This week I will be completing my application to the University of Washington Bachelor in Nursing Degree Program. This is a huge step for me in my career and by no doubt will not be easy. Of course when is anything worth doing easy. I pride myself in having to work extra hard in everything I do but I rejoice in the fact that I never give up.
Ever since graduating nursing school, I have known I wanted to pursue a more advanced degree, because when I do something I want to do it to the best of my ability which requires continuing to increase my knowledge to better care for others. During the last 9 years working as a nurse, I have traveled around the country gaining vast amounts of knowledge in different specialties and experience in some of the top facilities in the country. This has helped me to see the good and bad of healthcare, what we are doing right, and what we can improve upon.
My career path has not been without its twists, turns, and bumps in the road. From the very beginning, I have had to push on when people told me that I should not bother pursuing such a profession. Had I believed them, I could have resigned myself to the fact that I had neither the money, nor the academic aptitude for advancing my education. My account of my father's struggle with Multiple Sclerosis and its effect on the rest of my family gained me a scholarship and off to college I went. With my strengths not being an ability to learn quickly and effortlessly, but rather in my level of drive and determination to succeed, I knew I would have to put in a lot of extra time, and use every resource at my disposal to achieve my dream. I struggled a lot. I had horrible test anxiety. Every time someone told me it was not worth it and that I should just quit, I knew that there was one more person that I could prove wrong. That is exactly what I did. This experience has served me well throughout my career as I have worked in many different facilities, and with many years spent as a travel nurse I have had to become comfortable with ever changing and not always the most welcoming environments.
I have had the unique pleasure of working in many different locations throughout my career. My experience has taken me not only to different facilities, but to different cities, states, and regions of the country. My desire to help those who need it most has been an excellent fit so far. Not only have I been able to learn how to work effectively with vastly different personalities, almost everywhere I have gone I have had an opportunity to work extensively with the local homeless population and with a great number of IV drug users. Those among us who have been written off by most of society as a lost cause, still need and deserve to be cared for. Every person who looks the other way or mutters under their breath as they walk by these people has squandered an opportunity to make a difference in someone's day, maybe even their life.
I have been selected for and have pursued a variety of leadership opportunities in my organization, including being a charge nurse and representing my department in the clinical practice council. I have also been nominated and elected as the future chair of the council for 2014. I am an active part of a mindfulness based stress reduction group in my organization which is at the beginning stages of researching and working with pilot groups to future see how we can implement these tools within the organization to not only provide better care for the patients but for the staff as well. I have received many letters of recognition from patients and staff.
Recently, I was selected to give a speech for the American Heart Association at Cheney Stadium about my own personal transformation to encourage and inspire others to live healthier lives. I truly believe that we cannot provide what we don't have ourselves. If healthcare providers don't care for themselves how can they teach others to provide this care and be the example? To further my mission to lead by example, I have enrolled in a teacher training program starting in February to become a yoga instructor. I feel this will be a valuable contrast to my other fitness related certifications and credentials which I put to use when I volunteered to teach a circuit training class at Tacoma General Hospital to employees. This is my way of giving back to other healthcare workers and helping them change their own life so they can in turn better change the lives of the patients they care for.
My reasons for pursuing my BSN not only lie in my passion to better myself but to also put my career in a position where I will be able to have a greater influence in improving the working environment of the front line staff and have more of a direct impact in improving the quality of life for the staff and the patients. After my BSN my ambition lies in pursuing my masters in healthcare leadership and being the type of leader the doesn't just give orders but inspires others to keep the dream alive and continuing to make an impact in the lives of others.