I’m on the cusp of something, and it feels like creeping up on a new horizon… or a cliff.
As I approach to completion of my BSN (bachelor’s of science, nursing) degree, I’ve been looking into the option of going further. These days, nurse practitioners are going through doctoral programs. That means 4 years of full-time grad school, plus 500+ clinical hours, plus maintaining competency in the field of neonatal nursing in the meantime. It feels like an epic adventure just waiting for me to step outside my door, put my foot on the path, and let it carry me away. The one thing I’ve come to learn from decades of reading and writing fantasy is that there are always dragons or orcs or wicked witches waiting down that path.
My husband thinks I should not worry about it. Just go for it, and if it doesn’t work out… well, it’s only money. Lots, and lots, and lots of money. Plus time of course. And stress. Missed family dinners. Late night study sessions. A whole new pot of excuses to avoid the gym and opening the mail and doing all the other things I’m supposed to do but don’t really want to do. Not to mention the risk to my health.
My heart problem taught me a whole lot about limitations and unexpected strength, aboutÂ perseveranceÂ and that sometimes the wiser woman chooses not to persevere. Frankly, it also taught me a lot about fear. Fear that I will spend $$$$$, years of my life, and uncountable volumes of my limited energy, and in the end it will all be for nothing. Fear that I will miss out on the things that really matter in my life while pursuing something that isn’t as important as I think it is.
There are no guarantees, of course, but I feel like this massive step forward in my career and in my life is worth considering from all the angles. That means professionally and personally. I want to look at the impact this decision, one way or another, will have on me, on my family, on my future, on the patients I will see as an NP or the ones I’ll care for as an RN, on the place I work and the places I will work in the future. And the truth is, in the end I can’t know any of those things. Unexpected consequences and circumstances and windfalls and just plain falls are part of life.
I am afraid to fail, of course. Who isn’t? I’m afraid that if I don’t go for it, I’ll be giving up on something that could be wonderful. I’m afraid of being paralyzed in this decision by… well,
all that freaking fear.Â But more than that, I fear succeeding only to find out that the Wizard is nothing but a little man behind a curtain who will show me that I’ve gotten it all wrong.
Maybe my husband’s right, after all. I should just put my arm through his and sing a little song as we dance our way down the yellow brick road, without a care for all the wicked, wicked witches who might be poised to rain winged monkeys on us.
OK, that metaphor got a little clunky, but what do you want? I’m not a writer anymore. I’m just a nurse who refuses to be ruled by that little voice inside my head that keeps playing the advocate for all my personal demons. I may fail, but I am not a failure.
Tomorrow,Â I’m going to sucker punch fear in the throat, put on some nice clothes, and head to the university where I will soon be applying for a doctoral program in nursing. I am going to go to the GRE prep session and the nursing expo. I am going to put my foot on the path and let it take me wherever it goes, because it is always the journey that matters.
Tonight, I’m going to hide in a good book.