A Sweet Fragrance

    Books Worth Reading

    No Graven Image by Elisabeth Elliot
    The fictional story of a young single woman missionary who is given the enormous task of starting a work among the Quichuas of the high Andes. As she begins her life as a missionary, she quickly learns that she is supposed to project an image of herself as a successful, spiritual missionary. Then something happens that shatters that image and she learns to put no created image, no matter how "spiritual", in the place of God.

    The 1599 Geneva Bible
    The original 1599 Geneva Bible with notes written by the reformers. Nothing has been updated except the spelling. This translation is characterized by simple and beautiful language that is surprisingly understandable even to modern readers.

    Aunt Jane's Hero by Elizabeth Prentiss
    The heartwarming story of a Christian couple seeking to establish a home whose happiness flows from a beautiful relationship with the Lord Jesus. Biblical truths about marriage and family life are interwoven throughout this lovely story.

    Gold Cord by Amy Carmichael
    The story of the Dohnavur Fellowship in Amy Carmichael's own words. An amazing testimony of the work of God.

    They Found the Secret by V. Raymond Edman
    This is a book about the exchanged life, the life that is of Christ. This collection of 20 short biographies of men and women who discovered the power of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit will increase your desire to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your own life. The Christian life is, first and foremost, about a mighty, resurrected Lord whose Spirit can indwell and completely transform those who surrender to Him.

    Toward Jerusalem by Amy Carmichael
    A collection of poetry and songs written for those who are about the King's business.

    His Thoughts Said. . .His Father Said . . . by Amy Carmichael
    The thoughts of a child of God are often troubled and questioning. The Father has an answer to all of them.

    A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot
    My favorite biography of Amy Carmichael. Full of excerpts from Amy's writings, this well-researched book gives us a glimpse into the life of one of the great lovers of God.

    Thoughts Concerning the King by Elizabeth Prentiss
    Originally published in 1890, these selections from Elizabeth Prentiss' private papers represent the cream of her thoughts and relationship with the Lord. While simply a collection of quotes and poetry, the depth and insight of these quotations make this book a treasure indeed.

    Children of the Storm by Natasha Vins
    Natasha Vins tells the story of life as the daughter of the persecuted Russian pastor Georgi Vins.

YLCF Blog Carnival

October 26, 2009

7:30 pm – I wake up to find a stack of mail outside my bedroom door. I quickly look through it for anything interesting, then I shower and dress. The rest of the household is already preparing for bed. After eating some leftovers from supper, I spend some time reading my Bible and praying. One of the chapters I read is Psalm 133 about brethren dwelling together in unity. My mind trailed back to memories of breaking up fights at my last job. I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore! Unity is a rare thing, but entirely possible with God. I especially pray for work tonight because I’m not sure what I’ll be facing once I get there.

9:30 pm – A couple of my brothers are still awake, so I go downstairs and talk with them a little. I pack up some leftovers for a midnight meal, check e-mail, and put away laundry. Then I sort through my mail again, discard most of it, and wonder why next month’s work schedule hasn’t arrived yet.

10:30 pm – I grab my backpack and a coat and step outside into the cold night air. The temperature is in the 30′s, very typical for fall. It’s a clear night with an amazing view of the stars. I’m thankful for every night I don’t have to drive through rain, snow, ice, or fog.

I work for a nursing agency that provides private duty nursing care for children with major medical needs. Right now, I am the main night nurse for a child who lives an hour from my home. I work 10 hours per shift, 4 days per week. That means 8 hours of driving time every week, so I’m thankful that the CD player in the car was recently fixed so I can listen to CD’s on my commute. Right now I’m listening to a biography of Oswald Chambers.

Very few cars are on the road as I drive across town to the 2-lane highway that will take me almost directly to my place of work. I do meet a line of cars on my way out of town, probably shift workers from the local factories.

Nothing unusual greets me on my long, quiet drive. The small towns I drive through seem deserted at this time of night. At one point, I pull over to let a police car with flashing lights pass me. There is a lot more crime in rural Nebraska than most people think, so law enforcement is always out in full force at night. I think I normally see about half a dozen police cars on my way to work at night.

I pass some of the same road kills I saw this morning – at least there weren’t any skunks!

11:30 pm – When I arrive at the home, I pause a brief moment to admire the scene of the windmill and red barn against a background of stars. The air is fresh and crisp. Inside, I chat with the mom briefly and get a report about how the day went. Things are better than I expected, which makes me thankful. The mom heads off to bed, leaving me with my little patient for the night.

