September 6, 2008, 8:52 pm

If I Knew Then What I Know Now…

Holy cow!

I didn’t think my heart would hold out until the end of the game!!!!

Hardly a stellar performance, I must admit, but the IRISH WON!!!!!

I think I’m hoarse!

Time to go wash off the green body paint…

Just kidding….

But, in honor of the first of many Irish wins, I will continue the honored tradition of the last three years and proclaim my devotion to the hallowed halls of Our Lady of the Lake:

Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame,wake up the echoes cheering her name!

Send a volley cheer on high, Shake down the thunder from the sky!

What though the odds be great or small, Old Notre Dame will win over all!

While her loyal sons are marching, Onward to victory!

(now if Kasey Kahne can just make the Chase for the Sprint Cup….)


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I was asked this question recently by Advance for Nurses:

“If I knew then what I know now, what would I do differently?”

I decided to look at my career as an RN for my answer.


First, I would have waited until I was a bit older to begin my nursing education.  I had virtually zero life experience when I began my career at age 20.  Nursing requires a maturity that, frankly, I did not possess in 1978.  I was not only wet-behind-the-ears, but my ears weren’t even fully developed.

I was fortunate in that my first job was with extremely supportive nurses who wrapped me up in a nurturing cocoon and helped me morph into an actual nurse.  The older nurses were helpful, understanding and even stern, but I actually learned how to be a nurse from them.

With the younger nurses, I shared marriages, babies, showers, luncheons and concerts.  At one time we had four babies born five months apart!  One would come back from maternity leave as the other was getting ready to go!

I stayed there ten years.

I guess you could say I matured on the job, or at least was on the right path.


Second, I would have been less timid in nursing school.

I would have sought after and placed myself in the most challenging assignments.

I would have milked every bit of knowledge from my nursing instructors until they ran dry.

I would have appreciated the time, and the importance of what I was learning and who was teaching it to me.


Third, and please, no flames here,  I would have gotten my BSN as my entry level degree.

It would have served two purposes.

  • That maturity I was talking about? I would have had two more years of life under my belt before hitting the road as an RN.
  • I would not be trying so hard to obtain a BSN now, at the age of 51, in order to obtain an MSN so that I can teach.

You see, back then I could never have imagined myself wanting to do anything but hospital nursing.  (Hell, there were times during the last 30 years that I would have killed to do anything but nursing.)  I’m proud of my ADN and I know that ADN programs produce great nurses. But…

A BSN obtained back when I was young and before encumbered with other responsibilities would have given me the foundation I am now, belatedly, trying to build and put me in a better position for graduate studies.


So that’s it.

If I had the wisdom of my fifty-something self in my twenty-year-old body, this is what I’d do differently.

Because if I knew then what I know now, I’d be well on my way to my MSN!


  • Healthcare Today

    September 6, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    If I Knew Then What I Know Now… // Emergiblog…

    If you could go back, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?…

  • Karin RN

    September 6, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    No regrets here on taking nursing. Unlike you, though, I wished I would have taken nursing initially (RN is my 2nd career).
    Good luck on your MSN! The older the wiser, right?

  • SmalltownRN

    September 7, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Ah if I had known that what I know now…..hmmmm…well I was one of those RN’s who DIDN’T go into nursing straight from high school…..I worked for the Dept. of Agriculture and then the Dept. of Fisheries, I also had two small children….one was 2/12 the other 8 months old…and I went back to school full time… as far as life experiences…yes I had a few….did it make me a better nurse…..I don’t know….as far as the dgree goes….I still have mixed feelings about that….I am currently doing part time studies to get my degree….just because……what I have learnt so far in the degree program I don’t think I could have appreciated if I was a young student coming in and trying to learn this stuff….oh I guess I could have faked it…..I write great papers……but to truly appreciate it’s content I don’t think I would have.

    Education is great…..I took my critical care training and have worked in that environment most of my nursing career….I am now working in PAR and I am taking courses for that….so one thing you can say about nursing….you are always learning…whether I get etra letters beside my name or not….

  • Medical Grand Rounds 4.51

    September 9, 2008 at 2:35 am

    […] all participants this week. I enjoyed reading your posts. My favourites this week are here, here, here, here and […]

  • Strong One

    September 9, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    I empathize with your rationale for the BSN from the start. I am a second career nurse, and I like you will eventually have to travel down that road. My situation is/was different though, I already have one Bachelors!
    And yes, the maturity level of entry level nurses is sometimes astoundingly absent. So I can also relate to those comments.

  • Flo

    September 10, 2008 at 11:19 am

    As I start nursing school I feel lucky to be 30 something with a family. I know that in a way it will make it harder, but it will also make me work harder. Just like you, I would like to teach one day so the BSN was a gimme.

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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