My mother is a veterinarian and would often take me to work with her and let me “assist” in C-sections on heifers, or pinning the broken femur of a dog that had “zigged” when he should have “zagged”. It was during the attempted sedation of a rather large dog (who was really against the idea of participating) that my mother asked if I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. As I was hanging on to the leg of this dog, and feverishly trying to hold off the vein I knew the answer-absolutely not a vet. My answer was that I was going to be a nurse, because humans didn’t bite…or so I thought.
I graduated High School at the age of sixteen and set off to college. I married at the age of twenty-one to a career military man, had my only child at the age of twenty-three, and did not return to school until the age of twenty-nine. I had amassed 190 credits due to the constant moving and graduated from an ADN program in 2008-finally. My end goal is to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. I live in a very rural area; the closest large hospital is over 90 miles away. My community has a 12-bed hospital and two doctors, both of whom are in their late 70’s.
Our small hospital services all who live in our county, the next point of access to medical care being 50 miles away. Having a provider who is young, invested in the community and aware of the community health needs is vital. I have lives in this area for two years, and it has become my home. The people here are hard working and honest-with a healthy fear of medicine. There are several who still use old folk remedies, and are resistant to anyone they do not trust. It is critical that these people have access to a provider who is young, committed, and understands the culture.
I have set a few short-term goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed. One short-term goal is to receive my BSN, with my projected date of graduation being May of 2015. In order to achieve this goal, I chose to attend on-line schooling so that I would be able to continue working full-time, and maintain a direct eye on my sixteen-year-old daughter who is now driving. While on-line learning certainly makes being a full-time student, employee, wife, and mother easier, there still remain barriers to contend with, one of these being the dreaded “stress”.
In order to achieve any goal, one must navigate and deal with the daily stressors of life and school in order to effectively advance, “Learning to deal effectively with the stressors that create barriers to success is important” (Blais & Hayes, 2011, p. 8). I will take time out to relax, continue to raise and train Quarter Horses with my husband. I will spend time with my daughter by continuing to coach her volleyball team and trips to the mall. Managing my time appropriately is a barrier for me due to the simple fact that I get side tracked easily.
I always think, “Oh relax! You’ll get to it Jo”. I have been out of the academic setting for eight years, and I am not quite sure how to fit all of the requirements of my daily life together. According to Blais and Hayes (2011, p. 8), “Time-management skills are a necessary tool and vital for success”. In order to prevent feeling overwhelmed, I will create a calendar, which contains my work and school schedules, and set it so that my husband and my daughter will be aware of my schedule-decreasing unwanted interruptions.
The achievement of my MSN-FNP is my long-term goal. The estimated graduation date is May 2017. Receiving my MSN-FNP will satisfy my want to serve my community and provide healthcare, while being able to remain nurse I always wanted to be. Reaching this goal will not be easy, and while three years may seem short to some, three years currently feels like forever to me. The nurse in me knows that by becoming overwhelmed and stressed, I will inadvertently increase my chance for becoming ill.
To overcome this, caring for my self with diet, exercise, and sleep is vital (Blais & Hayes, 2011). Included in my daily scheduling with be “time-outs” for myself in which I will focus solely on me. In making time to ensure my health, I will be able to be the wife, mother, student, and nurse that I expect myself to be. The administrator for my facility, Monica Kidd, RN, MSN has agreed to mentor me through this process. Mrs. Kidd was one of the main influences for my return to school. She has four children, and a career, and managed all of this while earning her MSN.
She has agreed to any time off that may be needed in order to study for exams, to help with any assignments, as well as be my “sounding board”. In order to transition from “Floor Nurse to “Provider” I will need to increase my flexibility, knowledge, and interpersonal skills. The FNP requires a Master’s degree. The responsibility changes from taking orders and providing bedside care to giving orders and assessing bedside care. Sitting for the NCLEX scared the daylights out of me. As for how I feel about sitting the FNP boards, well I’m not sure that there are words for how that at this time.
With the passing of “Obamacare”, the need for Nurse Practitioners will increase “To make the ACO’s work, hospitals and health systems are hiring dozens of new nurse practitioners” (Japsen, 2013; 2013). The fact that the Act provides incentives for nurses to advance their education is helpful, and will ease the price of the MSN degree. The mean salary for a FNP in Texas is roughly $91,000. 00 as of 2013 according to indeed. com (2013). There is a certain amount of freedom not having the responsibilities that a provider does during patient care.
When my twelve-hour shift is over, I clock out and go home to my family, I do not take call, I am not expected to return to the hospital in the middle of the night for an ER visit. I do not have to carry the malpractice insurance that is required by a provider. Once completing the MSN-FNP program, this will change. I will have all the responsibilities of a provider and no longer have the amount of free time I am currently allowed. I have accepted this change partly because of my need to be successful, and partly because of the devotion I feel to my community.
I will be able to be an asset to my community, to help them maintain their health while preventing the 90-mile drive to see the young doctor. I currently work six shifts per two-week period. I have four days off during the week. My days off will be used for studying and completing assignments during the eight hours that my husband and daughter are at work and school. This will leave me evening free for family time, which is important to me. Time Management must be a priority for me and so I have set up a schedule.
The schedule is similar to a seminar schedule: 0700-0800 exercises, 0900-1100 NURS352SI, 1100-1230 lunch and so on. I felt the need to set a schedule that included breaks and eating in order to fulfill a stress reliever requirement. Reduction of stress is the only way that I will be able to contend with the increased demands of furthering my education. I have several activities that I currently use. I currently have a home on twenty acres, three large dogs, and several Quarter Horses. My husband and I are involved in breeding and training horses, as well as team roping and sorting.
Animals are a very large part of my life, with riding and working with my horses being my main stress reliever. I love to take walks, watching my horses run in the fields without a care in the world. I spend many evenings after a stressful day just quietly watching my animals from the porch. Time with my daughter is relaxing for me…most of the time. Coaching her volleyball team is a source of pride and relaxation for me. I am able to watch she and her team improve their skills, maintain the bond that my daughter and I share, and focus solely on the moment.
In closing, I evaluated every aspect of returning to school before making the final choice decision to choose a school. Furthering my education is setting an example for my daughter, a source of pride for my husband, and a relief for me. Education is not something to be taken lightly, it requires diligence and respect, and school is demanding in itself. The path to any end goal is going to be bumpy, and at times incredibly trying. Any set goal is worth achieving, and I have no intention of failing at this long ago set goal, to become a FNP for my small, rural community.