In July 1996 I got my first job in the healthcare industry. I worked at Hillhaven Rehabilitation Center and Rest Home in downtown Salt Lake, 40 hours a week as a Certified Nurse Assistant. It was by far the most physically demanding job I have ever had, including being a maid at my dad’s lodge. I would literally sweat for eight hours. I wore comfortable, ugly white tennis shoes and scrubs that I knew would get sweaty and dirty. Even though I was at the young age of 21 I would often need a nap when I got home.
I started nursing school in January 1997. I changed jobs and started working at the University of Utah Hospital as a Health Care Assistant in April 1997. I worked in the resource department which means that each day I worked the hospital would tell me what floor needed me and that is where I spent my 8 or 12 hour day. Working “resource” was a great way to experience every floor in the hospital and eventually gave me the insight that I don’t like adult nursing.
May 1999 I graduated from nursing school and three months later began working in the Newborn ICU at the University of Utah hospital. I took care of premature babies ranging from 23 –34 weeks as well as sick term newborns. I learned how to start IV’s, work with ventilators, draw blood, give medications and blood products, manage infants temperature and oxygen, tube feed and teach babies how to bottle feed. I am an expert at changing diapers, the burrito wrap, and calming the most stressed baby. What I value more than learning these skills was what I learned from the remarkable people I worked with. Through years of working with them I observed how they live their lives. I would listen to their stories in amazement. No matter the heartache or trial they pressed forward, never giving up. I have never seen such strength and perseverance. I will forever be changed because of their example.
Throughout the years, in many ways, working tied me down and complicated my schedule making life seem harder. But in so many other ways working provided blessings, freedoms, and opportunities we otherwise would not have been able to enjoy. Though it didn’t seem obvious at the time, working made life easier. I always knew working was the right thing to do. I’m grateful I was supported and helped along the way.
Thank you to my parents who encouraged me and helped me through college. Thank you to my mom who watched my kids each day and night I worked. Thank you to Jason who stepped it up with housework and other responsibilities to help lighten my load.
I feel more than ever the importance of treasuring my time. Since time goes by so fast, every moment of every day needs to be spent wisely.
With the blessing of not having to work and having more time comes more accountability for me. I will need to answer for how I use my time.
"Thanks for the memories."