There are just two things I want to do before I can die a happy woman.
One, I want to shake hands with Barry Gibb.
The bonds of matrimony would restrain me from anything else.
Not that I was even thinking along those lines…..
And I want to dance with John Travolta.
The Tango Hustle.
In leotards and heels.
At a dance studio.
To “More Than A Woman”.
By the Bee Gees, of course.
It seems that everyone wants to be a nurse, lately.
I have had four people in the last week, two guys and two gals, tell me they were in the process of getting their pre-requisites out of the way so that they could apply to nursing school.
I spoke to one woman who was waiting for her acceptance (or rejection) letter from two different universities in the area.
When I hear this, I don’t just say “Oh, that’s nice” and go on with my duties. I take a minute to sit and talk with them.
First of all, I let them know I am truly excited to hear that they are choosing nursing as a career.
I literally say to them, “That is fantastic. We need you badly! Nursing needs you badly!
I tell them not to be discouraged by difficult classes or doubting whether they will ever make it, especially since most of the ADN schools around here actually have “lotteries” where all qualified candidates are placed in a pool and then chosen by chance.
Can you believe this?
I almost fainted the first time I heard that my future colleagues were being chosen “out-of-a-hat” so to speak.
And that qualified candidates were being turned away for lack of space, instructors or funding.
In 1976, my class had 40 openings and 350 applicants. I was required to apply to the community college assigned to where I lived, I could not apply to the one in the next town. I was stunned that I got in just one year out of high school. A classmate was one year behind me and was accepted right out of high school!
We were just selected. No lottery. Either you were in or you weren’t.
I spent a total of $700 when I went to nursing school. From start to finish. Community colleges in California were free. No tuition.
I heard yesterday that they now charge $26 dollars per unit.
State colleges are very, very expensive. Nowhere near medical school, obviously, but still up there, even for residents of the state.
For this reason, most of the future students I encounter are trying to go the ADN route first, even though it can take up to 3-4 years for the “two-year” degree (after factoring in all pre-requisites).
I tell them if they don’t get into nursing school the first time they apply, don’t give up.
If necessary, get your AA in General Education, making sure all your classes are transferable to a state college or university and then apply to the BSN programs along with the ADN programs.
I’ve even told people with BA’s who have told me they want to be a nurse to look into entry-level MSN programs.
One of the advantages of nursing is that there are so many different ways to join the profession.
We’ve made it easier for RNs to get their BSNs or MSNs with innovative programs.
It shouldn’t be so hard for quality nursing candidates to join us at the entry level.
This is why I feel so strongly that we need nursing advocates at both the state AND national levels, why it is important that we encourage our colleagues with advanced degrees to consider teaching.
It’s why I’m always harping on the need for a National Nurse.
A spokesperson, someone who can advocate for nursing school funding at all levels, but especially programs that will help pay nursing instructors what they deserve.
In World War Two we had the Cadet Nursing Program. Full tuition for service to the nation during the war.
Are we not in a crisis mode regarding nursing right now? Why not a Cadet Nursing program today? Full tuition for two years service in a county facility or underserved area? Extra funding for participating nursing schools?
There has to be a way. When I am eighty I want to know there will be nurses to take care of ME, prn as opposed to ME still working because I’m needed so much.
I tell these future nurses that they will never work harder, or be more rewarded than they will as a nurse.
I’m lucky. I work in an ER that gives me the chance to actually sit and encourage these future colleagues.
But in addition to encouragement, they need nurturing as they travel the rough path into their chosen programs.
We are all examples of nursing to our patients and their families. To OUR families and friends.
Lets do our part.
Don’t talk down about the profession. Yes, sometimes nursing sucks but so does working at McDonalds, being a police officer, working an ambulance for 48 hours or being a partner in a law firm. Doctors don’t exactly have it easy, either.
Know any teenagers? Talk up the advantages of nursing. If you can’t think of any, you’re in the wrong profession.
Every occupation has it’s pitfalls. But, if you will pardon my expression, “bitching” about nursing doesn’t do our image, or our future as a profession, any favors.
The best and the brightest are waiting to join us.
Let’s encourage those with the brains, the will, the calling, the courage….to be a nurse.