Many nursing students I’ve talked to have beautiful stories about how they decided to go into nursing. Some were inspired by important RN’s in their own lives, such as their Mother or a family friend. Others tell a moving story about how a caring RN tended to a sick family member. And many simply share that they have always wanted to be nurses ever since they were little. Not me.
In fact, I remember specifically thinking that nursing was NOT for me when I was younger. Couldn’t stand the thought of blood and needles. Made me weak in the knees. Instead, during high school I decided that I wanted to be a clinical psychologist and I enrolled at University of Delaware. On a full scholarship I might add, not because I want to brag, but because if I’m going to be a tutor then you might as well know that I’m something of a “smart cookie.”
Anyway, there was a joke that went around UD: Psychology was the second most popular major…next to Undecided. And of course every single one of my relatives felt the need to make the joke that with a Psych degree and a dollar, I could get myself a cup of coffee…just not at Starbucks. I pretended to laugh every time I heard that. After all, I wasn’t the typical psych major, I was going to go to Graduate School to get my PhD, then become a University Professor. I had it all planned out.
While at UD, I got involved in research, had a few research papers published in scientific journals, worked as a teaching assistant for several psychology classes. I was even paid a few times for TA-ing. I also got a job with Princeton Review teaching SAT review classes to high school students. Even then, I knew that I loved teaching.
When the time came to graduate from UD, I had already applied to 11 graduate schools offering PhDs in Clinical Psychology. I was accepted into several of them, including my top three choices: University of Arizona, University of Florida, and University of Minnesota. I decided on University of Arizona, and moved out to the desert.
So far, my life was going exactly as planned. I was conducting research, treating patients in the psychology clinic, and working as a teaching assistant. Then life threw me a curve ball. One day, in a fit of frustration related to having to grade waaaay too many freshmen psych papers, I decided to post a profile on an online dating website. Less than a month later, I had met the man that I would soon marry.
Very romantic. The only problem was that he was military, and had to move from Arizona (where I still had a good 3-4 years left if I wanted to finish my PhD) to South Carolina. We didn’t want to live apart for that long, so I chose him over my PhD, and to South Carolina we went. My friends and family were very polite about it, but they all thought I was crazy.
I did manage to finish up my Masters in Clinical Psychology through University of Arizona while we were living in South Carolina. Then I withdrew from the program so that I could try to figure out what I really wanted to do now that I was a military wife. During that time I still assumed that I would be staying in Psychology, so I was also working at the National Crime Victim’s Research and Treatment Center (NCVC) in Charleston, SC. It allowed me to continue getting clinical psych experience working with children and adults who had experienced abuse or other traumatic events.
Although I enjoyed my time at NCVC, I came to realize that my life’s circumstances had changed enough that my dream of being Dr.Nicole, PhD in Clinical Psychology, was probably not going to work for me. Even more surprising to me was my realization that I was okay with that. I still wanted to be a productive member of society, though, so I decided to find a new career that could work with a military family lifestyle and that I could enjoy.
Enter nursing. I have several relatives who are nurses, and you hear all the time about how much of a need for nurses there are. What better field for me? I had already learned about the health of the mind; now it was time to learn about the health of the body. So I plopped myself down in front of the television and started watching Discovery Health channel pretty much 24/7. After all, I still had to get over that whole blood and needles thing.
Fast forward a year and we were living in Norfolk, Virginia. I was taking my nursing pre-requisites at Tidewater Community College, and found that I was studying harder for A&P than I had ever studied for any class in my life. And it paid off. To this day, the #1 piece of advice I give pre-nursing students is to LEARN YOUR A&P! Seriously. It will come back to haunt you if you don’t.
Well, I finally made it into the 13-month 2nd-Degree BSN Program at Norfolk State University. And after a grueling 13-months where I learned a lot of things that I will probably talk about in future blog posts (and I will definitely talk about in future tutoring sessions), I graduated. Along the way, I became a pretty well-known student-tutor around the department. Of course, that doesn’t mean a whole lot considering that I was pretty much the only student-tutor in the department.
In any case, I did develop a pretty good reputation for tutoring, to the point that instructors were asking me to tutor some nursing students that were further along in the nursing program than I was. When it finally came time for me to graduate (thank goodness), I stopped getting paid for tutoring, but continued to do it anyway. I had a group of students that I loved working with, and I didn’t want to give up my teaching role just because I had graduated.
I did want to get paid for something though, so I got a job at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD) as an operating room nurse. I started their training program, passed my NCLEX, and thoroughly enjoyed my job. I also got pregnant with our son, and about 9 months after starting my rewarding career as an OR nurse, I quit so I could be at home with our new baby boy. I was itching to stay involved in nursing though, so when he was 6-months old I managed to snag a highly-prize work-from-home phone triage position with CHKD. And I’m loving it!
And that brings me to “Your Nursing Tutor”. There has also been a parallel series of events going on in my life that would be better titled “My Journey to Entrepreneurship,” but since that’s not the title of the current story, it’ll have to wait. Suffice it to say that my husband and I have decided that we want to be self-employed. Of course, we still need to make money and support our family, but it is our heartfelt desire that we be able to help and benefit others in the process. We believe that we will be able to do this through “Your Nursing Tutor”. We hope you think so too.
In the meantime, I’ve learned that sometimes your life takes unexpected twists and turns that are impossible to foresee, and so you sometimes have to know when to let go of certain plans you’ve been blindly following. And that’s a good thing. After all, if I had stuck to the plan I had when I was in first grade, I would still be a Mommy and a teacher, but I would also have been…(wait for it)…a magician. Brilliant. I guess sometimes it’s a good thing that plans change.