I really liked the nursing uniform. That was my romantic introduction to wanting to be a nurse. To be honest, when it might have been time to go to nursing school, I was working in Manhattan as a secretary. At night I’d take the subway up to 138th street and City College. I was more involved in getting a Bachelor’s degree and seeing what happened next. After that it was Hunter College.
Then I moved to the country. A secretary’s salary was meager. I enrolled in a nursing program at Dutchess Community College and obtained an Associate Degree in Nursing in 1979.
I didn’t really know where Salisbury Connecticut was. After Millerton, did I absurdly think it was wilderness? But I took Route #44 and found Salisbury with beautiful Noble Horizons nestled in there.
I worked as an RN on the evening shift. There was no Wagner then, only Whitridge and Riga. I can remember sometimes having to bring my young son along to sit out a shift.
Each unit had a tiny med room where we poured the meds from bottles into little white cups. Then we put them on trays with a resident’s identifying ticket and carried them around to each resident. Later, when we started to use a med cart, we had a large med binder and initialed each pill we gave. Computer directed med pass came much later.
Our Medical Staff came and went frequently. Each resident had a personal doctor. We’d call them often to report and get new orders. With technology, we now are expediently able to text and fax.
Salisbury Pharmacy was our pharmacy.
Uniforms were strictly white then, dress or pants, white shoes and white nursing cap.
The administrator would amble through the corridors, sliding a finger on furniture for dust, chastising for clutter and improper dress.
I gave birth to another two boys and when I returned from maternity leave, I was lucky to get the day shift. Over the years I have worked as Charge nurse, Assistant Director of nursing, Nursing director, Care plan Coordinator, Wellness Nurse and now I am working as Nursing Supervisor.
I think what happened was that Noble became my second family. Here I was blessed with thirty or more grandparents (mostly grandmothers) who nurtured me as I helped them.
There was the woman whose friend was on the Titanic, the scholarly professor who educated me on D. H. Lawrence, the thin precise school teacher who always told me the proper way of doing things. Another showed me how to really rub in lotion on legs and the one with failing eye sight who told me how pretty I looked!
There were the CNAs who worked doggedly and faithfully alongside me, doing the work that no one really wants to do, knowing more than many of us nurses knew of each resident. They gained my respect and the love of all those residents for doing the difficult deeds.
I drove to Bard College and received my Bachelor’s Degree in between working. Here I was the oldest!
I was in the Wickman Room when the plane hit the World Trade Center on 911.
I found routes I never dreamed of driving to work in winter where the roads were full of snow and downed utility poles blocked my usual way. (I did drive, did not have a horse and buggy.) I slept over in the Administrator’s house or my brother in law’s cottage on campus to make it there the next day.
There was the Riga Resident who amazed everyone with her young looks at 99. Once when she was in the Fitness Center, another resident was bragging about how good she herself looked at 80. The glamourous Riga resident replied, “My son is 80.”
The Noble Nurses and staff are my sisters. (and brothers.) I work alongside them and always learn something from their expertise, the newer way of doing things, a condition I have not heard of, a technical feature of the computer system, a focus on caring rather than criticism.
I guess that’s why I keep coming back. To give back what I’ve been blessed with. Really, who could ask for more?