I have been a nurse for over forty years, working in hospitals, clinics, home care, and hospice settings.
In the 60s, I attended a traditional three-year diploma program and, in 1981, became one of the first gerontological nurse practitioners. Before then, care of the elderly wasn’t considered a specialty, like pediatrics. Older people’s needs were seen as different from those of other age groups. I was on the forefront, providing that care.
My favorite work setting has been home care. On entering a stranger’s home, a nurse never knows what she’ll find—an empty fridge, filth, extreme isolation, a loving family or a fractured one. She relies on her skill and knowledge, what she packed in her nurse’s bag and improvises the rest. Most important she must develop a trusting relationship with the patient and family to obtain a positive outcome.
After retiring from nursing, I focused my attention on writing by taking classes, attending workshops and conferences and joining a writing group.
My work has appeared in The New York Times, The Eno River Literary Journal, Examined Life Journal, Hospital Drive, Stories That Need to be Told: A Tulip Tree Anthology, among others.
My book: Stories from the Tenth-Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers chronicles my challenges in caring for the underserved elderly who lived on the Westside of Chicago.
I live with my husband in Raleigh, North Carolina.