Nurse on an Island

One of the most interesting jobs I had as a young RN (Registered Nurse) was Private Duty Nursing.  The pay was terrific and the jobs were varied

A few times I worked in the hospital with a patient but mostly I worked in people’s homes.  Generally the patients were very wealthy and so I was exposed to luxurious homes all over the island of Bermuda. Working the afternoon and evening shifts, I dined with the rich and famous. I wandered about their palatial like homes and became friends with the Butler, maids, the chef and the Chauffeur. It was wildly exciting for me. The patients themselves were rarely seriously ill. They just had lots of money and needed someone to be there to give them medication, dress a wound, and watch over them. The photo I have included here shows the view of one home situated on its own private island. When I arrived at the dock, there was a huge brass bell I had to ring and the boatman would come over to collect me for work. Though the patient was one of the wealthiest men in the UK, he hired everyday locals to run his household. Here you see me with the boatman rowing me over to my patient’s Island.

At first I was somewhat intimidated by the splendor of their lifestyle but I soon fit in and learned to really love my patient. His wife of 50 years was deeply unhappy and she tended to take it out on her young nurses. She had a walking stick and would sometimes try to hit us. She used her manicured nails to try to scratch us but once I realized that she was so unhappy, somehow I got through to her and she became the sweet gentle old lady I believed her to always be. Because I was the evening nurse, I was a part of their ‘social’ events. We often went to cocktail parties together, entertained in their massive salon with Marie Antoinette tables and crazily expensive antiques.

I learned about wines and though I did not partake of such, I listened and learned.

The lesson I held onto always since then is that no matter how many race horses one owned in 6 different countries, this was not what brought peace and love into a home. Oh I had been taught that all my life but in those 8 months at that job, I lived this message.

5 responses

  1. You look sweet in that photo. Btw, thanks for taking me to see the island when I was in Bermuda in August. I loved seeing where you once worked. What an exciting experience. Seems you also learned a few lessons while on that job. Glad you didn’t get hit with the walking stick!!!

  2. I recall one evening the butler telling them that for dessert, it would be ‘bananas flambe’. The patient with his frightfully British accent said, “When I was growing up we were too rich to eat bananas” I looked and him and said, “We were poor enough to not have bananas as often as we would have liked”

  3. Nursing opened a lot of great and memorable adventures for us. Because of the profession, we went to places that only others dream about. Met amazing people that made us into richer more compassionate individuals. Beautiful post that inspires. Thanks….

    • Thank you. I take it from your profile that you are on one of “the islands”….looks a little like Barbados to me but it could be anywhere tropical. I have lived all my adult life here in Bermuda and I am a real islander now too.
      Lots of stories to tell throughout the years.
      Welcome to the blog….

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