I care about you, and I believe in you.
I have been there. I understand how you feel. We are not trying to kill you, or torture you or trick you. We are trying to help you reach your dreams. I know it is hard, trust me I do. I know what it is like. I too have struggled. My path to 2018 did not come easy. It came with perseverance and it came with failure.
“The path to failure and success and failure is almost exactly the same.”
Stan Beecham, Elite Minds.
It took me seven years to earn my RN, and an ADN. SEVEN. I failed my very last semester of nursing school by 0.02 of a point. 0.02. I remember sitting in my instructor’s office and just crying.
But let me back up.
When I told my brother what my SAT score was in high school, he asked “which half?”. I earned a C in high school Chemistry with a lot of extra help and a teacher who shook his head at me one day and said “Please just don’t even become a nurse”. No problem Mr. F., I was planning to major in art.
Two years in, a lot of art later, and enduring some great personal struggle (I was in the beginning of recovery for my eating disorder) I found myself on the nursing track.
I went to a hospital based program because it was hands on, and that’s how I learn best. I excelled clinically and continued to struggle as I did in high school. I was a poor test taker and anxiety surrounding exams was so incredibly real.
When I failed my last semester of nursing school by 0.02, it was truly the best thing that ever happened to me, in retrospect. I was in a stupid unhealthy relationship and I struggled with test taking. That failure caused me to get the hell OUT of that relationship.
That was the day I began to choose myself first.
I didn’t allow that failure to derail my dream of becoming a nurse. My parents didn’t raise me that way. They raised me to never give up regardless of how difficult the obstacle in front of me was. If nothing else they bred me to hustle. And hustle I did.
I started choosing myself first. I took the time to get on my feet as a human, as an adult, and in every possible way. I worked incredibly hard at it. I got out of that relationship and surrounded myself with people who believed in me. Months later I started dating Curt and honestly, had I not failed, had I not needed something to stop me on the path I was on, we may never have happened.
I took control of my difficulties with test taking. I went to a Sylvan learning center and I bought every NCLEX book I could find. Not only did I come back and excel at that semester, I achieved one of the highest GPA’s and won a monetary award for my comeback.
I earned my RN and several years later finished my BSN while I was a mother, a nurse, and still an athlete. I completed two semesters of a Nurse Practitioner program and then withdrew. I knew an NP was a great path, but it wasn’t MY path. I knew then that I wanted to teach, and I wanted to teach RN’s. When I told my advisor that I was withdrawing, and that my aim was to redirect into Nursing Education, he said to me “You aren’t Masters material anyways.”
Another person that may have crushed, or intimidated. It caused me to rise up yet again, and find a different program.
When I graduated with my Masters in Nursing Education, I may have sent him a copy of my degree. Maybe.
I have met with failure more times than I have met with success. Within me I have this …. this THING. I don’t know what to call it. I know that it came from my mom and dad.
It’s this: the only person who gets to write the end of my story is me. It’s a feeling that lives somewhere near my heart, and if I had to describe it, I would call it a burn. When I am chasing something, I chase it with everything I have.
I was not born to listen to those who tell me that I can’t. I only know how to pause, adjust my sail, and go forward. I only know how to keep getting up, and it’s that deep burning thing within me that fuels that. It’s that same itch that I can never seem to scratch.
So dear nursing student I have been there. I didn’t come out of the womb knowing I wanted to be a nurse. I didn’t take the traditional path to get here either. I went around the block more than once.
As students we can’t see the forrest through the trees. We can’t see why this care plan is so damn important. Why on God’s green earth do we need ADPIE or even NANDA (while you won’t formally write out care plans as a nurse, when you get there you automatically think like that, trust me).
These two years, they are hard. They are the hardest part of your education I promise. New statistics show that 50% of errors in the hospital are made my novice nurses. NCLEX (the national boards nurses myst pass to earn their RN) is all about safety. That’s why NCLEX is hard and that is why the blueprint is changing.
Nursing school is hard because we care. I forget who said it (and if this was an academic paper I would be properly citing it in APA format), but we wouldn’t be your biggest critics if we did not care about you. If we didn’t believe in you. If we didn’t want you to become the best version of yourself that you could be.
As teachers we lead from behind. It’s flattering when a student says “I want to be as good a nurse as you are”, but I have to correct them. My job is to pass the torch and to help you to become better than I ever could have been. I want you to reach higher, go further.
I want you to understand that it’s hard because nursing is hard. I want to prepare you for those 2am moments when you are holding hands with your colleagues after a trauma or a code that didn’t go well. But I can not prepare you for that. I can only give you tools.
But then again I won’t give you the tools. I won’t give you anything. I will show you how to learn them.
I see you during these two years (maybe 3, and I have been there) of struggle. I see the look in your eyes and I promise you, it’s all for a reason. Those reasons are buried in academia. The rhyme and reason behind why all of this is designed the way it is would take months to explain, and honestly it may put you to sleep.
Trust us now…. believe us later.
Struggling student nurse, I know. I have been there. I get it. As you know, anything worth achieving is hard. That I don’t need to reinforce.
What I need to reinforce is why you are here.
Why did you embark on this path? Forget your end goal for a moment and think about your WHY. Your why is strong enough so that despite every failure, you continue on. You hustle. You work for it. You persevere.
My why is much bigger than wanting to help people, but it is because I want to help people.
I wanted to give back to a world that has given so much to me. Despite the struggles I have faced, this world has given me gifts. I wanted to repay that. I wanted to be able to make small differences in people’s lives. That has come in the form of holding hands in times of terror, and celebrating miracles. I wanted to share in people’s lives in the good and bad moments.
My why helped me drive past a high school transcript that didn’t show who I really was, SAT scores my brother laughed at, seven years of achievement and success, professors who believed in me and professors that didn’t. My why kept me going and it’s what is driving me to pursue my Doctorate.
Your why dear nursing student, is what drives me. I won’t let you give up on yourself even when others have. Even when the person in the mirror starts to. I will be the person who always believes in you. I want you to walk away from my course having learned something and hopefully in the process what you have learned has helped you to become the best version of yourself.
I have been there.
I know what you are going through.
We do this one step at a time.
I believe in you.
I care about you.
I want you to be better than I ever could have been.
You’ve got this.