Drawing Writing Inspiration From My Day Job as a Nurse
Many of us, me included, would choose a different career path, if we had our time over again. As many of my readers know, I work as an Aged Care Clinical Nurse Consultant in my day job. I am also highly skilled in Dementia and Delirium care. My job as a nurse is the one that pays the bills.
Although I love what I do, writing is my true passion. If a Jeanie popped out of a bottle and granted a wish to go back in time and change my chosen career, I would be an English teacher, an editor, a journalist, or a content writer. I have no regrets however, as my nursing career has been a great source of inspiration for my stories.
I write light hearted fiction, and let me tell you, my nursing career has come in very handy when creating funny stories. I think many of my fellow nurses would agree that you have to have a wicked, and often dark sense of humour to survive nursing.
Nurses not only see rather weird and whacky things on an almost daily basis, we are in a position of great privilege. We often hear the most wonderful stories from our patients, stories of grief, joy, love, loss, adventure, and everything in-between.
This is amplified in the most wonderful way with the population I care for. Older people possess such wisdom, and a great deal of life experience. They have seen and experienced so much throughout their long lives.
One of my published books and two of my current works in progress, have storylines or elements inspired by my life as a nurse. In ‘Making March’, our protagonist Kate is a Care Manager in a Nursing Home. Throughout her diary entries, Kate often refers to the funny side of nursing.
Here are a few excerpts from the book;
Other reasons you know you have been nursing for too long include, forgetting where your car keys are and wondering if you have early onset dementia, wanting to meet the person who invented the call bell, and not to say thank you, considering a medicine cup to be a perfectly good drinking receptacle, and thinking a tongue depressor is just as good as a spoon.
Nurses are excellent at improvising as we are often forced to work with limited resources, and within a measly budget. If need be, we could probably throw together an emergency sling out of a pillow slip, one bobby pin, two hairclips, and some used paddle pop sticks. That’s Mrs MacGyver to you!
My day only got worse, mind you, with one blocked toilet, two complaints, one nasty fall resulting in a swift trip to hospital for one resident, two finger-painting incidents that are better left undescribed, and two deaths. No lunch break, a bladder threatening to burst at any given moment like a water balloon, and a trip to the morgue to retrieve a wedding ring along with a very disturbing attempt to put a pair of dentures back in as per one grieving daughter’s request.
Nursing has taught me a lot over the years. These are just some of those things. Not everyone will be happy that you have all your clocks set to military time, hospitals are the only place where being positive is actually a negative, as soon as you put on a pair of sterile gloves your nose will itch, and a code brown does not mean someone brought chocolate cake.
So, as you can see, nurses have to improvise, and have a great sense of humour. Kate is no exception. Her job, provided lots of funny stories throughout the book.
My upcoming novella titled ‘Not Dead Yet’ is based on a story a patient told me last year. She recently lost her husband of fifty one years, and it had been twelve months since he died. She had an old childhood friend who recently moved up to Queensland to go into a Nursing Home close to her sister, who was her only family. The patient told me she decided to sell up her home in Sydney and move to a retirement village in Queensland to be close to her friend and offer support.
This got me thinking about the complex decisions we face as we get older, and need more support to stay independent. The book tells the story of seventy-one year old Mary. Mary experiences the same as my patient, but with a few humorous hurdles thrown in for good measure.
Here is the blurb:
After some convincing from her family, Mary decides to sell her home in Sydney, and move to a Retirement Village in Queensland. Mary has always enjoyed her own company and struggles with the many personalities she encounters in the village. There are two things Mary won’t tolerate. Idiots, and nasty women. Unfortunately for her, the village is full of them. Has Mary made a mistake moving there, or will she find something wonderful?
My upcoming novel titled ‘Scattered Scones’ is based on another patient’s story that broke my heart, but had a very happy ending. Her heart-warming story inspired me, giving me the idea for the book. In this story we meet fifty-two year old Penny who receives a devastating diagnosis of early onset dementia.
5 years prior, Penny moved from Sydney to Adelaide with her new husband and ten year old daughter, along with her best friend, to fulfil their lifelong dream of running a bakery in the Adelaide Hills.
On top of dealing with her diagnosis, Penny’s marriage in in disarray, she suspects her husband is having an affair, she misses her ex, and she has had no contact with her adult daughter back in Sydney for many years.
The book tackles a difficult subject, but with lots of light hearted moments along the way.
Here is the blurb:
A shock diagnosis, an unhappy marriage, one ex-husband, one estranged daughter, and one impromptu road trip that may be just what she needed.
I am sure I will continue to draw inspiration from my career as a nurse. People, their relationships, their trials and tribulations, their joy, their heartache, and their spirit, are always at the heart of a good story. There are not a lot of jobs where you get to hear so many, and varied different stories from all walks of life.