One Nurse’s Journey
It was fall of 2010; the Institute of Medicine released their recommendations for the future of nursing. One recommendation they made was to increase the ratio of BSN prepared nurses to 80% by 2020 to help meet the increased demands in nursing to care for the increasingly complex patients.
By 2011, like many other facilities across the nation one large rural hospital in upstate New York started to make changes. One particular announcement was that any nurses practicing in the professional advancement program would not be eligible for a level 4 if they had not acquired their BSN by 2016. For those staff members that had been in the program for decades, there was frustration, fear, and anger. As a diploma graduate with three decades of experience, I was amongst them.
Over the next year, there was a half-heartedly review of BSN programs. Doing the math on tuition costs versus income, time commitment, and fear resulted in digging in of heels. It was easy to argue there was there was no time to return to school, family obligations and job would make it too challenging.
In 2012, I stumbled on a program that seemed very affordable when considering tuition reimbursement, tax benefit, and ebooks were included in costs. The commit to try one five-week class seemed doable; one can do anything for five weeks. Online programs allowed self-scheduling. If I was struggling, got nothing out of it, I had only committed five weeks and promised myself I did not have to continue.
What the Institute of Medicine did not report was how personally stimulating returning to school was going to be, how rewarding it would be to be interacting with nurses across the country, and how fast the classes would go by. Five weeks were not enough. Eleven classes were not enough. In 2013, I enrolled in a masters program. The 2016 deadline has come and gone and two degrees later, I am looking for my next challenge. My goal for 2015 was to make it easier for my colleagues to get started, to encourage them, and to motivate them. My goal for 2016 is to share that same knowledge with you so that you might be inspired or share the information with your colleagues to help motivate and inspire them.
Do I have any regrets? Yes, I am disappointed I did not start sooner. Be a role model to your children and colleagues. Take the journey, have no regrets, do it for your patients, but more importantly do it for yourself.
Beth Hogan MSN, RN, CNOR, CRN