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IhaveaBachelor'sdegreeinnursing(BSN)fromGrandValleyStateUniversity.

Istartedoffat
GRCCtotakemyprerequisiteclassesthatincludedmath,statistics,A&P,Microbiology,
Biochemistry,etc.Ittookme21/2yearstofinishallmyclassesIneededtoapplytothenursing
program.IthenappliedtothenursingprogramatGVSU.Ispent2yearsatGVSUintheactual
nursingprogram.So,ittookmeatotalof5yearstogetmyBachelor's.Itisdoablein4years
buttheclassesaretough.Nursingprogramsaresupercompetitivesoyouwanttomakesure
youaretakingyourtimeandgettinggoodgradessoyoudon'thavetoretakeanything.

Biggestsetback:Itooka6weekacceleratedMicrobiologysummerclassatGRCC.Iendedup
withaB+.Iwashappywiththatgradebecausetheclasswastough.Aftertheclass,myadvisor
atGRCCtoldmeIshouldretakeit.HeexplainedthatIcouldapplytothenursingprogrambut
thatitissocompetitiveIprobablywouldn'tgetin.Iwasbummed.Thatsetmebackbya
semesterbecauseIhadtoretakeit.Idon'twantyoutothinkitisimpossiblethough.Iwasa
B/Cstudentinhighschool.Ididwaybetterincollege.Onceyouareworkingtowardyour
dreamcareer,youwillhavethedeterminationandmotivationtodoit.Youjustneedtoputin
110%everyday!

IhavebeenaRNfor15years.IknewfromthetimeIwaslittleIwantedtobeanurse.My
youngerwasdiagnosedwithType1Diabetesattheageof7.Thatsealedthedealforme.I
wouldhelpcheckhisbloodsugarsandgivehimhisinsulinshotsattheageof13.Ilovehelping
people.Themedicalprofessionhasalwaysintriguedme.Mybrotheriswhoinspiredmeto
wanttobeanurse.

SinceIamfulltimenowasateacherhereatKCTC,Iamnotworkingasanurse,Idon'thavethe
time.WhenIwaslastworkingasaRNIdidhomecareforaprogramcalledWelcomeHome
Baby.Wedidhomevisitsfornewmomsandbabiesthatwerejustdischargedfromthehospital.
Iworkedparttime.Icouldwork7daysaweekfrom9amto9pm.Ourschedulewassetupin2
hourblocksoftimepervisit.WhenIworkedatthehospitalbeforethat(SpectrumHealthfor11
years)Iworked2312hourshiftsaweek.12hourshiftsareprettycommonatthehospital.
Thatisactuallyprettynicethough.312hourshiftsisconsideredfulltimesoyougetalotof
daysoffeachweek.

Mybackgroundispostpartumormother/babynursing.Ithinkthereisamisconceptionout
therethatpostpartumnurseshaveaneasyjobbecauseitiswithbabies.Sometimesyouhave
thefreetimetorockababyinthenurserybutmostofthetimeyouarebusy!Usually,Iwould
haveanassignmentthatwouldbemadeupof45couplets(momsandbabies).Thatwouldend
upbeing810patientstotal.Betweenvitals,checkingincisionsandbleeding,helpingwith
breastfeeding,passingmeds,feedingbabies,andanythingelsethatwouldcomeup,yourun
yourbuttoff!Anothermisconceptionisthatitisalwaysafunandhappyplacetowork.Mostof

thetimeitis,butwhenitissaditisreallysad.Ifapatientpassesawayorisreallysick,itisa
youngmotheroranewbornbaby!

Detailsaboutthejobasanurse:Itisthemostrewardingthingyouwilleverdo.Youwillmakea
differenceinthelivesofyourpatientsandtheirfamilieseveryday.Theywillneverforgetyou!
Itisalotofwork.Sometimesyour12hourshiftscanturninto14,sometimesyoudon'tget
breaks.Youwillhavehappydaysandsaddays.Youwillcryrightalongwithyourpatients
sometimesandthatisokay.Itshowsyourarecompassionateandempathetic,thatyouare
human.

Youneedtobecompassionate,kind,caring,andpatienttobeaRN.Entrylevelpositions
relatedtothiscareerwouldeanursetechorCNAorresidentaide.Itisnotdifficulttofindajob
inthehealthcarefield.Therearealwaysopenings.IfIcoulddoitalloveragain,Iwouldhave
continuedonwithmycareerandwouldhavebecomeaNursePractitioner.

TypicalDay:IfIworkeda12shiftatthehospitalIwouldstartmydaygettingreportfromthe
nightshiftnursesoIknewwhatwasgoingonwithallmypatients.WhenIgotoutofreport,I
wouldcatchupwiththeCNA/NurseTechworkingwithmetogiveareportaboutourpatients.I
wouldthenmakerounds,seeallmypatientsandassessthemall(Thisincludesvitalsand
assessmentonallthebabiestoo).Myworkphonewouldbegoingoffduringthistimewithmy
otherpatientscallingformewithvariousneeds(Youoftentimesfeellikeyouarebeingpulled
inmanydirections.Youneedtoorganizedandneedtoprioritizewhatyouhavetodofirst.)I
thenwouldhavetochartanddocumenteverylastdetailofmyassessmentsofthepatients.
Thisisdoneelectronicallyonthecomputer.Iamhelpingwithbreastfeedinganddoingalotof
teachingwithmynewmoms.Iusuallywouldhaveafewgoinghome.Ifso,Iwouldhavetogo
throughdischargeinstructions.Aftermypatientsleave,Iwouldgetnewpatientsadmitted
(newcsectionpatientsorvaginaldeliveriesfromlaboranddelivery).Newpatientsrequire
moreattentionandassessmentstomonitorforpain,bleeding,etc.ThroughoutthedayIwould
checkonallofmypatientsatleasteveryhourmakingsuretheirneedsaremeet.Thatispretty
muchwhatmydaywouldlooklike,nottomentiontheunexpectedissuessuchaspostpartum
hemorrhages,callingdoctorsandgettingorderforpatientsthatarehavingissues,gettinga
holdofdietaryorsocialworkforspecialcircumstances,etc.Everydayisdifferentandyou
neverknowwhattoexpectorneverknowwhenyouwillhaveanemergencywithapatient.
Teamworkisextremelyimportantasanurse.

WhatIlovedmostaboutbeinganurseiseducatingthenewparents,helpingthemomand
babywithbreastfeeding,reassuringthemthattheyaredoingagoodjobcaringfortheirnew
baby,andofcoursethebabies.Holdingnewborns2hoursaftertheyareborn,justbeingapart
ofthatexperienceisawesome.WhatIlikedleastaboutthejobwasfeelinglikeIwasbeing

pulledinamilliondirections.Oncrazybusydays,IfeltlikeIwasjustsurvivinganddidn'treally
havethetimeIneededtospendwithmypatients.ThatwastoughwhenIwouldgohomeand
didn'tfeellikeIdidn'tdoagoodenoughjob.Sometimes,inthehospitalsetting,theygiveyou
toomanypatientstotakecareof.