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Massachusetts Association of Occupational Health Nurses

My Occupational Health story: Joan Chane

Posted 2 months ago by Nancy Clover

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Occupational Health Story -  Joan Chane

 

Mom told me I would become a nurse when I was about 10 years old – I never questioned it – The choice was simple.

So it started with a certificate program after high school at Mercy Hospital. This was the beginning of a long road to achieve what I searched for – After two years in a three year program, I was hopelessly in love with the man I married. My plan was not the same as the school program, so I left to begin a new life – In hind sight, had I stayed to complete the program and graduated with a certificate, I would not have gone on to earn collegiate degrees.  I also vowed never to close a door that opened for me.

Never regretted my choice, but knew that I would find a way to become an RN. And I was supported the whole way by my husband who encouraged me.  I started off at Essex Aggie for the LPN bringing along those credits from the previous program. It cut my program in half, and it was the easiest way to be able to work in nursing. 

By then, I had 3 sons and a home responsibility. I resolved to go onward. Again bringing forward past school credits and challenging out of the basic college courses like history, biology and two semesters of English Comp through a CLEP program, I went forward at North Shore Community College.  With my Chane gang now in elementary school, this part was easy. That earned me a second year start on an Associate’s Degree.

My first real nursing job was nights at Beverly Hospital doing floor duty, then ranging out to specialty areas and finally ended up in the Emergency Department. Working nights allowed me to work and also be home during the day for the family –

Beverly Hospital offered incentive for college classes with Northeastern University, which I took advantage of. One class at a time, heading for the Bachelor’s Degree.

After earning the Bachelor’s Degree, I changed working hours to days. My sons were older and not needing my constant attention. I had achieved what I wanted, or so I thought. Northeastern University, offered two nurses, one graduate class per semester to train their paramedics in our Emergency Room.  I jumped at the chance to take advanced nursing classes without a real goal in mind.

As life would have it, the hospital had a lay-off and I was on my way to a Master’s Degree. The door opened and I was offered a position with WORKWell, Occupational Medicine and Employee Health. This was an off shoot of the North Shore Medical Center (NSMC), located close to home and the hours were good for me. I worked in conjunction with the Employee Health Department at the main hospital. This setting offered all the concepts of occupational health, from immunizations, drug testing, pre-employments, injury management etc and what a wonderful group of people to work with – I was hooked.

Here I was, older. At the cross roads between a masters, matriculating into a nurse practitioner program and working as an RN in a field, I enjoyed. I was hired to work part time in the office and part time doing compliancy at NSMC. Perfect – I could be flexible for Northeastern U continuing the remaining courses and also manage compliancy covering all shifts doing shots, PPD’s and the influenza program.

Another door opened when at NSMC when a position opened up in employee health -  It was not clear sailing – I felt like a fledgling and it took about a year for me to really fly my wings. Injury and work compensation management was a whole new world. This was a small office with an awesome admin and an LPN. We made it work.  We handled we handled everything related to the employees of NSMC and WORKWell contracted with outside organizations.

Several years down the line, I met (and that is a misnomer) a gal named Nancy. Her staff was a perfect fit for filling office staff needs. When I retired, this was where I was going to go. Had too much energy to really retired but when it was time, a phone call to the person whom I had never met and life began at OHS connections-

Always 4 miles to and from work, now I was sailing into Boston and all the surrounding areas to a myriad of companies. Loved it and to this day (as crazy as it may seem in my old age), I enjoy jumping into the fray call influenza season. I had and have the most fantastic boss, re-connect with those occ health nurses I have met over the years and catch up on all of the wonderful experiences