Reflections on the Joplin Tornado, Nearly 4 Years On...

kmreid

EF1
Mar 3, 2011
89
1
6
Arkansas
I am considering a career change, and nursing is the top of my list currently, so this was incredibly insightful for me to read. I appreciate the jobs that doctors and nurses are expected to do on a daily basis, but even more so during a disaster. I suppose working together in a situation like that would be like running a fine tuned machine, where all the parts have to work together.
 
Jun 14, 2009
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Altoona, Iowa
toddrector.com
I am considering a career change, and nursing is the top of my list currently
I was a Firefighter/EMT-P for 11 years, but in retrospect should have got a nursing degree and then challenged the Paramedic curriculum. Pay is a little short and hours can be long, but working in the medical field makes a tangible difference in people's lives, and it's by far the most rewarding and personally satisfying career I have had. Even after I pursued a career in the IT field, I worked for three years part time (every third night) on an overnight crew on the Altoona Fire Department just because I loved it so much. I would have even been a volunteer if we had not been a fully staffed, paid department.

I strongly encourage you to follow your instinct, if it is leading you into nursing.
 

kmreid

EF1
Mar 3, 2011
89
1
6
Arkansas
I strongly encourage you to follow your instinct, if it is leading you into nursing.
I greatly appreciate the words of encouragement! It has been a huge decision for my family and I to make, but I think it is for the best. I have always been fascinated by the medical field, but I just now feel that I am at a point to where I can go through the coursework and be successful at it. I plan on getting my BSN and actually becoming a RN.

Nothing says that you can't go to college now. There are many nursing students that are older (I am 32 currently), and if you feel that you want to go that direction, then I think it would be a great idea for you to do so as well. You already have some experience, so some of it should come a bit more naturally to you. As I mentioned before, I greatly appreciate workers in the medical field. It is a very hard but very rewarding career! Not everyone can save lives as part of their jobs! I just hope that I am cut out for it! At least I would be able to feel like I could help more if I happened upon a disaster, whereas right now, I wouldn't feel confident that I could do a whole lot (except get in the way).
 
Jun 14, 2009
328
155
11
Altoona, Iowa
toddrector.com
Ha! Thank you @kmreid for your words of encouragement, but my path is chosen (I earn a very nice living in information technology, and hope to retire in a few years at the ripe age of 55 or so). Honestly, I can see myself going part time at the fire department again after I retire, but the continuing education and physical agility requirements make part time work difficult, as part-timers have to maintain the same certifications as the career FF/Medics do, plus the mandatory annual physical agility test is BRUTAL and designed to remind us older guys we are not 25 anymore.

Back to YOU, though - DO IT. Give it a shot, especially if you have the support of your family. If you don't like your direction, evaluate and adjust. Just don't regret later because you didn't try.

I think I gave similar advice to my daughter when she was a junior in high school... She decided to go to Summer school so she could graduate a year early, and 8 years later is now an R.N. specializing in micro-robotic surgery. She is on a surgical team at a level-1 trauma center and literally holds people's lives in her hands daily.

"On the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of decision, sat down to wait, and while waiting, died."

Best wishes to you.

TR
 

kmreid

EF1
Mar 3, 2011
89
1
6
Arkansas
I couldn't rightfully blame you then! ;) If you've already had your feet firmly planted and things have worked out for you, then why change it now? Yeah, those guys have pretty busy lives from what I can gather!

Your daughter sounds amazing! That would be an amazing specialty to be involved in! In my perfect world, OB/GYN, L&D, or anything related to outpatient surgery would be my personal preference at this point, but it could all change when I start doing my clinical rotations.

Thanks so much, truly. I have went back and forth many times, and the words of encouragement are perfectly timed. I have my college enrollment papers on hand, just have to get them turned in.
 
Aug 16, 2009
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Amarillo, TX
Here's an interesting thing. If you go to Google Earth right now, you can see the scar in the city left by the tornado. Not sure how old this image is, but its whatever is on Google Earth.

 
Interesting...yes, that's a 2015 landsat image. If you zoom in you can see lots of empty lots alongside some rebuilt houses. Even more interesting, when I zoom in to street view it transitions suddenly from the vacant lots to pre-tornado street-view images in 2011! kind of eerie....
Correction: that can't be a 2105 image cause when I zoom in to street views from 2012, there are rebuilt homes that don't exist in the zoomed-out version. So who knows..
 
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Aug 16, 2009
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Amarillo, TX
Thanks Greg! Its crazy to see so many blank slabs and empty lots 3 and a half years later. We went by Joplin a year after in happened in May 2012. We walked around on 20th Street across from St John's. As creepy and morbid as it sounds, there was a certain heaviness in the air. The first thing my head thought was this is what being surrounded by death feels like. It definitely was a somber and humble experience. I'll never forget it.
 
Mar 22, 2015
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Sycamore, IL
I drove through Joplin in 2014, and that scar on the map is just as visible from the ground. There are still large areas of property that are just blank. They have not been rebuilt upon. I think I saw a headline about the hospital there just reopening?
 
Aug 16, 2009
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Amarillo, TX
They had just begun tearing down the hospital around the one year anniversary. There were also still entire lots that were being used as temporary debris mountains. The progress has indeed been slow in Joplin. Not sure if it's a lack of funds, planning, or morale. Quite a depressing site.