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As the population of the United States grows, the demand for skilled nurses increases massively. There is currently a nursing shortage and very few nurses graduating from their nursing schools and practicing. Many students don’t make it to nursing students or just give up. Ever wondered why? I sure have, even wondered if I would ever make it. A barrier that poses a threat to my academic goal of becoming a nurse is time. Navigational capital will help navigate my way through this barrier.
Most people think, myself included, that nursing students would face problems in the actual homework but this isn’t the case, In Michele Wojciechowski’s magazine article for Minority Nurse, “Challenges Facing Nursing Students Today”, the award winning author discusses that one of the biggest issues nursing students face is time. She brings in Frederick Richardson, a BSN student and the Breakthrough to Nursing director for the National Student Nurses’ Association, who says, “Nursing school is very demanding, and when you add in the coursework, reading for homework, and the clinical work, there usually isn’t time for anything else.
” Richardson was able to experience this first hand because of his brother being in nursing school he never saw him until last nights. For me, I try to manage my time the best I can, but with work this is sometimes difficult. Not only does work take up my time but also trying to spend time with family and friends while balancing school work. Right now I am not in nursing school, but when I get there I believe this barrier will definitely occur for me.
At this time, my grades are still very good and I’ve been able to work and visit friends and family, but there are also requirements that need to be met to get into nursing school.
Not only is staying in nursing school hard, but getting into it is also difficult. You need to maintain certain requirements while also facing the barrier. Compassion and caring are only part of what it takes to be a nurse. According to Jean Barry in a letter written to nurses, “in order to get into a BSN program, a minimum of a 3.0 or higher GPA is required on all prerequisites, which are very heavily weighted in the physical sciences (e.g., anatomy, physiology, microbiology, inorganic and organic chemistry, nutrition, genetics, etc.).” It seems like getting a minimum GPA of 3.0 is super easy because that is what I had throughout high school, but nursing school is so much more demanding after seeing all this research. I can’t slack off like I did in high school. Because of this I would need a better work ethic. This requires lots of studying, which is when familial and navigational capital comes to play.
Family plays a big role in your career. Tara Yosso, an educator at University of California, describes familial capital in a scholarly article, “Whose Culture Has Capital? A Critical Race Theory Discussion of Community Cultural Wealth”, as “cultural knowledge nurtured among familia (kin) that carry a sense of community history, memory, and cultural intuition” (79), meaning using your family as a resource. This is super helpful for me because it doesn’t just apply to immediate family, but also ancestors. My aunt was a nurse and she has given me lots of insight of what it’s like and what the schooling is like. Although she went to school decades ago, she still faced the same barrier those do today.
School isn’t just for classes, it’s also for resources. Yosso refers to the navigational capital as “skills of maneuvering through social institutions” (80). By this she means using the College system, such as educational spaces on campus. Yosso even mentions how they can help a student “survive” during stressful events. For me this would be when I needed to study. Using resources to school like the library could help me focus and not have distractions at home like my family and even television. Librarians could even guide me to other resources for when I am stuck. Students who are a bit further along have the unique perspective of knowing the challenges I will face firsthand.
That is one of many ways I can navigate myself past the barrier of time. Richardson explains to overcome this barrier, students often think they can accomplish all the work and still do everything else in life, but really they need to be realistic (“Challenges Facing Nursing Students Today”). One way that I’ve already started is planning my day ahead, setting times to study and finish school work, work, and visit friends and family, using a time management app. Like Richardson, I’ve seen first hand how busy nursing school can get. My brother was a nursing major for two years until he finally couldn’t take the pressure and switched majors. But for me I think it is different, I have always wanted to be a nurse and loved taking care of people, it is something I am actually in to, while on the other hand my brother chose it for the pay. I believe this will help me be motivated to push through the work. My aunt has even offered to help me stay on track with the right classes and informed me of great places to learn more about nursing. Even though I’m not in nursing school yet I’ve definitely become more comfortable with finding school resources and talking to my family.
Overall, according to the National League for Nursing, “only a little over 60 percent of U.S. undergraduate students in two-year programs stayed in school. And the retention rate for undergraduates in four-year programs was closer to 70 percent.” Even if it takes more than one try, I think it is worth it. You learn from your mistakes, better time management skills will help me succeed through nursing school. After all, nurses are in high demand, and they tend to get paid well. But becoming a nurse requires going to school and getting your license, which that takes commitment.
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