Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Letting the License Lapse

Yesterday the renewal notice for my nursing license arrived in the mail. I threw it in the garbage.

My license is due to expire November 30. To renew, I would need to pay a fee of $215, and to check two out of three boxes: 30 hours of nursing education, 320 hours of nursing employment or 30 hours of volunteer nursing professional activities. This is something I could accomplish, but I simply don't want to anymore.

It was a good choice of a profession for me. I was 19, working part time at a hospital and enrolled full time at a university when I decided to major in nursing. I really wanted to be a paramedic at that point but it seemed silly to drop out of a four year college to go get a certificate at a junior college. I also thought, correctly, that I would have more flexibility and mobility with a nursing degree and I could always work as an ER nurse.

I did work 11 years in an ER which was my favorite job overall. I also worked on post-op surgical wards, in a public health clinic for a year, in a surgeon's office, and in a tiny clinic in a very small town where I did blood tests with a microscope and took and developed lousy Xrays all by myself. I worked for the Peace Corps in Zambia. I then worked 10 more years at the Juneau hospital, in the OR, in recovery and in the Same Day Surgery unit. When I quit to go to Mexico for a year, I pretty much knew I would not be coming back.

I may work again but I am no longer a nurse. It was right for me for so many years, a way to make a difference, to connect with people, to do something important with my day but it is over. The lapsed license seals the deal.

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