The next time you are at the hospital take a look at the young nurse again. I mean beyond the face and the uniform that she is wearing. I am sure you will see at the least ten of us young junior nurses running, hopping and dashing around like busy beavers running one errand or the other for the seniors or the doctors. Sure they call us the LPN or the new Licensed Practical Nurse, the new kids on the block. And we are at the bottom of the pecking lot at any hospital.
I rushed through school and enrolled to get my license and the day I got it was the best day of my life! I was on top of the world! I was all set to achieve the greatest goal of my life. My scores were good enough to land me job at a nursing home in my neighboring town. The working hours were 7 am to 7 pm, with a day off on rotation with the other LPNs. Every fifteen days I would have to work the graveyard shift. Oh! Finally I would work like a true professional through night attending one emergency after another and smile comfortingly at the sleeping patients in the early morning and go away happily home at 8 am.
On the first day of my work began the nightmare of my life. It was most definitely what I did not expect. There I was all eager and happy to be of service to my seniors and keen to learn the ropes of my chosen profession. The very first instance was the senior RN, shouting out to me to hurry up for the orientation. Breezing through it in a record 8 minutes, I started to do the rounds and dispense medicines. This was the least important but the most competitive of chores because it required that all the patients in the ward be given medicines within a two-hour period.
After medicines, came the time to take the vital stats of all the patients. Talking softly and politely to the most complaining of all the patients, one would have to measure and record accurately the blood pressure, the pulse rate and how they were feeling for the day or night. Then rush for a quick breakfast, back to serve the patients. By then it would be almost 9 am. Next begins the doctors’ visitation rounds to all the patients. That is a solid 2 hours. Stopping at each patient, recording what is said, revise the medicines to be prescribed etc. And get a patient ready for surgery or admit a new patient in between all this. For a new patient, the bed needs to be made and kept ready to be occupied. Then to discharge a patient, the senior nurses would have to fill in the details after making LPN’s like me run around like rabbits from billing to the ward etc. At the end of the day all I wanted was to become a RN running my ward as strictly as the matron did today. I no longer wanted to be the lowly LPN. My next goal was to become the much qualified RN and BSN