Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This Is Me Challenge: part 3

College years:

*Did you attend college or a trade school of some sort?

I had really, really wanted to attend the International Fine Arts College to major in fashion merchandising. (I had big dreams to be a buyer.) However, with the application fee being $300 and the tuition at $17K per semester (which was huge in 1987), that was not going to be my path.....

After high school, I tried college for a year, and that was a dismal failure. My transcript from that year is a B in English Composition, and the other classes are all withdrawals and failing grades.  I just hated my school (Miami Dade Community College). 

The following year, I enrolled at National School of Technology (now Everest) to study business... mind you this is back when computers were just becoming standard office fare.... we learned MS-DOS, which was all prompt driven software. (Wordperfect had not even arrived on the scene, yet.) Our information was stored on 5" floppy disks. The screens only came in amber and black, or green and black.  I learned accounting, business writing, and all sorts of clerical stuff. It was a year long diploma program. 

I did not attend school again until 2001, when I went back to school for my nursing degree. I was, once again, in the clutches of Miami Dade College, but this time I graduated in 2007 with honors. Paid my way through, and finished with no loans. Yay!

*How did you choose what you wanted to be when you grew up?

I am still undecided. When I was a child I wanted to do something with sewing (did not understand fashion at that time). When I was in high school, I took marine biology, and fell in love. For a time I thought I wanted to be a marine mammal trainer. Then there was IFAC.  However, I ended up an office worker for the first half of my working career. And, now I am a nurse.

*What did you think was the hardest thing about your chosen profession at that time?  Did it turn out that way?

I resisted being a nurse for a very long time.  (Working in medicine is kind of a tradition in my family.) I am not fond of the fluids that come out of peoples' bodies. But, after working for 20 years in administrative functions, I felt that my job really had no purpose. It didn't really help anyone.  So, after going to school for six years to earn my "two-year" degree, (I paid my own way, sometimes only taking one class per semester if that was all I could afford.)I graduated with honors from nursing school. 

I always new that I did not want to work with adults.  My heart belongs to the babies. I did a year in pediatrics, which was very interesting and fun. Then I did a year in pediatric transplant.... which was incredibly emotionally difficult, due to the long stays and poor prognoses of the kids. Then I moved into Maternity and the NICU.  I have been in those departments ever since. 

My biggest fears were hurting the little preemie babies.  When you have to manipulate an intubated baby that is the size of a soda can, it can be terribly frightening the first time. However, once I did it once, it was never difficult, again.

*What dumb things did you do during those years?

During college?? Well, as I was in my 30's, married and a mother during my college years, I guess the nothing dumb.  Oh, except professing my crush on a schoolmate. (Nursing school wreaked havoc on many a marriage in my class.  Stress will do crazy things to a relationship.) And, I got my one and only tattoo at that time.

*What good things did you do?

Completing my program with honors was pretty significant.

*Did you live on your own?  How well prepared were you for that?

As I stated before, I was married and a mother. However, I lived on my own before I got married. I got my first apartment at age 19. 

*What life lessons did you learn?

Don't profess crushes to classmates, especially when you are married. Not that anything happened, but it sure was messed up at the time. 

*What choices did you make that affect where you are now?

Waiting so long to attend school.... I mean, every decision I could have made would have put me on a different path than where I am now. If I had not attended vocational school, I would have not been working at the doctor's office where I met my husband. I would not have my son. So, what happened was meant to be the way it was.

*What jobs have you had?  (Give details of the dates, places, responsibilities, etc.)

Aside from high school jobs....

1989: I was an Au Pair in Sweden. (Best opportunity ever!!!) I took care of two little boys. 
 After my return, I worked at Shoe Works, Amerifirst Bank, and Biscayne Pet House. 

1990: I worked for Douglas Slavin, MD, cardiologist. I was the receptionist/biller. This was where I met my husband.

1991-1999: I was in the US Naval Reserves.  I loved every moment of active duty, and hated every moment of reserve duty. I was a yeoman (fancy navy word for secretary).

1991-1994: Lessner and Troner, MDs. This was an oncologist office. I was a receptionist, biller.

1994-2004: Video Monitoring Service of America, which was a new information service. I was the office manager, in charge of billing and invoicing, human resources, and supply procurement. I left this job because I was unable to manage the more than full-time hours required, along with nursing school.

2004-2007: Barry University. I was administrative assistant to the athletics department. I actually loved working at the university. If I had not graduated nursing school, I would have stayed there for years. 

2007-2008 Broward General Hospital - pediatric nurse

2008-2009 Holtz Children's Hospital - pediatric transplant nurse
2009-2011 North Shore Medical Center - maternity/NICU nurse
2011-present University of Kentucky - newborn nursery nurse

*What dumb things did you do during those years?
Hmmmm..... the dumbest thing I ever did as a nurse.... well, during my first nursing job, we had a patient that wanted to leave AMA (against medical advice).  However, they had just connected the child to a Holter monitor, which is a portable recording device that monitors the heart for 24 hours. Having worked in physicians' offices for years, I was used to sending the patient home with the device.  The patient's mother assured me they would drop off the machine the next day. And, of course, I believed them. So, off I sent the patient with the $$$$$$ piece of equipment, which we never saw again.

*What good things did you do?

 I have saved babies lives on more than one occasion.  It is amazing how when the panic sets in, you just rely on the training to get through the moment.

*Have you used any of that knowledge in later years?


*Who were your bosses?  Did you like them/get along?

I have never had a problem getting along with my bosses.

*How did you get along with your co-workers?

Well, working with a female majority staff can get tricky, if you know what I mean. Having previously always worked in pretty culturally and sexually diverse settings, working with only females is not really my cup of tea. But that goes with the territory of being a nurse. 

I loved my co-workers at VMS, Barry University and North Shore Hospitals. In my current job, I am pretty much locked in one room most of the time. Getting to know people has been difficult, to say the least. I am not a very gregarious person, and tend to be introverted. But, it is getting better... and I have only been there over a year!!!

*Which was your favorite job?

Barry University by far!!! The coaches and faculty were wonderful. The atmosphere was relaxed. And, I made several good friends there. 

*How many years until you retire?

Too many. I figure I will work in nursing as long as I can, and then retire, and become a greeter at Walmart. Our dream of retirement used to be to sell the house and use the money to buy a winnebago, and then travel all over the US. If we needed money, we would get a job at a Walmart or something, and then be off again. 

*Do you have any big plans for your retirement? (If retired: What have you done since retirement?  What's next?)

I really want travel as much as possible.

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