Nurse leaves job at hospital to drive an 18-wheeler

Leah Gorham, 42, mentioned she cherished being a nurse however frustrations over persistent employees shortages — which she mentioned began earlier than the Covid-19 pandemic — and a scarcity of development led her to search for new alternatives.

Her boyfriend, who’s additionally a truck driver and an impartial owner-operator, recommended she may like life on the open highway.

“I was just going to regret my career being where it was and not being able to advance was really maddening to me,” Gorham advised NCS. “So I just I needed to do something else.”

Gorham enrolled in a 12-week truck-driving program final October, spending nearly $8,000 ($10,000 Canadian) to get her license.

Leah Gorham is seeing a lot more of the US and Canada from behind the wheel.

Now she and her boyfriend drive collectively.

“Eventually, we’re going to be trading off like, I’m going to sleep when he’s driving, but right now, while I’m still training … it’s almost like we’re one independent super-driver,” she mentioned.

Gorham talked to NCS from a truck cease in Tom Brooks, Virginia, on Wednesday the place the couple had stopped on the best way to South Carolina. They had been headed again north on Friday to haul a load of tires to Quebec and can then make a run to Indiana.

Before she began driving, Gorham hadn’t traveled a lot, and even left New Brunswick Province fairly often over the previous 20 years.

Now, she’s getting to see numerous the US and Canada from the cab of the 18-wheeler.

National Guard steps in to alleviate pressure on hospital overwhelmed by Omicron wave

Gorham was impressed to change into a licensed sensible nurse (LPN) by the healthcare staff who cared for her dad, who died of pancreatic most cancers at 40.

“It was something that I just took off with, and I absolutely loved it and for a long time,” she mentioned. “I couldn’t even imagine doing anything else.”

Gorham labored at St. John Regional Hospital in New Brunswick for nearly 16 years in neurosurgery after which normal surgical procedure. She utilized to return to faculty for her bachelor’s diploma, so she might change into a registered nurse, however her functions saved getting rejected.

Gorham mentioned she’d gotten about as excessive as she might on the profession ladder with out upgrading her {qualifications}.

The New Brunswick authorities has been working to increase the number of available nursing faculty seats within the province, and a 2019 report by the Department of Health predicted a scarcity of 130 nurses per 12 months over the following 10 years — and that was earlier than the strains attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This nursing problem has been there my entire career, Gorham said. “The pandemic is simply exhibiting the true stress of the scenario.”

The New Brunswick Nurses Union told the CBC, a NCS news partner, the province has 1,000 registered nurse vacancies between nursing homes and the regional health authorities.

The union said there’s also a shortage of some 300 licensed practical nurses, the CBC reported.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said Friday the infections from the Omicron variant could have peaked nationally.
“However, day by day hospital and ICU numbers are nonetheless rising steeply, and lots of hospitals throughout Canada are underneath intense pressure,” Tam said.

Gorham mentioned the employees scarcity was arduous on everybody and “there was no finish in sight.”

New rule will allow 18-year-olds to drive semi trucks across state lines

But Gorham does miss nursing and the individuals she labored with and has great respect for the arduous work they do. She’s saved her license on an inactive standing, so she might return to nursing.

“I do have time to see [if] perhaps I need to return casually or one thing like that simply to keep my license as a result of, I put my time in I did actually adore it,” she said.

But for now, she’s really happy behind the wheel.

Leah Gorham was an LPN for almost 16 years.

Gorham’s solely gotten one paycheck to date, however mentioned it was greater than she bought at her outdated job.

“What we’re excited by is type of having the liberty and never pushing that actual arduous and nonetheless residing,” she said. “It’s type of only a steadiness. We do not want to be wealthy over this.”

Gorham said driving is more relaxed than the hectic, always-on-the-go life at the hospital, but maneuvering the massive, 13-speed vehicle presents new challenges.

“It just isn’t something like my commonplace automotive,” she said. “There’s numerous hazards concerned in it. I discover lots of people are unaware how tough it truly is.”