Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Long and Winding Road

I am acquainted with someone who has been back and forth about going to nursing school. First she was working on pre-regs, then decided to start an ambulance company, then pre-regs again. Now, six weeks into the semester, I heard her say she's thinking about not going to nursing school but might go to PA school instead.

For a minute I was all smug and self-righteous. I kept thinking, "How are you ever going to finish nursing school if you keep changing your mind?" It's very difficult to get in and the only way you can get through it is to stick to the plan, keep your eyes on the prize and take one step at a time.

But then I began to think about my own circuitious path to nursing school and I simmered down. I like to tell people that it took me four years to get in. This always brings a gasp and a look of horror. Why did it take so long? When I think about it more deeply my own past is littered with near misses and coulda, shoulda, woulda moments, and my path to nursing school actually took 25 years. That's right. Twenty-five years.

So for your amazement and amusement, here is the timeline for my path to nursing school. See if you can spot the times I should have gone to nursing school but chose another path instead.

1982 - Began work in a nursing home as an activities director. Got the job because my husband at the time knew some people there. Looking through the patient's charts I was mesmerized by what I found. I found out that I love medicine.

1984 - Took a medical terminology class with the loose idea of becoming a medical secretary - "somewhere" but no real plan.

1985 - Got a job at Planned Parenthood, again because of someone my husband knew. Was hired to do community outreach but mostly worked as a medical assistant. Decided to start college.

March 1986 - Enrolled in my first college class - basic math. Dropped after 3 weeks because "it was too hard."

August 1986 - Applied for a job doing patient transport at a local hospital. Was offered a job in medical records because my work at Planned Parenthood introduced me to the concept of confidentiality, my class in medical terminology, and because I know how to type.

Early 1987 - Became a coder when my boss said "Come here and let me show you how to do this." Now coders need 2 years of college and have to pass an acreditation exam.

September 1987 - Job has benefits that include tuition assistance. Decide to enroll in a corespondence course to become an accredited records technician. I sell my car and ride my bike to work so I can afford the class.

April 1988 - Discover that 30 hours of college credit are required before a person can take the accreditation exam for medical records. Drop out of the course with plans to get the college credit classes needed, and then restart the program later.

June 1988 - Enroll in college classes. Actually finish 3 classes in one year taking one class per semester.

1989 - Move to another part of the state. Get a job in a hospital as a file clerk on weekends. Learn how to do medical transcription when my boss says "Come here and let me show you how to do this."

1990 - Discover that the local Small Town College offers an associate degree in medical records. Get financial aid and enroll full time.

1991 - Move again, this time to a large city with lots of opportunity. I look for a transcription job. The classifieds has 7 columns of transcription jobs. I find one easily.

1992 - Begin the process of enrolling in the medical records program at the Big City University only to find that the Small Town College was not accredited, and none of my credits will transfer to the University. A whole year of college down the drain.

1993-1994 - Various medical transcription jobs. Each one sucks more than the last.

1995 - Sick and tired of sucky transcription jobs, decide to get an education in something, ANYTHING, and take an algebra class.

1996 - 1999 - Life circumstances require me to work two jobs to survive. College not an option. More sucky transcription jobs. Oh well, Y2K will wipe out civilization as we know it and it won't matter.

2000 - Civilization intact. A friend tells me she can teach me to be a programmer and I can make a bazillion dollars.

Early 2001 - Friend was wrong as I am highly unteachable. Decide to pay good money and go to college to learn programming.

August 2001 - Take a class in logic required to start programming classes. I get an A. Wow!

March 2002 - Begin classes in Visual Basic. Everyone in the class has a programming background but me. I am quickly lost.

May 2002 - Get a Visual Basic certificate by the skin of my teeth. After crying for 2 hours because I can't understand my homework, in frustration I decide to go to nursing school. Hey, how hard could it be? I could start in the fall right?

September 2002 - Wrong. There are many prerequisites needed for nursing school. I look into every nursing program I can find and begin jumping through their hoops. Retake the ACT that I took back in 1977 to raise my score to what is required for school-A. Enroll in classes required for school-B as a back-up.

October 2002 - Look for a job doing Visual Basic as a way to pay for my education. All programming jobs move overseas. No jobs to be found. Continue sucky transcription jobs.

January 2003 - Register for more classes to meet requirements for what is required for school-B. Get word that my mother is terminally ill.

February 2003 - Drop all classes to be with my mother while she is dying.

June 2003 - Take 2 classes during the summer to meet requirements for school-B. Pay off student loan taken out to attend Small Town College. If you do the math, that's 13 years.

September 2003 - Take pharmacology as required to get into school-A.

December 2003 - Failed spectacularly in pharmacology. School-A says "thanks but no thanks."

January 2004 - School-A says "Awww, we were just kidding! You're in." Hastily quit job and make arrangements to start at school-A.

February 2004 - Dropped from school A because I cannot pass math. Lose my grant and have to pay for a whole semester of classes even though I was only there a month, and now I don't have a job. Apply to school-B.

March 2004 - Found a transcription job from the ever dwindling supply that haven't been sent overseas. Continue working on preregs at school-B.

April 2004 - School-B sends a letter saying "Thanks but no thanks." Spend rest of the year on preregs anyway.

January 2005 - Apply to school-B. Take entrance HESI.

April 2005 - School-B says that I have been placed on an alternate list in case a student who has been accepted doesn't attend school, I can take their place.

July 2005 - Getting close to time for school to start. Decide to find out how far on the list of alternates I am. I am number 63. Sixty-two nursing students have to die before I can get in.

August 2005 - Retake some classes to improve my chances of getting accepted. Meanwhile left transcription for good and began work as a dialysis technician to get some patient care experience. Basically took classes full time while learning a completely new career.

January 2006 - Decide to see if I can get accepted into the LVN program then maybe take a transition program later. Drop by the school to find the deadline for admission is the next day. Spend the rest of the day getting everything together that they require for my application. I make it.

February 2006 - Apply for the RN program. What the hell. Retake HESI for a better score.

March 2006 - I get accepted into the LVN program.

March 2006, one week later - Get word that I have been accepted into the ADN program. Give up my seat in the LVN program to another deserving candidate - who probably has her LVN license today.

August 2006 - Begin actual classes in nursing school.


Anonymous said...

hello and thank u 4 ur message you know i have applied to nursing school but i really do not know what the outcome will be. (in GOD hands now)You know really i am not that good in math so i kinda wondering is it as hard as the say

License Pending said...

Nope. It's not in God's hands. It's truly in your hands. You have to play close attention to admission criteria and making sure you meet deadlines. If you leave it up to God, you'll miss out on opportunities to enroll in different nursing schools. Apply to any and all schools in your area and go the first one that accepts you.

LPN Classes said...

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