It’s a big thing for me. It’s time to renew my Nursing Registration. I have been a registered nurse for 36 years now, and have loved caring for and helping people.
I had eight years off to care for my littlies, but apart from that I have worked as nurse for all those years. Aged care work was convenient when my boys were very young. I could get the hours that suited, so that their Daddy could take over care when I headed out the door. ( They will never forget the endless fish fingers that featured on the menu far too often when I worked in the evenings.)
For one whole year I worked night duty every weekend. That bought us a second hand people mover which meant we could easily transport the basketball team, and the foster kids in comfort.
A move interstate found me working as “Associate Charge Nurse” in a small but vital country hospital. I was again able to work hours that suited the family, and we were all able to ride bikes to work and school. We all loved living in the country and the wonderful experiences that come with it. Yabby fishing in the dam, spotlighting for rabbits at night, learning to drive the ute on the properties, and exploring the Wimmera region.
Jobs and life have a habit of changing, and led us to our first home in Queensland. Brisbane gave me an opportunity to work within the field of disability services. I became part of a small team providing respite for children and young adults with intellectual disabilities and challenging behaviours. The term “challenging behaviours” is very appropriate and led to some interesting and often embarrassing incidents. We were a close knit team of 5, and loved our clients. We were able to chuckle about the time Elspeth swam out to the depths of the sea and dog paddled for hours. Nothing could entice her back, and she nearly drowned her “rescuers”. Only after her Dad’s wallet and watch had been swallowed by the tide (reinforcements had been called for), and our team members had missed the last ferry from the island where Elspeth resided, did a bribe with icecream lure her back to shore. Another time, Edwin – a tall and gangly 17 year old – fell in love with a salesman at the shopping mall. He gave him a big hug, and refused to let go. The salesman spent the next hour in Edwin’s fond embrace – all the time yelling “I’m not scared. It’s fine” He finally had to come with us back to the car before Edwin let go of him, and consented to move on. Lots of challenging, fun times. Definitely easier when you could say goodbye to the challenges at the end of the day. The families do not have this option, for them, these are daily occurences and not at all funny. They suffer much.
One year later, my husband bought a pharmacy in Far North Queensland, 1700km north of Brisbane. For 11 years, I worked beside him – using my nursing skills to provide diabetic education, wound care advice and general help in the Pharmacy. We loved serving the people of Innisfail and had the motto “More than medicine”. Our customers became friends and we enjoyed our years there.
On selling the shop, we moved south to the beautiful township of Mt Tamborine. It is a lovely place to live and I was privileged to work at the local Medical Centre. We had a great team there with 8 doctors, 5 nurses and lots of wonderful admin staff. As the nearest hospital was 35km away, anything could and would walk in the door. As well as general vaccinations and daily dressings, we saw lots of emergencies. Anything from snakebite to chainsaw accidents. Lots of chest pains, anaphylactic reactions and even, once, a stabbing. (remember Lynne, the two hours it took us to clean up all the blood, that had sprayed over every item in our large treatment room?) The work was interesting, and I loved every day.
After 5 years, my husband took a position at Rockhampton Hospital. I was also able to get work there in the Day Surgery Unit. I enjoyed being back in a hospital and had some lovely people to work with.
And then came my diagnosis – Cancer. First I needed 6 months off to undergo surgery and aggressive treatment. Then my doctor told me another 6 months to recover. But things got worse instead of better, and I now realise that I am not able to get back to nursing. I was able to renew my registration last year, but now….. it is time to let go.
It has been a wonderful career, and I have loved caring for folk and working with wonderful people in many and varied settings. I am sad to be putting it behind me, but am grateful for the special people and great memories it has given me. I am blessed.