Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dear Nursing School Student

'Tis the season to go back to school!  Whether you are still taking pre-reqs to get into nursing school or have already negotiated the labyrinth of nursing school admission and are now a bona fide student, this post is for you.

Hang in there.  YOU CAN DO THIS.

Getting in and successfully completing nursing school is a ridiculously complex process.

  • Pre-requisite classes to make A's in.
  • Financial aid to procure.
  • Background checks.
  • Immunizations to get updated.
  • CPR certifications to maintain.
  • Silly forms to fill out, the list of which seems to change minute by minute (or at least semester by semester) and nobody really knows for sure the comprehensive list of said nebulous forms.

I was naive going into nursing school.  I arrogantly thought, "I have a four year degree already, I can get a two-year degree--no problem."  Nursing school helps curb arrogance, by the way.  Yes, there were some things about going back to school for the second time (as a 26 year old) that made it easier than the first time around (as an 18 year old).  For example, I was (a little) better at time management the second time around.  But my Associate's Degree of Nursing from Wake Tech Community College was way, way harder than my Bachelor's of Animal Science from N.C. State.  Part of the challenge of my second degree was that I cared a whole lot more about doing well in my classes than I did while a student at NCSU.  It is, in fact, harder to make As than it is to make Bs and Cs.  I slacked my way through the academic portion of my Wolfpack days.  I'm not proud of that fact, but I can't change it now.  I decided before nursing school that I would never again half-ass my way through school.

You have to decide how badly you want this nursing degree.  There will be many occasions before, during, and even after school when you start working when you will question whether or not this was a good idea.  Some of you will decide it's not for you.  For some of you, your instructors will try to decide FOR you that nursing school isn't for you.  If you want it, though, you'll have to fight for it.  You'll have to prove to yourself, to that clinical instructor that has you in her cross-hairs, to the preceptor that's bitter about her job and taking it out on you, to your family that thinks you've fallen off the face of the Earth, that YOU CAN DO THIS.  

I have a soft spot in my heart for you nursing students.  I want you to know that there's a light at the end of the tunnel.  You will survive.  You will eventually get to sign your name with ", RN".  (which you may do on credit card receipts too, however unnecessary.)

Don't give up.

Hang in there.  YOU CAN DO THIS.

Thoughts from some of my fellow nursing school buddies:

"When you FINALLY graduate, pass the boards and get a job...you still feel like you don't know ANYTHING!!!  However, that first paycheck was awesome!  Finally getting paid to do the same work we'd been doing for free for so long!" - Happy-to-be-done-with-school-Heather

"Oh Lord...I blocked all of that out of my memory!!! I don't remember any of those things we had to do." - Selective-Amnesia-Sarah

"Trying to find out HOW to register for NCLEX...having to go downtown to get finger printed, trying to find a parking space, sending in all the right forms, trying to follow through on everything... I am glad that part of our lives is OVER!! After school? Having to sit through the boring orientation about the "wake way" (or, I am sure.. the 'Rex Way") and having to fill out MORE forms to get a badge, use your badge at the cafeteria, get entered in the pyxis, etc. etc. Forms, forms, forms!!!" -Juli-no-E

"Signing up for the NCLEX with the Person Vue folks only after you have graduated school and then having to trust that your school has done their part to ensure that you did, indeed, graduate from school and are eligible to take the NCLEX. And lets not forget the agonizing wait for the ATT (Authorization to Test) so that we can even sign up for a NCLEX test site in the first place." -Guys-can-be-nurses-too-Tony

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