Back To School

August will feature the return of an ongoing tradition in my life…

Yes, the case of my overeducation continues. 😉

I’ll be starting two programs simultaneously: a post-Master’s certificate (PMC) in advanced practice oncology nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The certificate will be “full-time” and should take me four semesters to complete. After that point I will be eligible to sit for the boards as an Adult Nurse Practitioner specializing in Oncology. While I’m working on the certificate, I’ll be taking one DNP class at a time for the first 1.5 years.

As I study for my boards and look for an advanced practice job, I’ll be finishing up my DNP over the following two years. I’ll graduate in spring or summer of 2016 (the DNP curriculum at my school usually takes 2 years, so I’ll actually graduate with the cohort starting a year behind me).

I’ll also be taking classes in nursing education, so that I can hopefully teach in the future. It will be a very full plate, but hopefully it will continue to open doors for me.

To be honest, I’m a little nervous about this upcoming semester. Despite my love of school, I know it’s going to be intense (12 credits’ worth of intense!), and I’m worried about balancing classes with my full-time night shift job and eventually with clinical hours. It’s not going to be a picnic. And I feel like I’m still recovering from my last go-round with nursing school.

The friends I graduated with all think I’m crazy – they’re moving on, having babies, happy to stay where they are for a few years. I’m the only one who’s even thought about going back, much less applied, been accepted and put down a deposit.

But nonetheless, the journey continues. 🙂 I registered last week for the following courseload:

  • Advanced Diagnostic Reasoning/Physical Assessment – Pretty self-explanatory. Comes with a lab where I’m sure we’ll practice our assessment skills and differential diagnoses. Should be an interesting contrast to the nursing diagnoses that used to fill my old care plans.
  • Pathophysiology – A more advanced version of the patho class I took in nursing school. Will be good to review!
  • Advanced Practice Palliative Care Nursing – One of my first electives and a course I am very excited about! After a lot of deliberation, I elected not to register for the optional clinical part of the class. As much as I wanted to get some experience, I think this fall is going to be overwhelming enough. I’m considering this class to be a theoretical foundation for my DNP capstone project, which will focus on palliative care. I’ll get plenty of practical experience in this area in my oncology clinicals.
  • Quantitative Methods – My first (and only) DNP class. Primarily taught online, this class will help us work on applying statistical methods in our future capstone projects. Not my favorite subject, but one I need to get more comfortable with.

So there it is. 12 credits. Three days a week. It should be … an adventure. 😉

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