The Journey

This post is late in coming, but the timing really couldn’t be better. With this blog reaching 50,000+ hits and my own career at a crossroads, what better time to look back on the long (and twisted) road that got me to this point? And reflect on a few lessons learned along the way…

The story began as I awaited admission news from a new batch of nursing schools, after saying “Thanks but no thanks” to Duke University the year before, packing up my life and moving home to care for my father during his last weeks.

I internally debated the virtues of various nursing degrees before finally settling on an alternate entry MSN in Clinical Nurse Leadership. In the meantime, I spent time with my family, reconnected with friends in my hometown and somehow found myself falling in love. But when moving day arrived, I was set to go (save for a brief panicky interlude). I once again packed and moved to a new city, optimistic about a new adventure.

And an adventure it surely was. Nursing school was a trial-by-fire, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of experience that I both loved and hated. Here is a rundown of my favorite posts, broken down by semester:

Summer ’08

Fall ’08

Spring ’09

Summer ’09

Fall ’09

Looking back on the whirlwind, I still have to catch my breath. I still marvel at how much a person can be molded and shaped in less than two years. I learned that I could handle this thing called nursing with grace (usually). I learned what brought me joy and what sent me running in the opposite direction. And I realized that ultimately I became a nurse to support people through a journey.

The experience of being a new grad RN in 2010 has not been pretty. It took 166 job applications for an offer to come my way. I again relocated (and S again graciously came with me).

Critical care nursing is an incredible specialty. My co-workers blow my mind with their knowledge, and never cease to amaze me with how much they support each other. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to learn acute care nursing skills – looking back, I know that this experience has been a gift.

But it has also been a trial. I have struggled philosophically with decisions I have witnessed, and I have had a hard time with the brief interactions I have with my patients. It hasn’t taken long to realize that as awe-inspiring as it is, this is not the specialty for me.

Nor have I felt supported or guided as I struggle with my own recent health challenges. I feel as if I’m wandering through a wilderness, guarding myself against the next challenge. The isolation and loneliness of the past three weeks has left me pondering my next move and wondering if I even have a job to fight for.

So here I am again, still without that key year of experience, with a resume that shows me unsuccessful in a new grad residency program.

There are days when I wonder if it’s worth it.

But then I remember I’m a nurse. That’s a privilege and an honor. You’re damn right it’s worth it.

I’ll find my place…

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