Nursing School?!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hey, I'm going to nursing school!  Well, not justyet. I have been admitted to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis as a pre-nursing student and I have four prerequisites to take before I can apply to the accelerated BSN program at IUPUI. I know you have questions, so here are some answers.

When I was pregnant with Elliott, I received all my prenatal care through One Medical.  This meant that I saw one nurse practitioner, Bernadette, throughout my entire pregnancy and she was an incredible source of realistic advice and comfort for me and Lane.  She took the time to get to know us and spent more time with us at each appointment than we would have had with a doctor.  Bernadette and her amazingness planted the seed in my brain that got me thinking about becoming a nurse practitioner.  Basically, she was so inspiring that I ended up kind of wanting to be her. 

The other big part of this decision was the lack of active decision-making which led me to my current career path.  I went to law school right out of undergrad because I wanted to make my parents happy and they didn't like any of the other career or graduate education paths I had suggested (they said I wasn't good at science, so pre-med was a bad idea; my dad doesn't believe in therapy, so clinical psychology was out; there is no money in social work, so an MSW was out of the question; ad infinitum). Somehow, they mildly approved of me going to law school, but I had done no research, hadn't met with my college's pre-law advisor, or anything else a capable undergrad might have done to prepare for a major career path.  I took a Kaplan LSAT prep course and got a decent score. Now, this was in 2004/2005, before the collapse of Big Law (RIP Heller, Thelen and Dewey), so going into debt to get a J.D. wasn't something people were warning young undergrads against.  It was still worth it to take on that debt because it was still assumed that you'd get a job and pay that debt off in a decent amount of time. I got into a third-tier school and waitlisted at Santa Clara, which is somewhere at the very bottom of the Top 100.  I wanted to move to San Francisco, so I enrolled at the third-tier school and took on $50k in government and private loans, and proceeded to spectacularly fail at law school and adulthood.  I didn't make the curve after my first year, so instead of going back on academic probation, I got a job as a legal assistant to a personal injury sole practitioner through my school's alumni association.  That job was great, even though I was still failing at adulthood, and I just kept doing it for another ten years, moving up to bigger firms, better pay and more responsibility.  If we had been able to afford to stay in the Bay Area, I would have had a great and fulfilling career as a Big Law paralegal.  But we couldn't and ended up in Indianapolis, where the work life of a paralegal is, frankly, depressing.  Working outside of Big Law for the first time in nearly five years has been a frustrating experience and I quickly burned out and have been trying not to resent my job, my firm or my coworkers.  

I also tried, unsuccessfully, for two years to convince myself to go back to law school out of pride, but I knew deep down that it was a terrible idea because I didn't love it and there was no guarantee that I'd find a job to pay off even more debt.

With burnout as my motivation, I finally let myself explore other career and educational paths.  I would never have been able to go back to school in a completely different field in San Francisco.  We were just getting by on a relatively high joint income and there was no way I could have quit my job and gone back to school.  But here in Indiana, the cost of living is so low and we have help with childcare, me taking a part-time job and going to school isn't going to put us out on the streets.  So I went for it.


Here's my general, somewhat optimistic plan:

  • Spring 2016 - Spring 2017:  Complete all nursing prerequisites in one academic year, plus summers (Psychology, Statistics, Anatomy, Physiology and Microbiology).  
  • Summer 2016:  Complete CNA training and certification.
  • Fall 2017:  Apply and get accepted to the Accelerated BSN program for holders of non-nursing Bachelor's degrees, an 18-month program.
  • Summer/Fall 2018:  Graduate with a BSN and pass the NCLEX.
  • Fall 2018:  Apply and get accepted to the MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner program, while working as a Registered Nurse.

  • I'm taking Psychology online through the local community college starting next month and I'll do the CNA training there over the summer as well.  I'm kind of bummed that I have to re-take statistics (the class I took in college for my sociology degree is too old, sigh), but my advisor said it will be a good refresher, especially because I plan on continuing with graduate work.

    I've realized that I'm writing this post more for me than for anyone else -- I guess, being a planner, it really helps my anxiety and various neuroses to write everything down in logical order.  So I hope I didn't bore you (if you're still reading) and wish me luck!

    P.S.  Elliott and Lane are doing wonderfully and it's still hella cold.  More to come...

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