Some people think home care nursing is easy, but there is much more work involved than you would think. First, I perform and chart a thorough, detailed physical assessment. I perform the initial cares my patient needs, check the chart for any changes, wipe down equipment, and take note of anything new or different that needs to be done on this shift. The first hour passes quickly. After the initial tasks are done, I have some down time to read and even do a little handwork. Sometimes there is so much work to do that even my patient’s sleeping hours give me little time to rest, but this night promises to be a quiet one.

3:00 am – I take a break to eat my night-time meal, squash and soybean soup. It’s good. I am interrupted every couple of minutes, however, by my patient’s needs. It’s an intensive care situation, so I have to be on my toes at all times. I’m glad all the equipment is working tonight. Last night the pulse oximeter broke down for an hour because a connector got wet. I was able to get it working again by using a hair dryer on it, but it did have me worried for a while!

3:45 am – I open one of my Russian textbooks and study a page. It’s been years since I have had time to do this on a regular basis. I also read a little bit of Gold by Moonlight by Amy Carmichael. It’s the kind of book you should read very slowly.

4:15 am – More charting. Besides the full sheet I fill out for the physical assessment, I also fill at least one 8 x 11 sheet of paper with nurses’ notes. Every little detail has to be written down, otherwise legally it wasn’t done! Morning is coming fast, so I spend time cleaning equipment and putting my own things away.

5:30 am – I get my patient up and start the morning routime. I chat with the mom when she gets up and give her a report on how the night went. My morning is usually filled with exercises, therapy, administering tube feedings and medications, and more charting.

8:30 am – During a lull in the morning’s activities, I grab a little breakfast for myself. Outside the window I see horses grazing. It’s a bright, cool fall morning. I get some toys out and fill the rest of my time with playing, cleaning equipment, and finishing paperwork.

9:30 am – The day nurse arrives. I give her a report on how the night went. We talk about paperwork a little bit, then I gather my things and leave.

Often, I see interesting wildlife alongside the highway. Sometimes there is a flock of turkeys on the side of the road, and a pheasant races across the highway every now and then. Today all I see is a hawk in the sky and the same roadkills I saw last night. (I’ll spare you the gory details. )

10:30 am – Upon arriving home, I quickly eat some breakfast leftovers and get to bed as fast as possible. Tonight I will get up and do this all over again. It’s a different life, but a very good one. Parents with severely disabled children usually have a difficult time finding help, and I’m glad I can be of service in this way. I’m helping to keep one more child out of an institution, and that makes me happy. It’s an opportunity to show real compassion – a rare thing even in a prosperous society. My nights at home are very different – I can take care of my own business and do housework during the quiet night hours, then spend time with my family and go places in the morning until I go to bed sometime around noon. I don’t know how long this will last, but for now, this is where God has me.

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5 Responses to “A “Day” in the Life of a Night Nurse”

  1. bronze_for_gold

    This takes me back to a time in my life when I ‘lived in’ as a caregiver for the elderly. I enjoyed your sharing of a day in the life…
    Your job is intense and the recipient of your care is blessed to have you! Not just your primary care receiver, but the entire family.
    God bless you in your career.


  2. Anonymous

    What a wonderful opportunity to serve! Though it sounds tough too, your job sounds amazing!! I’m a CNA and EMT, but currently working as an in home care taker for a lady who really doesn’t need much medical assistance.

    Oh and also, I’m currently reading Oswald Chamber’s Biography (by David McCasland). Incredible encouragement to me, just as his devotional, My Utmost has been for the past several years.

    I loved reading about your day!


  3. Anonymous

    It was very interesting to read about your work. Thank you for sharing it. -Kathryn


  4. Eden

    Hello Vanessa, I’ve been following your blog for several weeks and enjoy reading your posts. I’m 15 and have been interested in the medical field for as long as I can remember. Right now, I’m considering a career in maternal care (midwifery, doula, obstetrics)… something like that. It was interesting to read about what it is like working the night shift and it sounds like a rewarding job. Please keep in touch and maybe stop by my blog sometime. ;-) Hope you have a blessed day (and night!). ~Eden


    Vanessa Reply:

    @Eden, Thanks for visiting! I thought about becoming a midwife at one time, but because of the legal problems in my state nursing eventually became my choice. I really don’t regret it, because I love the variety of work I am able to do. I did enjoy the obstetrical portion of my education, though, and hope to get more experience with babies someday :) Have a great day, and thanks again for stopping by!


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