Last Fall, I jumped, kind of randomly, at the opportunity to apply for graduate school. When I graduated with my bachelors degree, I was fairly certain I would want to go back to school for some sort of graduate nursing.
My first two years as a nurse, the thoughts of being a CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist) or CNL (Clinical Nurse Leader) came to mind. My first job as a nurse, I worked on a unit with a CNS and was blessed to have such an awesome resource. I thought for a while I wanted to do that.
Before I became a nurse on an adult step down unit, I wanted to work with babies/kids. I thought either Labor and Delivery or the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Working on the adult floor, I still loved babies and kids. So I thought about becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner or a pediatric nurse practioner. I researched all of those programs.
In Fall, 2016 I also changed careers to become a pediatric ICU nurse. This year has been a WORLDWIND of thoughts that have even changed from last fall to now. I LOVE babies. And I LOVE kids. But, I also miss some things about being an adult nurse too!
So why do I want to become a family nurse practitioner?
It’s a good mix of both! I’m so so happy to be working in a pediatric unit right now. I love (and hate) a shift with a really sick patient because 1) I’m hoping to have even a small part in their recovery and healing and 2) am learning SO much. I also love a shift where my patients aren’t so bad because I can literally just go hold babies and ya’ll, HEART. FILLED. I’ve had a few shifts like that lately and I’m not mad about it.
Adults are a different picture. They’re super complex with several co-morbidities, and a bit more of a story to tell. This is where my love for health and fitness comes in. Seeing first hand so many people come in with exacerbations of their illnesses killed me sometimes. Nursing has truly taught me why taking care of your body is so so important. Not for vanity reasons, but because we’ve been gifted with this incredible instrument and we should take care of it. All of it. Mind/body/spirit. Caring for sick adults made me want to help and inspire people to take care of their bodies. Some adults come in with a lung issue. But if we try and fix that lung issue, some other system that is sick too, makes that really difficult.
As a family nurse practioner, I’ll be able to see kids and adults. I could follow kids through adult hood. I love the opportunities that are in that.
It’s preventative medicine. Though this may not be how that some primary care offices function, primary care is supposed to be just that. PRIMARY care. After spending time caring for patients at the far end of the sick spectrum, I want to use my passion for health and wellness to push people to prevent these chronic, awful diseases. With the understanding that no, we can’t prevent everything, I also want to inspire patients to be their own health advocate. To reverse what they can and manage what is possible. To own their health.
I have so many options. While I have a passion for preventative medicine, I also could see myself working somewhere like a school. My high school had a ‘Wellness Center’ that acted as a primary care for the students at the high school who chose to go there. Working at a schoolwould combine my passion for the pediatric (adolescent) age group and allow me to explore some of my other interests. I think it could be a lot of fun to work at a school and be involved in school activities like coaching a sport, FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), or whatever!
The obvious benefits. While I’m passionate about the career field itself, I don’t deny desiring the lifestyle that comes with it. The flexibility, the M-F schedules, etc. I also love the acuity right now but know that there’s no way I would work in such a high stress environment for the rest of my life. This career would suit my desire to raise children the way I want to if I’m so blessed, and be involved in the things I want to (school, church, etc.).
These are my thoughts now. I’m taking classes now that are opening my mind to parts of health care I wasn’t even sure I wanted to know about! But it is SO eye opening. I know my thoughts will develop and change over time. I’m happy right now to be in a long, drawn out program, even though I also kind of dread it taking that long. My program is 5 years, part time. I wasn’t quite ready to stop being a bedside nurse, and I’m excited to keep learning, both at the bedside, and in school 🙂
Are you in graduate school or undergraduate? If so, what are you studying?
Any nurses out there? 🙂 If so, what kind of nursing do you do?