Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Post That Took All Year

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Sometime in late winter, I took a look at the list of posts I had made on this blog, and saw one with the big red "draft" indicator underneath.  I didn't remember even starting to to write it, but as soon as I opened it up, I knew - the post about finally becoming a RN.  I scrapped the whole thing, so here's the new post.  It needs to be made, because above all else, there are many thank you's that need to be said.  A year ago today, I was sitting in the NCLEX-RN testing center, so nervous I was physically shaking, with the biggest worry that I was going to vomit all over the place and be kicked out.  I knew NOTHING.  I had sat through countless classes, put in hundreds of hours of clinical time, and proven myself on so many skills.  Yet I was completely inept.  Of course, the reality was that none of this was true, but it's hard to see reality when you're trying your best not to throw up in the lobby of the testing center.

For those of you who are not familiar, the NCLEX-RN is the licensure exam that determines whether or not a nursing candidate is competent to practice nursing.  Of course, it is huge, and scary, and horror stories are told of it from the very beginning of nurse training, which doesn't help one bit.  I had taken a review course, which was fabulous, but I still did not feel confident.  I had delivered Daniel about 3 months earlier, and I was just starting to feel like I could think again.  I knew the longer I waited, the harder the test was going to be, so I went ahead did it.  After 75 questions, my test shut down.  75 is the minimum number of questions a candidate is required to complete.  I knew I'd either passed or tragically bombed it.  The next day I found out that I was done.  Finally.  I had passed, and this chapter was finally finished.  I started the process of working on pre-requisites when I was pregnant with Sophia.  I finished the actual nursing program and graduated 3 weeks before I had Daniel.  We were so busy.

The first person who I owe an unutterable amount of thanks to is my wonderful husband.  It simply would not have been possible without his sacrifice to finish the program.  At the end of each quarter, I would say, "Chris, I can't do this anymore.  I quit."  And he would tell me that he would support me either way, but he was sure I could do it.  My husband is often right.  :)  My kids also sacrificed - though of course they didn't really understand it.  I was often gone on the weekends for clinical work, and would leave to study and take exams.  A lot of family time was missed - it makes me sad to think about it!  To our parents, who helped out as best they could when they could, and were always available.  To friends and the church, who offered support, encouragement, and confidence when I simply didn't think I was going to make it.  To my clinical group: my fellow students who helped me whenever I needed it, who stuck by my side through a legitimately awful final clinical quarter, and who watched me and checked on me when I was quite ill and probably shouldn't have been there.  And of course, to my teachers.  Some were harder than others, but I learned a lot from all of them.

Because I stay at home with the kids, it's not really possible for me to work full time at this point.  I do use my degree, working 1 weekend per month at a camp for kids and adults with developmental disabilities.  I love it, and I love the campers.  I will tell you that there is no school on earth that could have prepared me for this job - they just don't teach you how to pass medications while a patient is in the swimming pool at nursing school.