Float Nurse – 1980-1981- Midwest, USA
I handed in my resignation as Diabetes Nurse Educator because the head nurse micromanaged my every move. I also became bored with teaching the same thing in class every week and started feeling like a robot. Needing a new challenge, I decided to work as a float nurse through a temporary nursing agency so I would 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, mostly on the evening or night shifts. Each situation tests my flexibility and ability to quickly assess patients, 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 a nice change of pace to stay in one room the entire shift and 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.”
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 thanked 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 three 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 in oncology (cancer treatment). I learned much about oncology nursing, but the lack of staff made it 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 busy, so I will enjoy learning a totally different area of nursing. When I called the Director of Maternity, 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.”
This busy L&D unit delivers 4000 babies annually, the size of a small town. They are also a referral center for high-risk deliveries. They have four new birthing rooms where the mother labors, delivers, and recovers in the same room. They also have six traditional labor rooms, four operating rooms, and a recovery room. There seems to be good staff morale and almost no turnover among the nurses. Some have been there for over 20 years. Five RN’s work on the night shift with an average of three deliveries each night, ranging from 0-11 babies born in one shift. I am required to work every other weekend, so I 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 shine as a bright light to the many new parents. With delight, I 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, orientation start date and appointment 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.
And so began my time in labor and delivery. I enjoyed my two years there but found it physically challenging. We went 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.