It seems Nurse Kathy Martin’s class is receiving their diplomas right outside the OR suite!
It seems as though the hospital just paged overhead: “Nursing degrees will be handed out between eleven and twelve on the third floor outside OR 5. Supplies are limited!”
Ol’ Kathy seems pretty smug there.
I wonder if she was that kind of student who always had to raise their hand to argue with the professor or respond to “Any questions?” just as the class was due to end.
You know the type. There is at least one in every class.
They say nurses eat their young, but I think Kathy looks like she’d consume her preceptor!
Her cap gets a 10/10 on the Emergiblog Cap Scale, so she can’t be all bad.
I was sitting on the couch last night and I had an epiphany.
I waited five minutes to see if it would pass.
So I informed my husband that after I earned my BSN, I could go to graduate school.
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME!
He looked at me like I was a lunatic and said as sarcastically as possible “Okay Kim, anything you say…no problem…yes dear…let me know when you’re ready.”
Seriously. A legacy admit is where a child is admitted because their parent is an alumnus.
So…I’ll be the first reverse legacy admit! The parent goes after the kid!
Me! I could BE a Domer instead of having given birth to one.
I could get football tickets! And sit in the student section! In my mid-fifties!
There is no nursing program at Notre Dame.
Darn! Well, then I’d have to get my masters in a different field.
Now I really would prefer an MSN. But if Notre Dame would accept me, I’ll get the dang Masters in “Aerospace Engineering” if I have to!
Oh, and the one thing you should NEVER, EVER do to a woman at my stage of life is use the word “No” or be sarcastic.
All you do is just feed the fire, and I’m already stoked!
So, you want to be a nurse!
Only you are not sure you can do it.
What if you aren’t smart enough? How will you make money while you are doing it? How do you handle it with kids? You think you’re too old. You aren’t sure you can pay for it.
So let me give some advice.
Please understand that I have not seen the inside of a nursing classroom for over 28 years, and I am just now going for my BSN via an online program.
But I think I have some suggestions that might help.
(Yes, I stole that from “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.)
Break it down.
(Said in my best MC Hammer voice)
Seriously. Break the process down into its component parts, keeping the big picture in the back of your mind.
What do I mean?
- Decide what nursing school you would like to attend, either an ADN or BSN program.
- Write for information about that school. What classes are required before you even apply?
- Whether you want an ADN or BSN, get the schedule of classes from your local community college.
- Community colleges are cheaper.
- Classes are available at night, on Saturdays and even online.
- Sign up for one class. One.
- A class that is required prior to applying for nursing school.
- Don’t be afraid to utilize the flexibility of an online course for your general education.
- Some are even “telecourses” that are viewed via tape or on television.
- Make sure that class is transferable to a university.
- Don’t make the mistake of taking the simple “State Government” one-semester class that the ADN program wants, when you can take a comparable “American Government” class that will transfer to a four-year institution, for example.
But wait! I want to get the ADN, not the BSN! Why should I take the more challenging course when I’m not going to a university program?
- Ah, this is where my experience comes into play. Back when I was a clueless 18-year-old, I eschewed the simple community college classes for the courses that would transfer to my state university system.
- For example: instead of “California Government”, I took an entire year of US History. I made sure that my humanities electives all transferred. Twenty-eight years later, those classes helped fullfill my general education requirements for my BSN.
- By taking transferable courses, you are building a foundation for any future educational plans. Plans that may seem impossible to you now.
Okay, one class at a time. It will take me forever.
- No, it won’t. You know the old saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”? You just took your first step. (PS: I wonder if Lao-tsu was a nurse?)
- Once you get a feel for how the class works for you and how you can incorporate it into your other responsibilities (family, work), you will be able to take two classes at once. Or three.
- Yes, you can! (I can hear you.)
I actually went through nursing school part-time.
Yep, by completing every single non-nursing course prior to entering, when I did attend nursing school the number of required units made me a part-time student. This is why you get everything done prior to entering the nursing program. Nursing programs are not as flexible as taking general education.
So how do I pay for this?
- Well, it isn’t very expensive to attend a community college, at least in California. This is why I suggest getting all general education requirements at the community college level.
- Let me put this as diplomatically and as politically correct as I can: those who are of certain ethnic backgrounds or income levels are eligible for financial assistance through federal student loans or scholarships. If you fit into one of these categories – take advantage of it and apply.
- On a personal note, I can vouch for the fact that there are few loans or scholarships available for caucasian females of Scottish/English/Irish/Italian descent who make a decent salary. Just in case you were wondering.
- Start saving now.
- It may take you a few years to get all the requirements and pre-requisites out of the way.
- Since you are doing this part time, take advantage of this and put a bit of money away, however small, to help with expenses you will incur during nursing schoool, including child care and working part time.
But…I have to work! I’m responsible for paying the bills in my family, along with keeping the benefits because I’m single/divorced/widowed.
- This is a tough one, but it can be done.
- Because I was a teenager and lived at home during nursing school, I never had to do a balancing act between work and school. Now that I’m going back to school, my children are grown. But..
- This blog is read by nursing students who are juggling the exact same responsibilities, so I will ask:
Future nursing colleagues! Please give suggestions/stories on how you coped or are coping with earning a living while in nursing school! If you have a blog that tackles this topic, please feel free to link to it in your comments so that other readers can use you as a resource!
In conclusion, you can make it through nursing school.
Start slowly and gain momentum as you gain confidence.
If you are called to be a nurse, there is nothing that can get in your way. It won’t be easy but it can be done. No matter how old you are or what you have to juggle to make it.
Take that first step.
You are desperately needed.
And very, very much wanted.