I'm Going to Nursing School!

A year ago, I set out to transition into a new career. My goal was to find something that would allow me to go to work, come home (leaving work at work), and to just “be”. You see, I am in love with the entrepreneurial fine and design arts. I like fashion styling. I am enamored with creative directing. I adore photography. I love fashion design. And, I live for garment construction. It has been this way for my entire life. The problem, however, is the constant work that comes with this lifestyle.

In this field, your income is based on your connections and the amount of time you put in to your craft. While most folks can collect a check after working the standard 40-hour week, I would have to put in 60 plus hours, consistently. The exhaustion, alone, turned something I once lived for into something I became a slave to. 

So, I began my research… looking into careers that could (1) bring me closer to financial freedom, (2) give me skills that could be useful everywhere and to everyone, and (3) that could provide my kids with the future advantages they deserve. I looked into careers that I once considered, ones I never considered, and those I was just curious to know more about. Little did I know, just looking to my friends would provide me with the answer I needed. Last summer, a client-turned-friend of mine announced on Instagram that she was a month away from finishing nursing school— unbeknownst to many in her life. She talked about how she quietly worked towards a career that she found rewarding, flexible, and financially sound. My mind took off from there.

I once considered medical school because of my obsession and passion for women’s health. My pride in a big cousin who had graduated from medical school a few years prior also played a role. But, doctors have never been my favorite people so the idea of becoming one lost its luster. Nursing was the next consideration, but passed just as quickly because I never fully understood their role in healthcare and medicine. 

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After reading my friend’s thoughts on her new career, I looked at my two-year-old. He was playing on the floor of our condo, in this small restricted space, where I constantly worried about him making too much noise for our downstairs neighbors. I thought about the home I want to own, that I’ve worked towards since I was fourteen. I thought about my husband who paid the majority of our bills and provided the bulk of income needed to pay for our mortgage, health insurance, and even our groceries. Though, I made a good living, I thought about how it just wasn’t enough to to care for my son on my own if something were to happen to my husband, nor to achieve all of my dreams, or for me to feel like my independent self again. Then I thought of one experience I had bearing witness to the magic of nursing— when I gave birth to my son surrounded by intelligent and compassionate nurses and CNAs. It was all so clear after that. I was going to be a registered nurse.

Further research led me to see how open the world of nursing is. What I love most about nursing is its flexibility— you can literally move from specialty to specialty, facility to facility, state to state, and so on with an RN license. I also love that I would not have to remain a registered nurse for the entirety of my career. With a few more years of training, I can also become a nurse practitioner, which has many similar job responsibilities to being a doctor— but with a patient-centered focus and without the long medical schooling. That’s the potential goal.

So, last year I started this nursing journey by taking a CNA certification course. I figured that if I start as a nurse tech I could get a pretty good glimpse into the nursing world without fully committing to it just yet. At the same time, I began taking some of the nursing prerequisite courses that I missed out on while in undergrad and grad school years ago. Three months later, I got a job as a CNA in a Med-Surg/ Orthopaedic unit of a local hospital— where I still work as a tech until nursing school starts in January. I started nursing school applications this June (with one prerequisite left to take) and finally received an answer from my top choice last week!

Here I am, now! In January 2020, I will be a nursing student in an accelerated (12 months) Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, at one of the top nursing schools in the country. Hard work pays off and I am excited to experience the journey. More importantly, I am excited to have created a future for myself and my son that allows me to spend more time with him, gives me financial stability and independence, and more flexibility in my career in the long-run. Cheers!