Monday, August 6, 2012
On Being a Nurse
Part of the basis of my WIP, which is heading into another round of revisions, comes from my experience as a registered nurse. One of the bits of advice I picked up from the book, How to be a Writer in the E-Age. . (see previous blog for link) was to work around building an audience in your genre by writing about subjects related to it. That, and fellow blogger Barbara Watson (click on her name for more info.), did a content consult for me and made a note with regard to the educational requirements of being a registered nurse.
My personal story was that at the age of 19, I went to school for 6 months to become an EMT (emergency medical technician) and simultaneously a ski patrol. An EMT is a lower level than a paramedic, but also works on an ambulance. I worked doing that for the next two years until I moved to Ecuador. My plan was to do volunteer work for 10 months and then go to nursing school, and I was on a waiting list for a community college. I ended up staying in Ecuador 3 years, but I never lost sight of my goal, and when I moved back I went to a tech school to be a LPN. (Licensed Practical Nurse) That is a diploma course that lasts 2 1/2 semesters and then you can take a state board exam for your license. Most LPN's work in long-term care, i.e. nursing homes, but it varies state by state.
After that, I moved around some, had two kids, and continued to work on my associate degree in nursing, which I finally finished a while back. You can be a registered nurse with an associate or a bachelor degree; both have to pass the same state board exam for the R.N. license. In the work field, there is little acknowledgement of the difference as far as pay or title goes, which makes the time and money involved for the four year degree less appealing.
This whole subject leads me to a book from my "reading through the library project" that I got turned off by. Again, for my negative reviews I won't post the title, but the problem I had was that it referenced a nurse giving a patient a bed bath and having only one patient (unless you're in ICU, you have more than one). The issue I had is that obviously the writer didn't research this, because nurses do not routinely give bed baths now, CNA's (certified nursing assistants) do. It's not because it's beneath us, it's just the reality is that we are so bogged down with documentation and paperwork that bedside care has been delegated.
That's today's nurse. (Sigh)