My journey to graduate school has been an emotional roller coaster, so I thought I would share it with you to motivate you to never give up (I know, corny but oh so true). After graduating in 2011 from nursing school (an immediately starting in the ICU), I quickly realized that 30 years of direct bedside nursing just wasn’t for me. Not that I looked down on it or that I thought I was too good for it, but physically, I realized that I just could not do bedside nursing for the amount of years that some our veterans have done it. I loved the patients and my coworkers, but my body simply won’t allow it. I’m barely 5 foot and petite so boosting and lifting my 250 lb. post CABG pts. out of bed was and has been, an extra challenge (plus I cheered in college so I already had pre-existing back problems).
So after I got a year under my belt I applied to a program down in Texas. I managed to get an interview, but was rejected. This crushed me. I was upset but realized that I may need to have more experience to be considered as a competitive candidate. So I worked another year, gained some more experience and even stepped into some leadership roles and applied again. I applied to the same school in Texas but also other schools. Some closer to home, some completely on the other side of the country.
Again, I received interviews for all of them and felt pretty good about them. At this time I was thinking, “this could be my year, I will finally be able to start…” well, I was rejected AGAIN! Crushed the second time! This time it really hit me hard and I fell into a slight depression for a couple weeks. I couldn’t do it, I knew I couldn’t do direct bedside nursing for the rest of my life; it was going to kill me. To me, going to graduate school was a way to continue nursing and providing care to my patients without the labor-intensive aspect of it. After graduate school my husband and I were planning to start a family, so every year I didn’t get in, meant that was one more year that our plans got pushed back.
After my weeks of moping around I had a good talk with my husband one night and he reminded me that if it was something I truly wanted to do, I would have to go balls to the wall and fight for it. Do anything and everything I could to make myself a competitive candidate. So I thought about what else I could do. I set out to obtain my CCRN certification and well…the first time…I didn’t pass by 3 POINTS! Looking back, thought, I was in such a hurry to get it that I didn’t really study the amount I should have. I was a cocky little shit and just thought that since I worked in a cardiac ICU I wouldn’t need to…FAIL! So, I waited, hunkered down, watched some videos, took notes, studied and passed my second time. FINALLY, something had gone according to plan.
So the next application year comes around I again, applied to the same schools as previously mentioned and obtained an interview with one of the schools nearby. A week before the interview, I found out that I was pregnant (not the best timing). I was thinking about canceling all interviews and just taking myself out of the running (thinking that the next year would be the year) but my family convinced me to interview anyway and if I got in, they would help out with the baby. Well, of course you can guess, I GOT IN! I was shocked, excited, terrified and nervous.Grad school and pregnant!
It’s been a tough first year but I’ve managed to make it through with the help of family. I guess the moral to my story is just because you may not get in the first time, DO NOT GIVE UP! If I had given up I never would have gotten into one of the top graduate nursing programs in the state and be training at one of the best hospitals in the nation. Everything happens at the right time, just be patient and resilient.