Diapers and Mops – Night Shift Nursing Assistant

June, 1973 – Midwest, USA

Pam and Linda graduated the same day and time!

Pam and Marsha graduated the same day and time!

My sister, Marsha, graduated from nursing school and I graduated from high school on exactly the same day and time! Since I didn’t want to split up the family, I volunteered to skip my high school graduation. Marsha let me wear her white high school mortarboard and gown for the photos our dad took of us. She looked beautiful in her white cap and nurse’s dress uniform walking down the aisle of the hospital auditorium with her 50 classmates.

We both were hired to work at a nursing home in the country a few miles from our home. Marsha will be the evening charge nurse, and I will work night shift as a nursing assistant. There is no nurse there at night for the 50 patients since none of them need to be given medicine at night. There will be one other nursing assistant with me. It sounds a little scary, but I have to start somewhere! I will work ten nights straight for $1.25 per hour and then have four days off. I can hardly believe I will make $50 each week! I have never had that much money before.

 

First Night Shift – 11 p.m.

“Pam, they asked me to orient you tonight, so this is what we do,” said Vera, a middle aged plump lady who had a heavy southern accent. “First we wrap 50 sets of silverware in paper napkins for breakfast for all the patients. Then we make the first diaper rounds which we do every two hours. It’s easier if we make rounds together to help turn them. Then we each give four bed baths to the ones who don’t know the difference between night and day. Then we make diaper rounds again followed by a 30 minute lunch break. We’re allowed to eat anything we want in the refrigerator!”

Mopping the Lounge!

Mopping the Lounge!

“After lunch, we each mop one of the patient lounges and straighten them up. Then we do diaper rounds again. At 5 a.m. we fill each patient’s water pitcher with fresh ice water. Then we give report to day shift and go home!”

So I began to do exactly as Vera showed me. I have never changed a baby’s diaper much less an adult! Our first patient, Sam, was difficult to roll to one side because he was so stiff from advanced Parkinson’s disease. He could no longer talk, but just stared at us with his big sad brown eyes. I held him on his side while Vera washed him and put a clean diaper on him. We collected the soiled cloth diaper in a special bag for the laundry company that would pick them up tomorrow.

I never gave a bed bath before either. Vera told me to take off his top sheet and gown, wash his face, then go down one side of his body and up the other side with the washcloth, rinse, dry him off and put on a new gown and top sheet. I felt sorry for Sam as he shivered.

I was so exhausted when I walked out the door into the morning sun and fresh air. I climbed on my bicycle and wearily pedaled five miles home up and down hills past corn fields glistening with dew. I rode up our gravel driveway, said hello to Mom, ate breakfast, and went outside to our quiet travel trailer to try and sleep for eight hours. I hoped I wouldn’t hear the rest of the family this way. “Thank You, dear Lord, for carrying me through this first night shift in the nursing home. Please give me deep sleep now. Amen.” I fell into bed after being awake 24 hours.

Reflection

When I started nursing school a year later, the professor demonstrated the correct way to give a bed bath. She showed us how you uncover only one part of the body at a time to prevent shivering and preserve as much of the patient’s modesty as possible. Staff development was definitely lacking at the small unskilled nursing home! But being a nursing assistant was a great introduction to the nursing profession. It was a difficult job physically, so it forced any romantic notions I had about nursing right out of my head. After I graduated and began supervising nursing assistants, it gave me great compassion for all the hard work they did for low wages. I always tried to pitch in and help them after finishing my work which also helped foster teamwork.

During the 1980’s, I worked in a 1000 bed hospital in staff development. We asked the nurse managers to complete a survey about how their new graduate nurses were functioning after one year of employment. The BSN graduates who worked summers as nursing assistants were rated the highest by far. So I thank God for faithfully guiding me right from the beginning of my career!

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye.” Psalm 32:8

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Which Nursing School????

