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My nursing career started as a dream, a dream I needed to fulfill as my destiny. A childhood dream never diminishes no matter the time that may pass. My story isn’t one of great inspiration but means a great deal to me. I received an Associate degree in nursing May, 2004. That was a goal that I worked for while caring for a family with three small children. It wasn’t easy but something worth having is worth working for. The dream continues.
Continuing my education is the next step in obtaining that lifelong passion. Short- term goals help you make big changes. In order to visualize your long-term goals leading to eventual success, you must first tackle the multitude of immediate realistic tasks right before you. Lao-Tzu, the Chinese philosopher said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. My short- term goal is to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in nursing by May, 2015. I have broken down that short-term goal into a smaller target to hit to obtain my initial short-term goal.
The smaller target is to work towards my BSN one term at a time. When one thinks of doing something for simply eight weeks, it seems more realistic. Long-term goals are the “big picture” of what you want to do with your life in the distant future.
They are usually at least several years away. Setting long-term goals are important for a successful career. My long-term goal is to be a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner by late 2018.
My selected mentor is Jerry Martin RN, BSN. He is a co-worker that has inspired me to return to school and that any dream is obtainable. Jerry has a degree in biology and was working as a ward clerk in our ER when I met him.
He has a degree in biology and worked in finance before working at the hospital. Jerry states” I was unhappy with my career in finance and I realized I had drifted a long way from my education and my core belief. During a conference a guest speaker said “true happiness is found when you find the one thing you would do in life even if you did not get paid for it”. That was my “aha” moment.” G.M. Martin (personal communication, September 3,2013) Jerry entered nursing school in 2006 and graduated with a BSN in 2011. He is currently working toward a MSN and striving to be a FNP. He is a great nurse and it is a privilege to have him as a co-worker and my mentor. After obtaining a BSN through Jacksonville University, I will enroll in an online nurse practitioner program. Once I receive my degree and am licensed as a NP, I will search for a job working with inpatient pediatric patients. A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse that has received additional training and education of that beyond a RN. They help with all aspects of patient care. They can work in inpatient and outpatient care. A NP educates patients about preventative care and their prescribed treatments. They can also preform independently or as part of a team. Physicals, ordering tests, and serving as a patient’s primary healthcare provider are some duties of a NP. Some nurse practitioners are also able to prescribe medications. A nurse practitioner must first obtain a BSN followed by a MSN. After completing the educational program, a candidate must be licensed in the state they wish to practice. Each state has its own licensing and certification criteria. An entry level, competency-based exam for nurse practitioners must be taken. The job outlook for nurse practitioners is considered excellent. The average full-time salary is $90,770. The salary may be different according to different practice sites, duties and patient population. The NP may work a more traditional schedule or may work weekends, holidays or be on-call. There are some pros and cons of being a nurse practitioner. I will share my lists of pros and cons. Pros of being a NP are that the job outlook is promising, you have autonomy in practice, it is challenging, and the job is ever changing. The most satisfying aspect for me, is that you have the ability to take full care of your patients and work with them on prevention and treatment plans. Now, the cons of being a NP is that the job can be stressful, there are legal risks (malpractice suits), years of specialized education, and the possibility of being on-call. Being a nurse practitioner means that added responsibility is accompanied by added accountability which in turn is increased liability.
In my opinion, the satisfaction you get from the job outweighs the negative attributes. You may think that being a nurse practitioner you are at the top of your career ladder. There are some ways a NP can have some professional advancement. Being promoted to director, taking a management position, or managing your own practice are examples of NP growth. It takes a tremendous amount of studying and dedication to earn a MSN degree. Setting specified time aside for studying and school work is important. Procrastination can be a damaging habit. I have arranged a study plan to help me be successful in this program. I plan on setting aside 3 hours every evening on my days that I don’t work for school activities. On the nights that I am scheduled to work I will work as I can on my school work during down times. With this study plan, I feel that it will give enough devoted time to my family and social life. Time management is key in organizing and prioritizing family, work, school and personal time. Time management planning puts some control back into your hands. I create a daily “to do list” that helps me identify the tasks I need to do. Prioritizing what I need to get done compared to what I want to get done is most important. Breaking down the week’s activities into daily duties makes me feel less overwhelmed then having to view a full week’s worth of activities. Delegating activities to family can help free up some time. Setting realistic time management goals can prevent setting myself up for failure. The stress of going back to school while tackling family and work responsibilities can be very overwhelming. I find that exercise is a stress reducer I utilize. Exercise also gives me private time to work out problems in my head. Keeping my mind and body healthy will help control stress. It is important to have good sleep habits. With my work schedule, I find it difficult to get adequate sleep. A new goal is to work on getting the proper sleep needed to refuel my brain and body. Organizational skills, time management and a good support system are essential stress reducers in my life. Encouraging words and advice from family and friends means so much in times of need. Being a nurse is my dream, a dream I am fulfilling. This career I did not choose, it is my destiny. Education is the means that allows us to move forward in life. I won’t let fear stand in way of my education to achieve my dream. “When you find your path, you must ignore fear I won’t let fear stand in way of my education to achieve my dream. “When you find your path, you must ignore fear. You need to have the courage to risk mistakes. But once you are on that road…run, run, run, and don’t stop til you’ve reached its end.”(J.N. Harris, 2010)
(J.N. Harris, 2010)
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