She was trained at St. John’s School of Nursing in Joplin, Mo. The nuns who ran it taught her how to work. “We worked 12-hour days,” she said. “The word ‘burnout’ wasn’t in our language.”
At age 18, with just three months of training, she went on night duty in one of the wards at St. John’s Hospital. As a student, she was paid a monthly allowance of $2.50.
After becoming a registered nurse, she worked at St. John’s as a private-duty nurse. Intensive-care and cardiac-care units didn’t exist. The families of severely ill patients hired private-duty nurses to stay in the patients’ rooms. She got $6 for each 20-hour shift.
“We were permitted to doze in the chair,” she said, “if the patient didn’t need anything.”
After a short stint at one other hospital, she spent 30 years at a hospital in
Carthage, Mo. She said she worked many 16-hour shifts when her children were still in college. Her first husband had died at age 44.
In 1969, she married William Schasteen, came to Paso Robles and worked at the Paso Robles District Hospital. When it closed in 1977, she went to Twin Cities, where she retired in 1992.
She had two sons, two daughters, eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Schasteen had found the key to a happy life. She told me “I feel real lucky doing something I’ve enjoyed all these years.”
Friday, January 18, 2008
Column pays tribute to former Carthage nurse
The San Luis Obispo Tribune in California, has a well-written tribute to a former Carthage nurse in today's edition. Millie Schasteen died earlier this week at age 92 and was a nurse in Carthage from the late 1930s until the late 1960s: