Nursing

Assisted Living Nurse: When a Job Becomes a Calling

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”- Confucius

In all honesty, I believed this to be a load of crap for many years.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love being a nurse.  The greatest part about it has been it’s versatility.  I have worked in an OB/GYN office, a Med Surg Floor, the Operating Room specializing in Vascular and Transplant Surgery, and then Trauma.  There was always a part of me that had one foot in and one foot out though.  In May of 2016, I took a position as Campus Registered Nurse for two Assisted Living Facilities.  I enjoyed Hospice during my rotations in nursing school, but wasn’t sure I would thoroughly enjoy geriatrics.  I took the plunge…. mostly for scheduling reasons.  I am a single mom now.  Working Monday – Friday 9-5 was appealing.  What I didn’t know would happen was that I would find my calling.

I started the same as any other.  One foot in, one foot out.  Not sure about my capabilities.  Something changed though.  It wasn’t a single “aha” moment, but before long, these residents were pulling at my heart-strings.  I think people tend to forget about our elderly.  We grow up only to get so caught up in juggling life and managing to-do lists that we don’t take the time to really listen, to really show compassion and patience. 

Image result for the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of othersI am a nurse, and sometimes that means assessing and managing ailments, and other times it means sitting with someone and holding their hand because they are anxious and can’t remember where they are.  While their memory fades, my memory is storing the precious moments of wisdom, laughter and joy.  It’s in these moments that I learn more about who I am and who I want to be.  The moments that wash over into my personal life and help me to strive for authenticity, to put an emphasis on the relationships that mean the most, and to let go of anything that disrupts my peace.

Don’t get me wrong, not everything is peaches and cream, but man, oh man, when you find those joyful moments and allow them to penetrate your soul it changes you.  You just have to have both feet in and be willing to accept the experience.

Yesterday I sat at the bedside of one of the most charming and charismatic men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  He doesn’t have long and he knows it, but he takes it in stride and smiles regardless.  I held his hand and asked him if he was in pain.  His response?  “I was, but pretty girls always make it better.”  I smiled.  His daughter let out a laugh.  Regardless of the circumstances of life, we always have the choice to be kind, to be compassionate, to be patient, to love and be loved, and to always remember our sense of humor. 

I challenge anyone reading this to seek out Assisted Living Facilities or Nursing Homes in your area and find a way to volunteer.  They are the “future us”.  Let’s rally together and make a difference.

Sincerely,

One Flawsome Momma

 

 

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Author: oneflawsomemomma

RN, Inspirational, and Mom(mish) Blogger: Reflections on Life and Remembering I'm Human.

5 Comments on “Assisted Living Nurse: When a Job Becomes a Calling

  1. I worry that after 100 days Medicare and Aetna will no longer pay nursing home or assisted living. Few have $10,000]+ a month to place themselves or loved one in such a facility. Mother was diagnosed cancer through out terminal suddenly. I kept her home and was trained enough to be her nurse with the hospice people and doctor visiting frequently and would stay over night in times of immediate crises. She lasted 6 weeks and I was fortunate to be retired and could do this. Medicare paid for this hospice care. I don’t know their protocol for in facility hospice. The doctor must declare the patient terminal. Father is 93 and lives with me. He is of sound mind and gets around fairly well. Naturally does not see enough to drive and I take care of bill paying and such. As he declines I hope to keep him home too. What will I do if severe dementia sets in ? Can’t afford a facility and promised him we’ll be together till the end. I think they have visiting home care in varying degrees of service depending upon what you can afford and request. Does medicare pay for it and home visit doctors ?

    I worry what will happen to me as my 2 mid 30 children can barely take care of themselves. I often think I should just jump in front of a bus or something when my time comes (that is of course if I am able to make it to the bust stop). Thanks for your recent visit to my cartoon blog.

    1. I often don’t get to reach those who don’t qualify for our services, but I know it has to be heart wrenching in those situations. I know in a lot of states if he qualifies for Medicaid as well he can qualify for certain facilities (Its this way in NC). Hospice typically comes in when family chooses palliative care and there’s a life expectancy of less than 6 months. I’m so sorry to hear of your struggle. 😔

  2. Thank you for your article. I’m glad you realized this relatively early in your career. I’ve worked in cardiology (a predominantly geriatric specialty) 25 years and also realized I had a calling very early on. I often got behind schedule because I always took the time and patience these fragile, scared and often lonely patients needed. I gradually grew tired of the corporate world telling me how to hustle my patients and not being able to provide the compassion and patience they deserved. A couple of years ago I decided it was time to put my family first. I left my career to be a stay at home mom, but I found myself missing my patients. I realized I needed them as much as they needed me. These seniors made me laugh daily and with all I had going on at home, I needed that! Their wisdom is like none other and their stories are fascinating. I quickly started volunteering at the senior center and eventually picked up jobs as a companion during the mornings while my child was in school. I’ve made some beautiful friendships and even became a mentor and a senior advocate. I can honestly say I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and I’m doing what I love. I encourage anyone out there who has an extra hour a week to visit a nursing home-you won’t regret it and you may not make a friend for the rest of your life, but you may make a friend for the rest of theirs! And for those that have no friends or family…that’s a big deal!!!

    1. When I went into Geriatrics as a Nurse after being in Vascular and Transplant Surgery everyone was completely shocked – they couldn’t believe I would rather be in an Assisted Living Facility. I think Geriatrics gets a bad rap and for the life of me I can’t understand why. Kudos to you for your volunteer work! 💕💕💕

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