I quit my dream job in July of 2017 when we left Seattle to move to Boise. I immediately applied for an Idaho nursing license, and almost as immediately became pregnant with Dinah. Very shortly after that, Idaho released new requirements for maintaining a nursing license, including a minimum number of hours to complete in nursing work. Oops. I had been counting on Idaho’s lack of requirements when we decided to have another baby. Luckily, the requirements didn’t take immediate effect, and they can be met with online continuing education courses. So I carried on, not working while I vomited for seven months of my pregnancy with Dinah, then spent close to two years breastfeeding her, eighteen months of which I was pretty much her sole means of nutrition as she wouldn’t take a bottle and couldn’t eat anything.
So here I am, three and half years later, more immersed in the “stay at home mom” life than I ever expected to be (thanks COVID). My CCRN certification (Critical Care Registered Nurse) has expired as of September due to lack of work. If I can meet the requirements in the next three years (including a certain number of hours working in critical care) I can reactivate it. I’ve been watching all my former coworkers go through a living hell this past year and feeling like an absolute jerk because I have the ICU nurse training and skills to help out in this pandemic and have been sitting on the sidelines. At the same time, I’ve felt extremely grateful to have been able to stay home with my kids, help them through online schooling, and try to heal from my own COVID ordeal.
Back in March – before I knew how sick I was about to be and for how long – I had submitted an application to be a “surge” ICU nurse if they needed more hands on deck. I never heard back. More recently, I submitted an application for a different position: COVID hotline employee health nurse. I got the job. I start my orientation on Monday (online) and then begin in-person shifts the following weekend. It’s a per diem, temporary position. I’ll sign up for as many weekend shifts as I can for as long as they need me. I’ll be doing phone triage to determine who needs testing or quarantine, who is ready to be cleared to go back to work. There will be no direct contact with any of my patients, so I will be safe from exposure, but I also will be doing some good and helping in this ongoing crisis. Judging by the attitudes here in Idaho, that crisis could last awhile longer yet here.
I’m excited to be using my nursing license and training again. I’m grateful there’s a safe way for me to help, without jumping in the deep end of ICU after so long out of there. I’m thrilled about spending time out of the house, away from the kids, getting to interact with other adults. I’m very happy about the idea of doing something to contribute to our family’s financial wellness again. It really does seem to be a perfect position for me, and I’m grateful the opportunity has come my way.
Here’s to starting off 2021 with a big, positive change!