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

March, 1973, Midwest, USA – High School Senior

Ever since last year when the Lord gave me peace about becoming a nurse, I have struggled in deciding which nursing school to attend. I visited two small Christian colleges here in the Midwest that I really liked, but neither has a nursing program. So I would have to earn a bachelor’s degree in some other major and then continue on to get a two year associate degree in nursing. Six years total sounds way too long to be in school! I wanted to attend a  Christian college in the south where I could major in missionary nursing, but my parents do not want me to go there, so they refused to sign the admission form. It was heartbreaking, but I know God closed the door for a reason.

Where Should I Go?

Where Should I Go?

I left the Protestant Church where I was raised because the Bible was not taught verse-by-verse and I wasn’t growing in knowing the Lord better. My sister also left, which broke our parents’ hearts, especially Mom. We became members of a Bible church led by the Pastor who Marsha met at the University her freshman year. A group of students from another University drive an hour every Sunday to attend. The pastor teaches a weekly Bible class on this University campus which is really growing!

They have a good nursing school at this University, so I decided to apply there as well as a three year hospital diploma nursing school in the same city. I have my interview tomorrow at the diploma school and will tour the University while I am in the city. The diploma students work many more clinical hours in the hospital than the University students, but it is more difficult for them to obtain nursing leadership positions after graduation.

The next day I nervously entered the office of the Director of Admissions at the diploma hospital school of nursing. Mrs. L. greeted me warmly and gave me a tour of the nursing skills lab, classrooms, and dormitory. Afterward we sat down in her office and she asked, “So tell me why you would like to become a nurse?”  I replied, “I like science and I would like to help sick people get better. I enjoy learning new things, and I think it would be fascinating to learn all about the human body and how it works.”  She asked if I had applied to other schools, and I told her I was also considering the State University in the city here.

She advised, “After reviewing your high grade point average and ACT/SAT scores, I think you should go to the University Bachelor of Science (BSN) program rather than our diploma program. Our program will probably be closing in the next few years, and I think you have real potential to go into management or research in nursing. You could then earn your master’s degree or even a doctorate degree in nursing!” I thought to myself, I am amazed that she thinks I have real potential to go so far in my nursing career! I would be satisfied to be a regular staff nurse, work a few years, marry a godly Christian man, quit work, have children, and be a stay-at-home Mom like my mother did. I thanked her for her time and drove across the city to tour the State University.

I joined the walking tour led by a student. This campus has 55,000 students, which is as many people as my entire city where I grew up! It has over ten libraries, 30 dormitories, and countless classroom buildings. The 1000 bed University Hospital is one block from the School of Nursing, so that would be convenient for clinical days. Despite all the buildings, it has green space and many beautiful trees, so it doesn’t appear to be a concrete jungle. After living in the country my entire life, I hope I can adjust to living in a huge city.

State University

State University

When I returned home, I asked the Lord to make it clear to me which school I should attend, and He gave me perfect peace that He wanted me to attend the University. I  was accepted, and am so excited to start in the fall! It will be so wonderful to have fellowship with the other Christian students in the Bible class, and give the gospel to American students as well as the the international students who attend from all over the world. In addition to the prerequisites for nursing, I’m looking forward to taking electives in a wide variety of areas since they offer so many majors.  The class catalog is fascinating to read.  I also hope to become very fit from walking all over the huge campus to my classes!

Reflection

The director of the diploma nursing program gave me excellent advice in steering me toward the BSN program at the University. As she predicted, the diploma school closed a few years later.When I was 39 years old, I returned to graduate school to become a nurse practitioner. I was thankful to receive my Master’s of Science in Nursing after four grueling years of working full time and going to school part time.

In God’s great sovereignty, He never gave me a husband or children. Little did I realize when I was in high school that I would have a 40 year full time nursing career, but God knew all along!

One of my favorite hymns is:
Tis’ so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His word,
Just to rest upon His promise, Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more.
-by Louisa M.R. Stead

The Diary of a Young Girl

Midwest, USA – April 2, 1969 – 13 years old


My journals since 1969!

