August 30, 2005, 4:27 pm

Taking What They’re Giving ‘Cos I’m Working For A Living…

Yes indeed, I’m working for a living.

Unfortunately, it is not on a cruise ship.

Oh, I would love to try that line of work but I get motion sickness just bending over to tie my shoes.

I have actually been on two cruises as a passenger and each time I lost at least one full day to sleeping in a meclizine-induced coma on what the family called the “Pooped Deck”.

A ship full of food and I get nausea. Go figure.

Then again, I never did see any white-uniformed nurses running around on deck with their medicine trays.

Does anyone still use medicine trays anymore?

Anyone remember pouring their meds for the entire shift in the morning, stacking them in tiny paper medicine cups with the medicine cards lined up in the order they were to be given?

God, I hope someone remembers that, otherwise that makes me a nurse of a “certain age”.

Someday I’ll put my teeth in, turn up my hearing aid and tell you young whipper-snappers about them old days ‘afore there was unit dosing.


I love the fact that ER nursing is unpredictable.

I hate the fact that ER nursing is unpredictable.

I work a “dead-end’ shift (3pm – 3am), which means that I am not relieved by another nurse. If the unit is busy it is very difficult to disengage and leave. That’s what happened last weekend and I wound up doing a double shift.

Good lord, you would have thought I had been through a tackle exercise with the Oakland Raiders.

Then I went in to help for four hours the next night and one of the night nurses got sick! I stayed the whole shift.

It was like getting up off the mat at the count of eight and getting punched in the face again.

By Mohammed Ali.

In his prime.


When did I become such a wimp?

I used to be able to do double shifts and then double back for another double (for the uninitiated, that is working 32 out of 40 hours) and have energy for two kids under six when I was done! I was WOMAN, did you hear me roar?

Now I look in the mirror after twelve hours and the hair is flat, the make-up is gone, the lumbar-sacral area is screaming and the feeling will return to the right hand as soon as the cramp from writing on 50 charts has subsided.

But I love my job. This is what I was put here to do. They say nursing is a calling. It began whispering almost 40 years ago and I still hear it clearly today.

There’s nothing better.

Every now and then I have to take a step back and remember that.


  • kenju

    August 30, 2005 at 8:02 pm

    We need more nurses like you, Kim!

  • […] I think I’ll chime in this week with a blast from the past wherein I bemoan my inability to work like I am 21 in Taking What They’re Giving ‘Cos I’m Working For A Living […]

  • Intelinurse2b

    July 14, 2006 at 10:33 am

    One day I am going to write a book that chronicals all of the times I have heard a nurse say, “remember when.”

    I am so fascinated with the evolution of nursing, from whence it began as a “profession” of prostitutes to the days when nurses were expected to shine the physician’s shoes and mop the floors during their shift!

    Thanks for sharing and thanks for your continued physical energy (even if its a bit less now). Your enthusiasm is contagious to this nursing student!

  • Mam

    July 16, 2006 at 2:58 pm

    Yes, I hear you loud and clear. I, too, have this sadly missed lack of endless energy. I miss it.

  • Cal

    January 27, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    Hello! I figured it would be nice if I signed your guestbook. I just thought that I would visit your homepage and see what all you have been up to, well – it’s awesome!

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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