I am currently facing an interesting dilemma...opinions received open heartedly! I have recently made a big transition in my life. Well, several..LOL I will give you a basic guideline so you can understand my situation. About 4 years ago my husband passed away. There was a lot of issues surrounding all of this obviously, but one of them was that his family came after all of his belongings and threatened me with numerous things. I eventually couldn't stand living in fear for my life anymore and walked away from my house to find a better environment for my son and myself. I went back to my old fire department where I had friends, support, and safety. As I got my feet back under me I ended up in a new relationship and had taken the position as training officer on the department. I got my FF1 and various other wildland certs. I was also running on the ambulance and on search and rescue. It was my perfect world almost. My whole life I have been fascinated and passionate about emergency services. I find myself totally content when working in this field. I was fortunate in that I had some really great friends that helped me with my son. They would run to the scene and pick him up or I could drop him off in route. Then things went sour with my boyfriend. He started being very harsh with my son, and we needed to end it. My son took this all very hard. Even though he was getting hurt by my ex he still wanted him in his life. The loss of 2 father figures in his life was very difficult. Around the same time my support system fell apart as my friends moved out of town. It became increasingly difficult to respond to calls, I was running out of paying work as well. I could see that dropping my son off with different people each time I had a call was getting hard on him and I needed to make a change very soon. I started looking at the possibility of joining a paid Fire department. The more I looked into it it didnt seem feasible in my situation. I would have to move to a city where I had no support and the places I was looking also required paramedic licensing(I was a basic) Plus they were all running 24 or 48 hour shifts and I knew I couldnt throw Devon into this new situation in such an unstable state. So, I started looking into getting my paramedic and getting on an ambulance crew. I spoke to all of my wiser paramedic friends and seemed to get the same advice over and over. They were getting older and had no way of retiring and the pay for paramedics was bad. I was advised to look into nursing. So, I did. It didnt seem like a good fit for me, I liked what I was doing, but the more i saw the struggle in my son the more I considered it. Finally I decided to go for it and find a good place for us to go in order for me to accomplish this. I convinced myself that I could still be involved with volunteer departments and that I might be able to get on a flight crew or work in the Emergency Department and that would suit me better. So, here I am on the entire other side of the country. I am near one of my friends that was part of the support group of friends that had moved from my previous location(she found the school for me-near her of course ;) I am going to school, and my son is settling in nicely. But, there is this naggin concern inside that I am making a mistake going into nursing. I'm afraid I wont be as passionate about it, and I really dont want to give up Fire, ambulance and search and rescue. I have recently applied at the local volunteer department, and am awaiting a background check. I know that education wont hurt me, and nursing is a good paying career that has a more condusive schedule for single parenting. I like helping people. I dont like the hospital environment in general, but think i could handle the ER, or a flight crew. I know that no one can tell me if I am doing the right thing, but I would like some opinions on the situation. What are you doing? and how does it work out? How are your kids dealing with it? etc.? To me taking a job in nursing is the sacrifice I am making for my child. If I were on my own, money wouldnt matter to me, I would just do what I loved doing, but now I have to look out for what makes both of us happy. Thanks for reading my rant.. :)

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Hi, I just read over your situation; I think everyone has to make their own choice. i know that if I had to give up the Fire Service, it would suck; But I would do it for my children. Fortunatly, I have not been put it that situation yet. Our dept works 12 shifts, so it is easier on my boys. But all in all, you have to do what yo think is best...
thanks for replying.. after being out of service for this last term of school, it has become obvious to me that I want to be involved in fire and rescue too much to give it up entirely.. I have my interview with the local department next week and plan on becoming a member here while I go to school. They even have a couple part time positions on the ambulance, so it wont demand as much of my time. It also sounds like there is a department down the road that does 12's, so that has got my interest as well, i think I will wait til after this next term while going to school and on the local department and see how it works out.
Just had to comment. My spouse did not pass away, but raising kids as a single mom is tough no matter the circumstances. At 20, I wanted to be a flight nurse. I got my basic license and instead of following my dreams at that time, I got married. After my first divorce I wanted to go the Paramedic route too, but a very wise friend asked me how many more years could I continually lift. Instead, I went to LPN school. My oldest daughter was 7 and I needed a career, not a job. I remarried during that time and had another daughter. After LPN school I started taking the core classes to get into RN school, was working fulltime, and dealing with a cheating husband. After that divorce, that ended with domestic volence, I moved next door to my parents, joined the fire department I had grown up in and finished RN school. I started as a tech at the local hospital and now am in the ER. I work fulltime locally and PRN in another ER. It's got to be really tough for you. I've had lots of help from family and friends and don't think I could have made it without them. I still wonder what if but you'll love working ER most of the time. Sometimes it's clinic but when it's real, there's nothing quite like it. I'm still preparing for the flight nurse thing. I need about another year of critical care experience. Good luck and hang in there!
Hi my situation is alittle similar. My husband who is a paramedic and firefighter moved out this past summer. I was always discouraged from joining the Department here(volunteer) and that I would have my turn later. When he left I joined the department and started nursing school. I have a good support group and since I started the department, I feel awake for the first time. I love it. Granted The pay isn't great for Paramedics here either. So I'm working towards becoming a flight nurse. I'm also taking EMT classes next month. My children do come first. My nursing classes are when they are in school and EMT is two nights a week. Besides most paramedics eventually bridge to Rn because the pay is better anyway. If you settle for less then what you are could you truly be happy with yourself? Good Luck!
Why don't keep trying to find a way to make it work. If this is really what you want then do it. I rather see someone like you live your dream Windy. If you don't like nursing then get out of it ! I am so miserable in my current job and had plenty of opptunities to go places where my passion would help wake me in the mornings instead of waking up and saying dam why did I do this instead of that.