My journals since 1969.

Dear Angie,

As you can see by the cover, this is supposed to be an autograph album, but I am going to use it as a diary. Friday, President Eisenhower died at the age of 78, so on Monday we missed school in honor of mourning.

Yesterday was April Fool. Only one more day till Easter vacation! Just a little while ago I was outside in the yard practicing my tennis serve.

Reflection

“And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee.” Deuteronomy 8:2

This was my first entry after reading The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank who was a 13 year old Jewish girl in Holland during World War II. Because Hitler, the German dictator, hated all the Jewish people, he had his soldiers corral them in cattle cars and send them to horrible concentration camps.  While there, over six million Jews were exterminated in the gas chambers or died of disease. In 1942, Anne’s family went into hiding in an attic to try to escape the camps. Because she was so lonely, she wrote in her diary to her imaginary friend named “Kitty”.

June 12, 1942

Dearest Kitty,

             I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.

Sadly, they were discovered and arrested August 4, 1944, and were sent to the concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen, near Hanover, Germany. The typhus epidemic swept through the camp as the result of horrendous hygienic conditions and claimed Anne’s life and that of her sister in early March, 1945 shortly before the camp was liberated by the British on April 12, 1945. Only Anne’s father, Otto, survived the camps. When he returned to the attic, he was given Anne’s diaries which two secretaries in the building had stored safely after finding them scattered all over the floor. After long deliberation, he decided to fulfill his daughter’s wish and publish her diary.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

I was so moved after reading Anne’s diary, that I decided to keep a journal which I have continued to the present time. However, I no longer write to my imaginary friend who I named Angie:) I never wrote in my journal daily, but wrote summaries of life events periodically. Sometimes I record a Bible verse that has been a special blessing to me or helpful quotes from books I read. I love to reread my journals from time to time and go down memory lane. Many times I exhort myself to walk closer to the Lord and seek Him more! I encourage you to consider recording your own lessons from the Lord as you travel the path of life. Because of these journals, I am able to write this blog which I pray God will use to bless and encourage you.

God blessed me this morning with verses in Deuteronomy 33: 25, 27:

“…as thy days, so shall thy strength be. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.”

As I continue in this year of Spanish language school, it is so good to know that God is my strength and is carrying me. Only He knows how many days any of us have remaining here on earth. I desire to be used by God for His glory and honor and be an empty vessel in His hands.

Please share a Bible verse with us in the comments section that God has used recently to bless you!

Oceanographer or Nurse???

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:10

March, 1971 – High School Junior – Midwest, USA

I thank the Lord that He has now given me peace and a purpose in life: to walk worthy of the Lord, serve Him, and increase in my knowledge of God.  My sister, Marsha, withdrew from the university pre-veterinary program and is now studying to be a nurse at a hospital diploma program. She comes home every weekend and teaches a Bible class for my high school friends and me. It is so wonderful to study the Bible, God’s love letter to me, so I can grow closer to Him!

I also am reading books in the home Bible study program and biographies of Christians which have been so helpful.  I especially like Major Bible Themes by Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder of Dallas Seminary. Notes on the Pentateuch by C.H. McIntosh has really helped me understand the first five books of the Old Testament. My favorite Christian biographies so far are By Searching and In the Arena by Isobel Kuhn, and God’s Man in China about Hudson Taylor. They both served God in China with the former China Inland Mission which Hudson Taylor founded.fav books sm

While she was a student in Bible school, Isobel Kuhn learned to put the Lord first every morning and spend time in Bible reading and prayer. So after reading “O God, thou art my God, early will I seek Thee; my soul thirsteth for Thee…” in Psalm 63:1, I asked the Lord to help me get up earlier so I could read my Bible and pray before I went to school. It is really wonderful to set my mind on the Lord in the morning and ask Him to teach me before I get so busy with school. When I oversleep, I really miss it! When I get home from school, I study my Bible for an hour before I start my homework. It amazes me how God multiplies the time and helps me do my homework faster! I also silently pray before I take a test at school, and God helps me figure out the right answer.

