Hi lovely readers!
Life is shifting into hyperdrive as my long dreaded last year of graduate studies starts THISweek! I am so excited about finally finishing my graduate education! I started this journey when I met Darlene, a nurse practitioner in 2003 when I was doing a special project for school. I shadowed her as she took care of so many sick people with congestive heart failure and helped them in every facet of their care, from helping with free and discounted medicine and referrals to counseling and other services. I wanted to be just like her.
This began my journey. I became an LPN and worked for her at her clinic for a year. Then I graduated with my RN and moved to LR, where I researched schools and found that you needed 2 years of experience to apply. After 2 years in CCU at St. Vincent, I applied for school and transferred to ICU at UAMS since they have a tuition discount for employees. Imagine my surprise when I thought it would be 30 or 40% and found out it was a 90% discount!!!! I was accepted into the program and started school in September 2007.
At first it was just like undergraduate nursing school, lots of papers and postings and web classes... I was working nights and not spending much time on school. I flip flopped on my area of concentration a few times based on advice from other people in graduate school...Family NP or Acute Care NP? Once I "made it" to my first clinical course (the dreaded HEALTH ASSESSMENT), I learned it was MUCH harder than undergraduate school. The pressure got to me. I had become an instructor at UAMS and thought I should just go into Administration (so I could keep teaching and not quit my job). I majored in Administration for one semester, and realized I didn't want to administrate. I wanted to do what Darlene did for all those heart failure patients at my first LPN job. I wanted to be a nurse practitioner.
I switched back to Acute Care NP, audited a class (HEALTH ASSESSMENT), and my FIRST real day of class (ACUTE CARE I) is Wednesday. I am so excited and nervous all at the same time! My books are still in route... but I have printed off all the course materials, studied the syllabus, started my required reading in the book I do have, packed my school bag :) (it's a Vera Bradley VERA in Daisy Daisy), called my preceptor, and talked to my friends who graduated last month. I think I am as almost as ready as a girl can be for the hardest challenge I will face in school. Tomorrow I plan to create a template for my weekly papers and finish my required reading. After I post this I'm going to print out the rest of my required articles and GET READY for the hardest year of my life!
This semester will consist of 2 oral presentations, one paper, weekly patient write ups, 180 hours of clinical time, weekly 6 hour long classes, and 6 article critiques, 5 tests, and keeping up with a 5 day a week 12 hour a day marathon....
Then I get to start all over again in summer....
Then I get to start all over again this fall.....
Then in December, (God willing) I graduate. This 3.5 year journey will be complete, and I will be able to make a difference like my heart and soul long to in the lives of others to a greater extent than I do now.
My anxious heart is stilled by the knowledge that God has called me to this task and will equip me for it. He is not surprised by any of the roadblocks and will protect and keep me through this year. I have been dreading it, I won't lie, but it's the home stretch. I've wanted to be a nurse practitioner since I knew what one was and saw what one did. And it's all thanks to Darlene.