Today’s post is a letter I received from one of my aunts when she became a nurse. I wanted to share it in honor of her 86 birthday coming up very soon! As a nurse myself, I felt it was inspiring. I hope you do too. I have two retired aunts that were nurses in my family and including my career in nursing we have over 100 years between us of taking care of the public in their time of need:
The year was 1964. I am a high school graduate-the mother of five children ages one to seventeen. I am thirty-eight years old and we live in a farming community. My husband’s income is minimum wage. I am a good manager, but I can no longer make one small paycheck meet the needs of our growing family.
My inspiration is to find a job that will enable me to help meet those needs. I’d never in my life had any desire to be a nurse. My experiences with nurses was very limited and I liked it that way! I’d admire them from afar-and the farther the better.
In spring of 1964, a notice in the local newspaper said a nurses’ assistant class would be taught at the local hospital. It would last six weeks and those accepted in the program would receive seven dollars per day and a certificate of completion of the course of learning. I applied and was accepted.
I was on my way. I had two dollars each day for the babysitter, gas for the car, lunch, and one uniform that was starched and ironed everyday! I would describe myself as hopeful, prayerful, and squeamish, but determined.
Then I met my first Florence Nightingale. She was Ms. Anderson, RN from Hopkins County, KY. She told us what. She showed us how. She told us why. She then watched until she knew we understood. She was the first of many I’d meet in the years to come.
My first job was as a surgical technician and emergency room nurse with on the job training and vocational classes at night. I graduated from that vocational school. I worked my first nursing job for 19 years in the hospital. I then worked in a nursing home for five years. I returned to the hospital part time for five more years. I retired at the age of 67 with a nursing career spanning 29 years. The hard work and opportunities I never expected to have with experiences that inspired far beyond my imagination and memories I have now to look back on. Memories that remind me of hopes that are fulfilled and prayers that are answered. I am thankful.