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.