Sunday, March 16, 2014

my purpose statement for NP school

One might say that I was born with nursing in my blood. Raised by grandmother who worked full-time as an ICU and then recovery room nurse, and a mother who worked as a nurse in home health care, I was poised to enter the field of medicine with personal knowledge nurse under my belt of what it takes to be a nurse. I was comfortable from the start with this role in the health care field and felt that I could emulate the positive qualities I had been witness to as a child growing up in a family of nurses. 
Throughout my undergraduate nursing studies, I strengthened my confidence in patient care by working in assisted living and then as an ICU tech in the hospital. I began my nursing career on a step-down telemetry floor and quickly found myself restless and craving a more stimulating environment. I found that ideal workplace in the ***** unit ICU at U of ******, where I have been working full-time for the last four years. In the area of medical intensive care, I have been challenged to think critically and to become an outspoken advocate for my patients. In particular, I am drawn to patients who change their goals from full resuscitation to end-of-life comfort care. My long-time love for the elderly, my passion for providing patient-centered and goal oriented care at the end of life, and the solid background in medicine pathophysiology that develops while working in a top-notch ICU, has led me to pursue an advanced degree in nursing with a concentration in geriatrics.
In addition to working at the bedside of critically ill patients, I have also served as a nurse mentor and preceptor for ***** nursing students over the past five years, including those of your faculty member Kathleen ****. My commitment to the field of nursing is highlighted by my enthusiasm to bring new nurses into the fold in a way that prepares them for real-life nursing and inspires a life-long interest in evidence-based nursing practice. I have been a part of our unit's Patient and Family-Centered Care team, most recently and specifically developing a model of bedside report that will increase family and patient involvement and improve patient safety from shift to shift.
My reasons for applying to ******* School of Nursing's graduate program are many, but the one that is perhaps the most important is that I have a great interest in specializing in geriatric diseases, such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The courses offered in the Aging Studies program are of great interest to me, as I have worked with the elderly throughout college, and currently care for a grandfather with Alzheimer's disease. In fact, my desired population of patients as a nurse practitioner will be those suffering from dementia. 
Along with a strong curriculum in Aging Studies, I am further interested in *****'s program because of the nature of its schedule. As a mother of a busy one-year-old, and a full-time staff nurse, I am looking for a program that can offer courses back to back one day a week. With a schedule like this, I will be able to provide financially for my family and spend time with my daughter while pursuing my education and career goals.
As an undergrad in the school of nursing at *****, I met and learned much from the devoted nursing faculty there. Professors I remember fondly include G**** R****, who inspired me to advocate for advancements in the nursing profession, D**** F***, my advisor and final clinical instructor, and M*** T****, whose work in Sub-Saharan Africa continues to motivate me. I look forward to once again working with the diverse and talented group of advanced nurses at ******* University. 

grad school on the horizon

Cross-posted from my foster/adopt blog:

On top of feeling suffocating guilt that I don't spend every waking moment that I'm not working with my daughter, I struggle to balance the other aspects of my life. For some stupid reason, under a hint of pressure from management, I "volunteered" for a committee at work. Then I "volunteered" to help with a certain project. Now, on my day off, I have to go in for four hours to work on this project. No more committees after this year! I'm not interested in being involved in every extra-curricular nursing activity the unit has to offer as if it's college. Do I want to work toward a better work environment for nurses and higher quality care for patients? Absolutely. Am I willing to sacrifice precious time with my toddler for it? Nope.
On the other hand, I have begun the application process for grad school. Before you start thinking that this sounds absolutely crazy, the nurse practitioner program is geared toward working adults with families, and you take two classes per semester, both of which are held on the same night, one night per week. Doable?
I went back and forth about this decision for a long time. The pros are obvious: higher education, the prestige of being an advanced practitioner, and a huge pay raise. Then more pros: being a living example of success to my daughter, providing her with more (material) wealth as she grows up, setting a work/study ethic example for her, and having a schedule that will allow me to be off on evenings and weekends once she is in her later school years.
The cons are financial (for a few years, although my workplace reimburses tuition up to 75%), and yet another time-sucker, what with clinicals and homework and an evening away from home. And also the fact that doing bullshit assignments sounds like hell. The world of academia can be so tedious and stressful. It's been awesome being out of it for 6 years now.
But I think that in the long-run, the short-term sacrifices will be worth it. I want to set an example to my daughter, that aiming high and working toward goals will get you far in life. Self-discipline and temporary sacrifice are tolerable to achieve your dreams.

Friday, March 14, 2014

the maybe-ECMO patient returns...

But not as a patient! He came back to say thank you, along with his wife. He, of course, remembers nothing of his ICU stay here, but his wife remembers it all. He walked in looking fit as a fiddle, and showed us photos of him with his granddaughter at Disney last winter. He told me, "I never would have been able to make those memories if not for you and everyone here," and he gave me a hug. It was really a wonderful moment, and a reminder of why I do what I do.