My apologies for being absent most of the week. Things got a little (more than usual) crazy around our house.
Most of you won't know as we hadn't really advertised it until now, but Gareth's job situation is not good. He loves his job and the company he works for, and he loves the training he's doing, but the oil and gas industry is experiencing very difficult times economically right now. We survived the first round of lay-offs last Spring and then unpaid leave in the Summer. We survived a second round of lay-offs last month, but his company hasn't had a new contract for more than 3 quarters now and more lay-offs appear to be imminent. More work does not appear to be imminent. And, despite noises about the recession ending, the thought in the oil and gas industry at the minute is that there is no expectation of improvement for at least another couple of years.
Anyhow, all of that to say that we are aware that Gareth's continued employment is very tenuous at the minute. And, although he has permanent residency status and pays taxes, we are unsure that he qualifies for unemployment benefits. So, we have had a couple of weeks of being very concerned and some very late nights praying for peace and calm and then discussions about what prudent steps we could/should take.
In the end, we have agreed that it would be wise for me to work towards re-licensing as a Registered Nurse. This is a possibility that we talked about two years ago when we were working out how to pay for an adoption, but God closed those doors for us at that time. This time, the doors appear to be wide open, so after prayer and discussion, we have walked through them.
I have been out of college for 12 years and haven't worked for almost 7 of those, so I will need to take a refresher course (70 hours of online review, 10 hours of skills lab practice, and then 80 hours of supervised clinical practice). Once that is done, I will qualify to resit the NCLEX-RN (licensure exam). (I cannot even begin to describe to you how daunting a prospect re-sitting the NCLEX is! After taking it the first time, I told myself I would never do it again. Funny how these things have a way of coming back to haunt you!)
So, this week I have been filling out applications, getting titers drawn to prove my immunity to all of the various nasties you have to be vaccinated for before working as a nurse, and getting enrolled to update my Basic Life Support certification. And, I've begun my review. (It's just as well that Gareth is gone by the time I get my shower in the mornings-I think he might laugh a lot at the sound of my chanting my serum electrolyte levels, normal blood counts, and ABG levels in the shower!)
It is our hope that I will be able to start my online review by the end of April and work at it (around the kids' homeschool and family responsibilities) with plans to be complete it by mid-June. This would leave me July and August (our homeschool summer break) to complete my skills lab and clinical work before the munchkins and I start 2nd grade/kindergarten/pre-school in September. Of course, if Gareth does end up un-employed, then I would move full-time into finishing requirements and taking the NCLEX so that I could work as quickly as possible.
It might get a little hairy around here for awhile, but I am feeling very upbeat about it. I have been working on a new schedule that will block out study time for me every day (I'll need it if I'm going to get caught up. My "nursing" brain has been in a coma since the day I left my last job).
Once I do get my license, then the hope is that I will be able to work week-ends in order to pay for the cost of re-licensing. Once that is done, then I'll just try to pick up a couple of shifts a month and some Continuing Education Hours in order to maintain my license (Really, I hope I never, ever, ever need to take the NCLEX again!).
So, if you run into me out and about and I'm chanting bizarre sounding strings of words and numbers, just try to ignore it. I'm only studying. Oh, and if you think about it, I sure would appreciate your prayers for energy and endurance and wisdom as I balance my roles as Wife, Mommy, Teacher, Domestic Goddess, and now student...
And, I'm sure that Gareth would appreciate your prayers as well. The constant stress of knowing that your job is not certain is very wearing, and we both need to learn to trust God more in this area.