in You to provide a job and guide me to a place where I can be used by You. Amen.

I also took a German history course which was interesting and helped me to understand the culture better. For my third course, I decided to audit German Scientific Writings which was a good grammar review for me. Mr. G, the professor, was a hardened proud older man who made many sarcastic remarks about being “born again”. One morning I awoke at 5 a.m. thinking about him and knew I would not have any peace until I went and spoke with him about his soul. So after much prayer and reading in II Chronicles 20:15  that “the battle is not yours, but God’s, ” I went forth in fear and trembling to his office. I shared the gospel with him, and he then proceeded to rip apart the Bible and Jesus Christ verbally for the next 30 minutes. He gave me no opportunity to say anything else, but I had great peace when I left his office knowing that I had obeyed God. I leave the results with God who convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgement. Remembering how much the Apostle Paul hated Jesus Christ before he received him on the Damascus road encourages me. (see Acts 9)

It is rather a strange feeling to think that I only have one quarter remaining before I graduate and this part of my life will be completed forever.  Quite truthfully, I am not exactly looking forward to a 40 hour work week grind, but I know God will always provide for me and strengthen me.

Reflection

Home care was one of my favorite quarters in college. Twice in my career I have worked as a home care nurse which I will tell about later in my blog. I enjoyed the autonomy of home care nursing and getting to know the patient within the context of their family. The most difficult part was driving in all kinds of weather, dealing with safety,  traffic, and road rage.

After not speaking German for many years, I met a delightful German couple at church. The wife is also a nurse about my age and learning English. I went to http://www.Duolingo.com to brush up on my German, and was happy to recall it fairly quickly. Duolingo is a wonderful free web site to learn over 17 languages. They say learning a foreign language is good to prevent memory loss, so enjoy! Auf wiedersehen!