The past year, I have asked God to show me the way as to what career He would like me to pursue. Before I became a Christian, I wanted to be an oceanographer or landscape architect because I enjoy science, art, and the outdoors so much. But now, I want to work with people and hope to have opportunities to point them to the Lord Jesus Christ. I have considered becoming a teacher or a nurse. I think I would like to become a nurse like my sister because I like science, but I could still help people. Perhaps I could even teach nursing or the Lord will allow me to be a missionary nurse!

Reflection

Old and new electronic edition!

Old and new electronic edition!

And so the Lord led me to become a nurse. I think my concept of nursing was strongly influenced by the Cherry Ames RN series by Helen Wells which I avidly read in my early teens. The first book was published in 1944 during World War II and was a catalyst for many young women to join the Army Nurse Cadet Corps. Cherry went on to work in about 25 different fields of nursing! I was delighted to discover they are now available as electronic books. I smiled as I reread the first book, Cherry Ames, Student Nurse.

On her first day of nursing school, the Nursing Superintendent said to the new nursing probation students, “Let me remind you that you are going to need good health, intelligence, unselfishness, patience, tact, humor, sympathy, efficiency, neatness, plus plenty of energy for hard work.” A groan echoed around the room. “But let me remind you, too,” Miss Reamer said, “that nursing is the most rewarding of all professions for women. And frequently the most romantic and exciting,” she added with a twinkle in her eye.

Real nursing is not nearly as glamorous, but it is fulfilling. Although I never became a full-time missionary nurse, the Lord blessed me with several short term medical missionary trips to Belize, Honduras, and China, as well as a graduate nursing course in the Dominican Republic. Many opportunities have been given to me to point my patients, their families, and my co-workers to the Lord Jesus Christ, for which I thank Him. I never lacked for a job for long, never went hungry, and always paid my bills on time. God has proved Philippians 4:19 over and over again to me, “But my God shall supply ALL your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” 

So nursing has been good to me. There have been the challenges and frustrations that are part of any career, but it still gives me great satisfaction when one of my patients says, “Thank you so much for helping me today, Pam!”

By the way, I am so glad I never became an oceanographer since I later discovered that I am very prone to seasickness. I will share more about that in my blog about being a cruise ship nurse — for one week! Truly, God makes no mistakes……

Life Changing Letter

Saturday, January 16, 1971

I gazed out the window of our small stone home in the country and saw the mailman drive away. “I’ll get the mail, Mom!” I hurriedly put on my winter coat, hat, and mittens to brave the bitter cold. I ran down the gravel driveway, scooped the letters from the mailbox, and skimmed through them as I raced back to our warm home.

I was thrilled to see a letter addressed to me from my older sister!  Marsha was a freshman at the state university three hours away, so I didn’t see her often. When she came home for a visit in October, she seemed so happy, said her headaches were gone, and she broke up with her boyfriend because he wasn’t a Christian. She eagerly told me that her roommate told her how to become a Christian, and she started going to Bible classes on campus.

When she came home for Thanksgiving, she asked that we give her money for Christmas instead of presents so she could attend a missionary conference. As a sophomore in high school, I would never give up all my Christmas presents to attend some old dumb missionary conference!

Since she returned to school in January, I can’t stop thinking about how happy she is now. So I wrote her last week and asked her to tell me more about God.  I eagerly took her letter to my desk in my bedroom, closed the door, and began to read.

Dear Pam,

I would love to share with you more about God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! Even though we went to church every Sunday and heard about Jesus Christ, the pastor never told us that each of us needs to personally receive Him as Savior.  I am so glad my college roommate shared the good news about Christ with me our first night at college.  I went to a Bible study with her, and  I received Him as my Savior shortly afterwards. I am so thankful that I have a personal relationship now with Him for all eternity and my sins are all forgiven!

