Being a Nurse


From the age of 5, when I got my first nurses outfit, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. I don’t ever remember changing my mind.

I have been told that when I was around 10 and one of my grandmothers had surgery, I was the one that cared for her and managed her dressings.

I also gave her her last bath on the day she died from cancer at the age of 81. It was a month after my wedding.

I don’t know¬† why I wanted to be a nurse, it is definitely not from altruism. As the saying goes, ‘some people are only alive today, because it is illegal for me to kill them’.

When I was at high school we had guidance counselors, these were the people who were supposed to help and encourage us on our chosen paths. My particular counselor told me that I was too lazy to be able to finish Nursing college. Out of the 4 of us that went, I was the only one to complete my full 3 years.

My first job was my worst, it was for a care facility in Berea. The owner was one of the most racist people I had ever met. Considering it was still during apartheid, that is saying a lot!

Then I worked for an endocrinology practice for a short while as a receptionist, I then moved to a great pharmacy in Bez Valley for around 3 years as the clinic nurse, this was a hugely innovative idea as pharmacy clinics were unknown.

Shortly after my marriage I went to work for an extremely busy GP practice, with 2 of the most dedicated doctors. I worked there for 5 years full time. During this time sadly one of the partners died in an horrific car accident.

During this time I was going through fertility treatment.

I learned so much working for these doctors! I eventually ran a staff clinic at a large company for the surviving partner. In total I worked for this practice for 11 years.

I did a little part time work when I fell pregnant with child number 3 and 4.

I then moved on to nursing education. I taught Care workers in Kempton Park for 2 years and then first year clinical skills for another 3 years. It was hard work, we had 60-70 student per year and I was expected to facilitate them all. Theory was taught by someone with a Nursing Education degree.

I was thinking about going back to varsity and getting my degree in order to find a teaching post with less students, when my father fell seriously ill while on holiday.

I flew down immediately to support my mother and convince my father to go to hospital, where he was admitted for 5 days.

When I returned to work and put in for family responsibility the hospital administration (not my direct supervisor), decided that family responsibility is for the death of a parent, not the hospitalization, when another person was available to care for them.

During the previous week I had become disillusioned by nursing after hearing a student say she was only doing nursing so that she could have a job while she builds her business!

There was also an incident of a patient who had died due to lack of due diligence on the part of the entire medical team. From the nursing staff up! I used it as a case study lecture to highlight the correct nursing care, record keeping and protocols of a patient whose life could have been saved.

I will be writing a lot of posts about nursing and it’s decline.

I handed in my notice immediately. I had no job and was unlikely to find one soon. The first month I would be out of work and would need to take of 8 days of work, due to religious holidays. I also did not think I would get a nursing post that would allow me Friday afternoons and Saturday’s off every week, as I do not work on the Sabbath. (I do not work on Jewish holy days or Sabbath).

I then phoned my husband to tell him.

That first day I was home, I went to the hospital that was near my house and asked to speak to the Emergency department manager. We filled in forms and then I had a job, 4 days a week, no Fridays or Saturdays. I was there for 2 years.

I then heard about a practice job, I spoke to my unit manager and told her I would like to interview for the job. I contacted the doctor and went for my interview. I am still working there today.











The horror of school

School was a nightmare for me, what I do remember is rarely pleasant.

Primary school wasn’t too bad. There were 3 of us who were so small that our uniforms had to be made for us.

To this day I am still friendly with some of the class in person, not only on Facebook. From pictures I have seen I was a mascot for sports day, because I was the smallest in the house I belonged to.

We learned to spell phonetically, which caused many problems when I got to grade 3 and had to suddenly read and spell normally. In grade 7, I was finally diagnosed with a learning difficulty. The music teacher apparently had some background in learning difficulties and told my parents that I was dyslexic.

I found out when my son was around 5 and I attended a talk by a well known child therapist and discovered that it is unlikely I was dyslexic but probably suffered from ADD.

High school was torture! There were 200 pupils in my grade. It was a very strict school which was fine, as I grew up in a strict home. My father was a fair but stern disciplinarian.

The few thing I remember fondly about high school was being in the drama productions, back stage (I am an introvert by nature).

I remember Dale Carnegie became well know at the time and everything was about being out there and being noticed. My worst nightmare.

I was on the swim team and I kept score for the cricket team. Girls were not allowed to play cricket but we had a great coach and I would practice with the team. I followed our under 14 A team all the way till they became the first cricket team. I went to all matches as the team scorer and received training in how to keep score with colours.

Physical education was hell on earth, especially during winter. I am not a runner but had to participate in cross country, I don’t like netball but had to play, I especially didn’t like hockey but it was compulsory!

Over the years I have discovered that at some stage I was originally left handed, somewhere along the line I changed over to right handed. This may explain why I suck at ball sports.

All through primary school until I was 15 I did ballet, then at 16 I changed to figure skating, which I continued well into my college years.

One of the things I do remember and regret not being able to do for my children, is that my mother was always around for us. She was at every sports event and on the PTA and worked in the tuckshop for both my brother and me.

I have had to work full time since my second child was born and I not only regret the years I have missed, I am resentful too.

My children have also not had an easy time at school, dealing with bullies and nasty teachers but that’s for a different post!