A friend once said that if you throw enough putty at the wall, something’s bound to stick! Well, here’s some unedited putty.
I’d been practicing nursing for 20+ years when I was diagnosed with lupus and fibromyalgia and there was a nasty bout with previously well-controlled epilepsy. I needed to stop working, stop practicing my chosen profession of nursing.
I began freelance writing to occupy my time and found instant success and satisfaction; hey, I had my own byline and received pay, (albeit poor), for articles! This was life affirming, and at the same time invalidated feelings of low self-esteem because I was no longer able to work in nursing.
Several years later, a new clinical editor was unable to increase my compensation for a column that I was editing, so she called to offer me a place on the magazine’s masthead instead. However, before doing that, she needed to do a routine background check and call me back.
I’ll never forget that telephone call. “Were you aware that your license is no longer active?” I hemmed and hawed a bit, then then realized the unpleasant truth. I had moved from one state to another and planned to apply for reciprocity in my new state – but forgot.
I felt naked and numb all at the same time. This license was part of my identity! As a result of my forgetfulness to renew my license, I was stripped of a title (RN) although no one could take away my degree (BSN).
In spite of the fact that I believe once you’re a nurse you’re always a nurse, I’m no longer registered and I can’t say that I belong to that larger collective of Registered Nurses. I’m not like ‘one of you’ anymore. I never thought that losing a license could make me feel so small and so humble and insignificant.