As it says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world (Pam) that He gave His only begotten (unique) Son, that whosoever (Pam) believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  This is the most important decision of your life because it decides whether you will spend eternity with God or perish forever without Him.  He loves you so much, Pam, that He died for you on the cross to bear the punishment for your sins.  After three days He rose again and lives in heaven today.

I asked the campus group at noon prayer meeting today to pray for you to receive Him as your personal Savior.

Love in Christ,  Marsha

I don’t think anyone has ever prayed for me before. I am so amazed that God loves me so much that He died for ME so I can be saved and be with Him for all eternity.  He knows all about how shy and insecure I am, and that I am so fearful of death ever since my cousin was killed in the Vietnam war.

As my tears flowed, I bowed my head and prayed,

Dear God, I come to You as I am– a sinner.  Thank You, Lord Jesus, for dying on the cross in my place for my sins and that You rose again from the grave.  I receive You now as my Savior.  Thank You that You love me so much! Amen.

When I opened my eyes, my heart was flooded with the peace and the joy of God, and my fear of death was gone!

path of life

Reflection

Dear Reader,

I would love to share with you in this blog how God led me to  become a nurse, and how He has taught me about Himself on the path of life.

If you have not received the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, I invite you and encourage you to do so now as I did over 40 years ago.  It has been so exciting to grow in the knowledge of my Savior and let Him lead me through the joys and the sorrows, the laughter and the tears.  I look forward to that day when He takes me to heaven above in His perfect timing! “Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20

Pamela, APRN

Diapers and Mops – Night Shift Nursing Assistant

June, 1973 – Midwest, USA

Pam and Linda graduated the same day and time!

Pam and Marsha graduated the same day and time!

My sister, Marsha, graduated from nursing school and I graduated from high school on exactly the same day and time! Since I didn’t want to split up the family, I volunteered to skip my high school graduation. Linda let me wear her white high school mortarboard and gown for the photos our dad took of us. She looked beautiful in her white cap and nurse’s dress uniform walking down the aisle of the hospital auditorium with her 50 classmates.

We both were hired to work at a nursing home in the country a few miles from our home. Linda will be the evening charge nurse, and I will work night shift as a nursing assistant. There is no nurse there at night for the 50 patients since none of them need to be given medicine at night. There will be one other nursing assistant with me. It sounds a little scary, but I have to start somewhere! I will work ten nights straight for $1.25 per hour and then have four days off. I can hardly believe I will make $50 each week! I have never had that much money before.

First Night Shift – 11 p.m.

“Pam, they asked me to orient you tonight, so this is what we do,” said Vera, a plump middle aged  lady who had a heavy southern accent. “First we wrap 50 sets of silverware in paper napkins for breakfast for all the patients. Then we make the first diaper rounds which we do every two hours. It’s easier if we make rounds together to help turn them. Then we each give four bed baths to the ones who don’t know the difference between night and day. Then we make diaper rounds again followed by a 30 minute lunch break. We’re allowed to eat anything we want in the refrigerator!”

Mopping the Lounge!

Mopping the Lounge!

“After lunch, we each mop one of the patient lounges and straighten them up. Then we do diaper rounds again. At 5 a.m. we fill each patient’s water pitcher with fresh ice water. Then we give report to day shift and go home!”

So I began to do exactly as Vera showed me. I have never changed a baby’s diaper much less an adult! Our first patient, Sam, was difficult to roll to one side because he was so stiff from advanced Parkinson’s disease. He could no longer talk, but just stared at us with his big sad brown eyes. I held him on his side while Vera washed him and put a clean diaper on him. We collected the soiled cloth diaper in a special bag for the laundry company that would pick them up tomorrow.

I never gave a bed bath before either. Vera told me to take off his top sheet and gown, wash his face, then go down one side of his body and up the other side with the washcloth, rinse, dry him off and put on a new gown and top sheet. I felt sorry for Sam as he shivered.

