I start my first job as a registered nurse tomorrow morning. I passed the nursing "board" exam that I took on Friday and I am now a full-fledged licensed registered nurse.
I thought I would feel different once I was a nurse. I thought I would feel all knowing/all powerful with regard to medical knowledge. I don't. I know that I have a lot to learn, and that this just the beginning. But, I did it. I studied and tested and got up way too early in order to participate in clinical rotations. I stood on concrete floors until my feet screamed for mercy. I lived apart from my husband during college semesters, took out loans, watched a baby being born, started IV lines, and hung IV medications in order to treat clients. Then there was that fascinating day working in the emergency department.
All I had to do was do it. Step by step, exactly what my instructors and advisors told me to do. It wasn't easy. It was the most stressful thing I have ever done, but it was what I wanted and I was determined to complete the process no matter how much weight I gained, how badly my feet hurt, and how lonely I was without my husband.
I believe that we are capable of doing whatever it is that we want to do if we have enough determination and are willing to sacrifice to achieve our goals. I did this crazy thing in my 50s. I'm 57 and a new nurse. So what? I've always wanted to do it, and I did it. I saw my name posted on the Alaska Board of Nursing website late on Friday, and it had "Licensed Registered Nurse" next to it. I had just taken the board exam that afternoon and was sure I had failed. I saw my name and I sobbed out loud - those deep lurching, keening sobs that I wailed when my mother died. God that felt good. Oh my God, I did it!
Alyx McNeal, RN