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Career Story: Licensed Practical Nurse At A Convent

Licensed Practical Nurse At A Convent

Job Title: Licensed Practical Nurse

Type of Company: My present employer is an order of nuns.

Education: Practical Nurse Program, Windham Regional Technical School

Previous Experience: I was a farm worker and am adept at discerning the needs of sick animals. I also cared for needy relatives. I was invited to become a certified nurse's aid by a family friend and subsequently found that I did the job well. My workplace encouraged me to join the nursing program offered at the technical school in my area and I became a licensed practical nurse.

Job Tasks: The order of nuns for whom I currently work provides a home base in the United States for American and Canadian sisters who are missionaries here and elsewhere. They return for rest, relaxation, & retreat on a regular basis and also for any medical needs. Retired nuns come back to the home to live out their natural lives and are provided with the care that they need.

My responsibility, along with the other nurses who work there, is to keep abreast of who is living in the house and who is there temporarily, what their individual needs are, what medications they're using, what appointments they may need and much much more. I arrange transportation, administer medications, change dressings, apply eye drops, give injections, administer blood sugar level tests, perform manicures and spend a lot of time listening, evaluating, and encouraging. All of the above is documented at the end of a shift and a verbal report given to the next shift.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is knowing that I have made a difference in someone's life. I receive hugs, prayers, "thank you's" and smiles, and see the nuns' eyes light up when I come into work. Knowing that my patients care about me as much as I care about them makes the few bad parts of my job worthwhile. Also, being privately employed allows me much more freedom than I would otherwise have.

The down side of my work is that, of course, old and sick people die and I truly miss them - even the ones who were a pain in the neck. Frustration is another negative. Frequently people do not follow medical advice and their condition stays as is or gets worse. Last but definitely not least is the documentation!

Job Tips:
1. Compose and design your own personal mission statement and live by it. I have read mission statements that are marvelous pieces of prose and have very little to do with the workplace or the practices within.

2. Know you may have to take jobs you don't like until the right one happens along.

3. Never stop learning, and look up anything you don't know the answer to.

Additional Thoughts: Quite frankly, the most surprising thing is my paycheck. I had no idea that I could earn the amount I do by working at something so satisfying.

There are actually 2 things I would change in my approach to my career if I could backtrack. First, I would start younger. I was 49 years old when I began the nursing program (and it was hard!) Secondly, I would have found the means to become a degree'd registered nurse.

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