Woman searches for purpose, job after state order

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Lewisburg woman says she's a victim of Catch-22 situations and wants to work toward reinstatement of her nursing license, but a recommended program costs too much, so she can't.

As a result, Mary Giles, 30, of Tyree Road, has concluded, "Maybe it wasn't meant for me to go back into nursing. I still feel there's a purpose in this. It's got to be for the best. I'll continue my search for God's purpose for me."

The Tennessee Nursing Board order states Giles was fired from a nursing home in Fayetteville as a result of a drug test and Giles confirms the chain of events, but wants her side of the story told.

She explains that she fell asleep at the wheel driving home on a Tuesday after working 16-1/2 hours in late January. Her SUV crashed off the Fayetteville Road between Belfast and Petersburg. An ambulance took her to the hospital here where she received an injection of morphine, she said.

Two days later, she called the nursing home, saying she couldn't work, but was told to report for duty at 7 p.m. that Friday or lose her job, Giles said while responding to a news story that based on public records issued by the state Health Department

Subsequently, in her third 12-hour shift, she was taken to the Fayetteville hospital where she consented to urinalysis, Giles said. Morphine and other drugs were found in her system and she was dismissed, although, as she explained, she was working to keep her job. She says she had prescriptions and received the shot at the emergency room, but the issue was whether her ability to do her job was impaired. She says she was OK, but can't deny results of the test.

The Tennessee Nursing Board order included a way for her to participate in a program, but Giles said Monday she's discovered there's no government funding for her participation now, nor are there openings at Buffalo Valley here or at Place of Hope in Columbia until next year.

Without a grant, Giles said the program costs $2,700 with $678 down and $125 for each day she participates. She'd also face a $400 examination before admission, she said.

"I don't have that kind of money," Giles said. "It's terrible."

Now, she's looking for work, and has been to the Career Center, but receives unemployment benefits.

During a telephone interview on Sunday she was asked why she'd not turned to other careers. She replied, "Nursing for me is not just a job. Seeing those patients during their last days, I wanted to make sure their needs were met."

She also asked, "I'd love to go back and help these people, but at what cost? Is it worth it?"

Monday, she realized she's stuck between her question on value and the price of treatment that she doesn't think is necessary for her, although her attendance might help someone else in the program.