Monday was a great day! Not only did we celebrate the birth of our 8 year old daughter, but I found out that I’ve been accepted into the nursing program and even better then that, I’ve been accepted into a program called Earn As You Learn. This is a program through BayCare Health System which consists of 10 hospitals including: Morton Plant, Mease Countryside, Mease Dunedin, St. Joseph’s and St. Anthony’s, just to name a few. The Earn As You Learn program is a program in which BayCare pays for tuition and books in exchange for working 1 eight hour shift a week and a 2 year commitment to one of the hospitals after graduation. I get paid a weekly stipend for attending classes long with hourly pay on the one day I work. Its one of the best scholarships ever because everything is covered, I get paid to learn and I’m guaranteed a job now and after school. BayCare only chooses 12 students for this spot (out of almost 50 candidates) with a preference for BayCare employees, so I feel very honored and excited to have made the cut (especially because I’m not a BayCare employee).
I still can’t believe it. I’m headed to nursing school! I’m in! I’ve waited for this moment since I was 12 years old. I’ll never forget the babysitting course I took through the American Red Cross. My favorite part of the course was the first aid portion. Since then my fascination and desire to become a nurse grew every year…. compounding. When we received our first encyclopedia set at home, I searched the pages for anything related to nursing, disease, and first aid. I also remember the summer that I read about Helen Keller. I do remember being amazed by the fact that a deaf and blind person could learn to live beyond a silent and dark world and turn around and do great things, but I was more impressed with Anne Sullivan. The patience, determination and passion she had to help Helen was a huge inspiration and motivator for me. I remember writing to The American Association of the Deaf and Blind, asking for information and braille cards or anything they could send me to help me with my future career. We didn’t have a computer at that time so the only quick access to loads of information wasn’t the internet, but the library, writing to an association or my quickly aging encyclopedias. I waited by the mailbox daily and became fascinated with learning. Eventually my intense gaze for my future life work shifted to nursing. Everything I’ve done up up until now has supported my long term goal, which is to care for people; I took a CNA (certified nursing assistant) course when I was 17, worked as a secretary at All Children’s Hospital at the same time, worked with patients in a busy eye hospital at St. Lukes from 2000-2005, volunteered at Mease Dunedin hospital while taking pre-nuring courses and started at Bayfront Medical Center 6 months ago.
Lately, whenever I have to visit the Clearwater SPC campus, I remember when I first stepped foot onto the campus almost 3 years ago, back in 2010. I remember thinking to myself that I had so many prerequisites to complete before I could even think about applying for the nursing program. It was overwhelming and my desire to be in the program along with the thought of all the pre-nursing classes I had to take, made me feel as though I’d never get to the start line. I realize that everything I’ve done up until this point is all apart of the process and that I was at the “start line” the day I said I wanted to be a nurse, but being accepted into the nursing program (and learning the heart of my future career) feels like the start line for me. I feel I still have such a long way to go before I’m R.N., but I remind myself of how far I’ve come and how quickly 2 years went by while I was plugging away at my pre-reques. I also tell myself every step is one step closer. I’m on my way and I’m so excited!
My classes start on August 19th. That is the same day that the girls start their first day of school and the first day of kindergarten for Soph. I always told myself that I’d wait until both girls were in school before starting the nursing program. Well, I couldn’t have timed it better and I didn’t intentionally time it either. It just worked out perfectly. The way it was meant to be.
My last day at Bayfront will be on July 17th. I’ve learned so much at that place and I love the nurses I have the honor of working with. It has been a great experience and one I will greatly miss, but it fulfilled its duty. The reason I worked this last semester was to gain experience, confirm to myself that I still want to be a nurse (which has never been a doubt, but its always good to confirm before a lengthy nursing school commitment), and to work in a trauma unit because someday I want to work as an ER nurse or trauma nurse. This has been an incredible 7 months and I know now, for 100% sure, that I’m right were I need to be and that I’m moving along the right path towards my goal of becoming an R.N.
The next few weeks will be all about finishing at Bayfront, summer time fun with my girls, orientations, purchasing books, studying for the TEAS exam (nursing entrance exam), vacation and enjoying free time before a very busy season ahead begins. But for right now, today, the girls and I prepare for Sara’s 8th birthday celebration and festivities that will take place tomorrow. We have cupcakes to bake, groceries to buy and party decor to put up. We love parties around here and there’s a lot to celebrate!