An Eye Towards the Future ~ Nurse Jane goes to College
Nurse Jane and I (Sandy) have become very good friends over the years we have known each other. I knew her before she ever considered the nursing profession, and thought you might enjoy a little Q&A with her on why she went into the field, and how her choices were directly derived from her survival-mindset.
Q: What were you doing before you went to nursing school?
I had a bachelors degree in a useless field and had had various jobs like cleaning toilets at night to provide for my family. That’s nice and all, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat for my family, but I’d rather not do that forever. “A great economy” my ass!
Q: Why did you decide to become a nurse?
At first, it was because we [the Wild River Rogues] knew we needed to move to a smaller town in the middle of no-where. Your skills [Sandy’s] are employable in big towns, but not so useful in a little town, sorry [Don’t I know it!]. At least one of us needs a good paying job to make the move. We brainstormed about what kind of jobs we knew we could get in the boondocks and we settled on policeman or nurse. I applied as a policeman (woman) too, but changed my mind as the interviews started to get more serious. Two people in my family are nurses, and I felt a calling in that direction. I guess you could say this is how it started.
Q: What have you learned as a nurse that will help you as a prepper?
I’ve learned how to help others, and with any luck, keep them alive in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. Of course, in nursing school, they don’t teach us anything really interesting – they let the hospitals that employ us do that. Sigh. They teach us how to keep people alive until the doctor arrives. I’m learning beyond that on my own – the same courses my friends are taking, with a different view.
Q: Has nursing school changed you?
Yes and no. I think in my heart I was always a nurse, I just didn’t know. But I also have absolutely zero tolerance for bullshit any more. Nursing school wipes out your empathy with petty politics and asinine rules and BSing bureaucrats. I know it’s still there, buried. It’s for the patients. But I have no tolerance for everyone else. I’ve learned to stand up for myself more, because the system can be brutal otherwise. This is my degree, I’ve earned it.
Q: How has becoming a nurse impacted your family?
My family doesn’t see me much – I’m always in class, at a clinical or studying. It’s like we need to be reintroduced when I get home. When people in my family would get sick, I also used to baby them and take care of them. Now I’m like, “Quit your whining, seriously?”
Q: Do you still want to be a nurse, now that you are about to graduate?
Ha! Yes, but I’d rather be a coma-patient nurse and not have to deal with people anymore.
Q: Would you still go to nursing school, knowing what you know now?
Yes. In my first year, the graduating students scared us shitless telling us about how awful our last year was going to be. I spent this whole time dreading it, and it’s just fine. It’s hard, sure, but not as horrible as they told us. I wish I would have known that it wasn’t so bad – all that wasted energy worrying I could have spent doing more naughty things. 😉
Q: What are your plans for after graduation?
I’m going to sleep for a week! Anyone trying to wake me will face my wrath!
Actually, I have to attend a “mandatory” 3 day seminar hosted by the school, even though we’ve already graduated. They just can’t let their hooks go yet. Bastards. After that, I’ll start applying for jobs around here and up North to get the skills I need and the experiences I want on the floor before we make the move.
Q: Were these last two years of school all worth it?
Yes, absolutely. I know I can provide for my family now. I know I can get a job, even if it’s at a nursing home. Or.. shudder… as a school nurse [Sandy’s note: last time Nurse Jane spent a day in a school nursing station, she left with a brutal stomach flu]. And I know I can get a job in the boondocks where we are going. I have something to contribute to the group, and that makes me feel good inside.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not studying or working?
Spending quality time with a warm cup of coffee and BSing with my brothers on the phone. And spending time with little Aurora of course!
Q: Would you recommend nursing school to other preppers, or to new preppers?
If you have the time, and the long-term goals that match up with nursing school, then yes. If you want a quickie job for the money, become a phlebotomist (which is less than 3 months most places). But if you want a career, a calling, and you have the patience for it, become an LPN or a nurse. It takes 2-3 years, depending on any previous college coursework you have, or what school you are applying to. Make sure you find one that teaches practical skills and gets you out into the hospitals. A nurse can do anything; move anywhere. You can find an 8-5 regular job if that’s what you want. Or you can take five 12 hour shifts a week and really rack up the overtime. You can work night shift, day shift, weekend shift. Or you can become a traveling nurse, and do 3 month stints all over the country. That’s a great way to see a lot of places; and traveling nurses make great money you could use on better preps. Contact the local colleges in your area to see if they offer a nursing program. It’s hard, but it’s do-able.
But frankly, and more short term, take an EMT basic course if you want to learn the basic skills of keeping someone alive. An ER or trauma nurse might get some of the same experience too that is really beneficial to prepping, but I’m not sure I’ve learned anything yet that is more than I knew before about critical care. I can nurse someone back to health assuming they are nursable, but if they have a sucking chest wound, I only know the theory of how to help them, not the practicality. An EMT might get some practical experience that would be more useful post-SHTF. But I know I’ll always be employable as a nurse, and that’s very valuable to us in the meantime.
And a followup side note from Sandy: from a prepping perspective, a nurse is a great addition to a post-apocalypse team. All medical providers are, including EMTs, doctors and veterinarians. But if you are trying to put a team together, and you can’t find a medic, consider making your own! Nurse Jane’s career choice is, first and foremost, for herself and her family. But it’s also for the Wild River Rogues – it gives us more options, and more stability. More sustainability, I should say. She’s right in that it takes a stable, much coveted job with hard-to-find skills to guarantee a job in a small town. Or as close to a guarantee as we can get. We are all excited to see what the next few months will bring for her career.