Barely a month later [after interviewing for the position], I sat in my new office at Valparaiso University and watched laughing college students walk by. My enthusiasm matched theirs. The camaraderie among the female faculty, diverse student body, and two-person office staff in the College of Nursing erased any concerns I had over the one-hour commute from Palos Heights.
My teaching load consisted of an orientation-type semester—at full pay: just two clinical sections of eleven students each, plus auditing a psychiatric nursing theory course so I could teach it the next semester. Because morning clinicals started early, I treated myself to dinner, a barbeque sandwich and root beer float at Al’s Diner, and stayed overnight at a Super 8, enjoying my interruption-free evening propped up in bed grading care plans.
A few weeks into the semester, a colleague became ill, and I was assigned to teach the theory course and take on a third clinical group. Teaching three groups involved going to two psychiatric facilities. I graded thirty-three care plans weekly and the same number of thirty-page case studies at the end of the semester.