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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 31, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Unemployment

A new experience for an experienced nurse

There is great wisdom in the old saying, “Walk a mile in my shoes.” Over the coming weeks, as my severance pay dwindles while I search for meaningful work, I will join the ranks of millions traveling virtual miles on the Web, seeking re-employment.

Luckier than most, I have nursing shoes to fill, but I have learned a sobering lesson about ageism. My years of experience and broad knowledge base come at a price for any potential employer. Union rules dictate that a nurse’s salary reflect the importance of his or her experience — this makes the youngest nurses among us the most fiscally desirable for potential employers.

For years working in a home health setting, I have seen the world through the eyes of people living with transient, chronic and terminal illnesses. Many of these people met my gaze with gratitude when they realized how much I valued their strength as they lived though vulnerable times.

As my search for a new role in nursing continues, I hope to see in the gaze of potential employers a similar appreciation for my strengths as I handle my newfound vulnerability.

— Pam Silverstein, Seattle

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