As far as support for your son while you are working there are other firefighters who have family members that could help.

I think if you hang in there and don't quit you well find a way to live your dream of being what ever you want!!! I dont want another me walking around in this world. go with what your heart tells you to do.. The end result we be a happer Windy and your son well pick up on that rather quickly.

Best of luck to you and stay safe
Thankyou for your reply! It is encouraging to know that others have managed with similar situations. I am slowly building a small support group in our new area and, as time goes on, I'm sure that will build. :o)
Thanks Steve! I did decide to join the local fire department after all. I couldnt handle hearing the sirens all the time and not being a part of it..lol So, here I am and I am sorta going with the flow. I have been taking all of the necessary prerequisites for nursing, and still remaining involved with fire. Different opportunities are opening up for me as well. I am waiting to hear back from the nursing school to see if I have been accepted for next fall, and if I am not, I am considering putting in for a paid fire job in a nearby town. They run 12 hour shifts, so it would be a much better schedule for child care. I appreciate the advice. I definately dont want to get stuck in a career that I don't like. I wish you luck in all your endeavors!
Kia Ora (Hi) Firegal77

What a story of your husband passing and the family that came in and threw their weight around( who are these people) and you left this safe environment and headed for the safety of friends who you knew were there for you and your boy, and someone special to boot .

Oh oh…and I thought it was going well. It’s a sad case of affairs when we lose someone and a new role model didn’t plan out as well. It takes strength to do it a second time ( I mean leaving someone who you thought was MR Right). Two father figure, poor Devon and you and with all the hassles and ups and downs you had undergone is amazing Mother  and to look outside your safety zone must have taken some though and courage, as we do as single parents – sometimes we try anything and everything to make it all work and sometimes it disappears like the wind….

Decision , Decision when will it end, as for Paramedic, the pay is not so great so I went and got myself a real job, that gave me more options with what I had in the hand to go and have quality time with my two kids aged 10 years last week. They are twins, and your story is similar to mine and I am sure there are plenty of other single parents who have been in similar position. I went to varsity and completed a BSW (bachelor of Social Work) 4 years to complete, but the time studying and the extra money I get has put me financially and our wellbeing into a better place.

It wasn’t easy to go from pillar to post and lots and lots of friends and family got behind me to ensure that both my kids were cared for as I went back to school. I didn’t think about the volunteer fire, search & rescue, but I focus on my two kids ( and me of course) and that meant if I completed my BSW, life would be different both finically and for my kids. I can remember study ( most nights) and there were times when I started asking questions, is this the right path………but once I started and got into it, the years went by and suddenly, I was wearing my cap and gown – how proud I was and my kids…Its been the best decision I eva made.

Now I have worked in various departments, Justice, Welfare, Education and Health with my degree and its allowed me to go places I though impossible and now money is secondary as it was always first……..I’m glad you are working through the process both in your mind, the wellbeing of Devon and including yourself, only you can make the decision and what eva you chose, think of the journey it will take you on………………………………….and as for volunteer services, be it ambulance, search & rescue or as FF, will always need the like of US/Volunteers to help fellow colleagues and most important of all OUR communities…….

You may be training as a Nurse, but nurses do more than just nurse, there are specialist areas of expertise ( check it out) as you may find yourself enjoying something new and new challenges 

You said Firegal77, sacrifice – we all have to make them sometime, I can only say that the journey ahead always is fraught with the unknown but also can be revitalizing, getting another perspective in life, and in this case yours and Devon

All the best out there Fgal77 and keep in touch and keep going forwad

Victor from New Zealand.


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