Safe staffing levels.

One of the things that I love about my job is that most of my co-workers are immigrants.  A bunch of the senior nurses are half a generation older than me, their kids are in college or grad school.  I can hear the pride in their voices as they tell me – she got an internship at Microsoft or she’s going to be an ob/gyn or anesthesiologist.   Often these nurses not only work the regular 3 shifts a week, but pick up 2-3 shifts at another hospital.  No one wants their kid to be a nurse, lol.  But my favorite story is this: 

I have a coworker with three kids, each kid going to an impressive big name college.  The baby of the family decided to go to Swarthmore.  She leans in and asks – have you heard of that college before?  And I say, yes, I have!  Very impressive.  Then she goes on and says, then she majored in English and met this boy who majored in political science and Spanish and then they went to NYC to work for something called Teach for America.  And she shook her head.  He’s a nice boy, but he will never have any money.  They will never have any money.  Did I nod?  Maybe I nodded.  And then she said and then she decided to go to Hopkins and become a nurse!  Can you believe it?  She’s now a nurse at an ICU in NYC and she tells me all the time how hard it is to be a nurse.  My daughter didn’t really understand it before.  And I laughed. 

A few days ago, I asked how her kids were doing and if her daughter was still doing OK in NYC at the ICU.  And then she showed me texts from her daughter holding up up signs protesting outside her hospital for safe staffing levels and texting – “I was born for this!”  And there you go, NYC nurses.  Good for you.

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