Dr. T., my manager, called me into his office. “Pam, I’m afraid I have some bad news for all of us. The parent hospital has decided to close this campus in the next few months because they are losing so much money here. Next month, they will decrease us to twenty hours per week. They have offered us positions at the parent hospital on the psychiatric unit, but we will need to be on call at night and on weekends. Let me know what you decide to do. I think I’ll be looking for another job closer to my home.”
This news took me by surprise. I knew the hospital was struggling, but I didn’t know the extent of it. Three years ago, I built my dream house because Dr. T. told me my job was totally secure. I enjoy my new home close to church and work, perfect for hosting guests. But I will not be able to pay my monthly bills on half my salary. I think this is a good time to leave psychiatry since I don’t want to work weekends and night shifts again.
When I arrived home, I opened my Bible and asked God to show me the next step and to provide for me. Certainly, God, who created the universe, could supply my every need. This was my time to trust Him and see His provision.
God calmed my heart as I read Matthew 6:25-34, “Therefore, I say unto you, Be NOT anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than food and the body than raiment?… For your heavenly Father knows that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Be, therefore, NOT anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow will be anxious for the things of itself.” (KJV)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the PEACE of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus… But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7, 19
Dear Lord, You know all about this situation and my finances. Show me the next step. I’m trusting You to provide for my every need. Use me for Your glory and honor. In Christ’s Name, Amen.
Since I desire to mentor young nurses again in some way, I applied to teach at a Christian college 1000 miles away. I visited the campus for ten days and observed the classes, spoke with the nursing professors, and met with the Dean. I also attended several churches and looked at a few houses for sale. The Dean said they would love to have me join the faculty.
I returned home and asked God to show me His will. If I took the position, I would not have time to keep working as a Nurse Practitioner and would eventually lose my NP license. Because it took me so many years to become a Nurse Practitioner, the Lord did not give me peace about giving it up. I wrote the Dean and declined their offer.
I applied to a home care agency and was hired as an RN to do psychiatric home visits after I finished my four hours daily at the psychiatric hospital. I drove to the worst parts of the city, entered smoke-filled apartments with blaring TV, assessed the patient, and filled his locked med box for the week. Some of the patients are quite unstable mentally, so I asked God for protection as I quickly worked. The agency said I could leave a patient’s home at any time if I did not feel safe. I always positioned myself between the patient and the door and kept my cell phone in my pocket. How I thanked the Lord daily for His protection. I continued to look for a full-time job as I knew this was not the right job for me long term, but I thanked God for this interim provision.
I interviewed for a job as a Nurse Practitioner to run the employee clinic of a large insurance company. The manager grilled me on how I would handle emergency situations. She said I answered all the emergency questions correctly and offered me the job. The pay is more than I made at the psychiatric hospital, but I’m hesitant about the 45-minute commute and need to leave my house daily at 6:30 a.m. to arrive on time. But since this is the only NP position God has opened, I accepted the offer.
I was trained at the downtown office by an experienced NP and then was sent to the suburbs to run a busy clinic alone for 4000 employees. I have a receptionist, but no medical assistant to help me with vital signs or electrocardiograms (ECGs). The supervising MD comes to the office once a week to review my notes. He is also available by phone whenever I have an emergency.
I am amazed at all I am expected to do. For every new employee, I do an ergonomic assessment of their desk, chair, phone, and computer to make sure it is in proper alignment for them to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive use injuries. Most of the employees work in a cubicle and are on the computer and phone for eight hours daily. We also hold health fairs for them periodically to check their blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose.
During the daily clinics, I sometimes have a line of 15 employees out the door waiting to see me. They come to work ill because they don’t want to use any of their sick time or waste time going to their own doctor. If a Vice President comes in, they get to go to the front of the line. In the four months that I have been here, I have had to call the ambulance about a dozen times for emergencies ranging from chest pain and asthma attacks to hemorrhaging.
I also draw routine labs for patients who bring a prescription from their regular doctor, give vaccinations, and run and interpret ECGs. Since I did not need to read ECGs in my other job, sometimes I need to fax them to my supervising MD to have him confirm the interpretation. But if I don’t have time and it is an emergency, I call the ambulance. “When in doubt, send them out” is what my boss told me.
Every morning I ask the Lord for wisdom in every decision and a quiet heart in the midst of whatever emergency situation walks through the door. I don’t enjoy the stress of this job. I have never worked in the emergency department or intensive care unit.
How I thank God for carrying me through that challenging period of job changes and providing so wonderfully for me. Little did I know that an even more difficult trial lay ahead of me where I learned to trust Him in the midst of utter weakness.