The Pros and Cons of Being an Adult Learner
The thought of going back to school after having your life pretty much established for years can be a bit terrifying. That's how I felt after deciding to go back to school after being out of college or years, getting married, buying a house, and having a baby. I thought, do I have time for this? Am I still cut out for college life? The late nights studying, the early morning classes, the financial burden, etc.
But then I thought about something else…Do I feel fulfilled with my current career? Am I happy on the drive to work every morning? Am I doing something I love? Can I honestly encourage my kids to follow their dreams if I don't follow mine?
The answer to all those questions was a HARD no. That's when I knew I had to go back, despite all the thoughts and questions racing through my head.
Fast-forward to my junior year in my BSN program, I've learned that I'm at an advantage in some areas compared to the rest of my nursing cohort.
If you're wondering if it's too late to go back and become a nurse or wondering if you'll have a hard time adjusting to the nursing student lifestyle, read some of my pros and cons below!
Normalize Imperfections: The Nursing Journey
Nursing is one of the most demanding fields that someone can enter into. Maybe I am biased, but I also feel it is a fact. It takes a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional health… you stand on your feet for up to 12 hours a day, helping heal the sick and wounded, giving your everything to this field daily! There is constant pressure to be perfect at what you do, from your friends, family, teachers, future employers, and the most prominent critic of all, yourself. The pressure comes from all sides, and most of the time, it is not intentional! We want to be the best for our patients. I remember being back in nursing school… the pressure I would put myself under would lead to anxiety and make it so hard to focus or do much of anything. Then one day, it clicked… What is the definition of perfection?
Preparing for a Clinical Shift
When I first started clinical placements in nursing school, I was constantly unsure about what I should be packing, preparing, and doing to make myself feel more organized. I want to share some of the tips I have picked up along the way.
Routine, routine, routine: This is so important! I have curated a routine that allows me to ensure I always have what I need for my shift. These steps work for me, and something different may work for everyone; feel free to build off of this.
1. Ensure your lunch is packed and ready in the fridge the night before: The last thing you want the morning of a 12-hour shift is to sleep in and not have time to pack nutritious food. Nursing is a hard job, and you want to make sure you have adequate brain power packed in your lunch bag!
2. Layout a clean pair of scrubs/socks the evening before: I have had a panicked morning or two early on in my schooling where I was digging through the dryer in a frantic search for my school uniform scrubs. Laying this out the night before your shift will save time and stress!
3. Print out any necessary documents 1-2 days before: This helps prove to your instructors and nursing staff that you arrive prepared and show off your organizational skills. Plus - if your printer runs out of ink, you’ll know before it’s too late!