I was so exhausted when I walked out the door into the morning sun and fresh air. I climbed on my bicycle and wearily pedaled five miles home up and down hills past corn fields glistening with dew. I rode up our gravel driveway, said hello to Mom, ate breakfast, and went outside to our quiet travel trailer to try and sleep for eight hours. I hoped I wouldn’t hear the rest of the family this way. “Thank You, dear Lord, for carrying me through this first night shift in the nursing home. Please give me deep sleep now. Amen.” I fell into bed after being awake 24 hours.

Reflection

When I started nursing school a year later, the professor demonstrated the correct way to give a bed bath. She showed us how you uncover only one part of the body at a time to prevent shivering and preserve as much of the patient’s modesty as possible. Staff development was definitely lacking at the small unskilled nursing home! But being a nursing assistant was a great introduction to the nursing profession. It was a difficult job physically, so it forced any romantic notions I had about nursing right out of my head. After I graduated and began supervising nursing assistants, it gave me great compassion for all the hard work they did for low wages. I always tried to pitch in and help them after finishing my work which also helped foster teamwork.

During the 1980’s, I worked in a 1000 bed hospital in staff development. We asked the nurse managers to complete a survey about how their new graduate nurses were functioning after one year of employment. The BSN graduates who worked summers as nursing assistants were rated the highest by far. So I thank God for faithfully guiding me right from the beginning of my career!

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye.” Psalm 32:8

The Diary of a Young Girl

Midwest, USA – April 2, 1969 – 13 years old


My journals since 1969!

My journals since 1969.

Dear Angie,

As you can see by the cover, this is supposed to be an autograph album, but I am going to use it as a diary. Friday, President Eisenhower died at the age of 78, so on Monday we missed school in honor of mourning.

Yesterday was April Fool. Only one more day till Easter vacation! Just a little while ago I was outside in the yard practicing my tennis serve.

Reflection

“And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee.” Deuteronomy 8:2

This was my first entry after reading The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank who was a 13 year old Jewish girl in Holland during World War II. Because Hitler, the German dictator, hated all the Jewish people, he had his soldiers corral them in cattle cars and send them to horrible concentration camps where six million were exterminated in the gas chambers or died of disease. In 1942, Anne’s family went into hiding in an attic to try to escape the camps. Because she was so lonely, she wrote in her diary to her imaginary friend named “Kitty”.

June 12, 1942

Dearest Kitty,

             I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.

Sadly, they were discovered and arrested August 4, 1944, and were sent to the concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen, near Hanover, Germany. The typhus epidemic swept through the camp as the result of horrendous hygienic conditions and claimed Anne’s life and that of her sister in early March, 1945 shortly before the camp was liberated by the British on April 12, 1945. Only Anne’s father, Otto, survived the camps. When he returned to the attic, he was given Anne’s diaries which two secretaries in the building had stored safely after finding them scattered all over the floor. After long deliberation, he decided to fulfill his daughter’s wish and publish her diary.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

I was so moved after reading Anne’s diary, that I decided to keep a journal which I have continued to the present time. However, I no longer write to my imaginary friend who I named Angie:) I never wrote in my journal daily, but wrote summaries of life events periodically. Every New Year’s day I ask the Lord to give me a Bible verse for the year. Sometimes I record a Bible verse that has been a special blessing to me or helpful quotes from books I read. I love to reread my journals from time to time and go down memory lane. Many times I exhort myself to walk closer to the Lord and seek Him more! I encourage you to consider recording your own lessons from the Lord as you travel the path of life.

My verse the Lord gave me for this year is “Even to your old age I am He, and even to hair white with age will I carry you. I have made, and I will bear; yes, I will carry and will save you.” Isaiah 46:4 (Amp) It is so comforting to know that as God has carried me in the past, He will carry me through whatever days remain for me here on earth right into His arms in heaven! I would love to hear from you of a verse that God has used to encourage your heart.