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I have a habit of researching a topic into the ground.  I check, recheck, and start all over again from different points of view or origination of information.  When I first started to consider a career change to nursing, I did my usually poking around times ten.  By the time I submitted my finished application to the school of nursing, I felt I had practically graduated.  I knew the admission statistics over the course of almost a decade, I knew the entire schedule of course work, I read profiles on many of the instructors, and I became familiar with the professional nursing organizations.  I spoke to nurses working in a variety of settings, and had worked in cooperation with nurses for 6 years.  I felt like I had a handle on what was expected of me, what it would cost, the time I had to commit, and where I would go when I was done.

In the course of a month and a half, I have learned that I have a lot left to learn.  Here is a list of what I knew and thought I would learn and a list of what I have learned instead.

What I thought I knew:

I thought I had a solid background in Physiology and Anatomy

I thought that 30 hours a week in study and homework time would be sufficient

I thought I’d learn how to deal with the fears of patients and families

I thought I’d learn how to record vital signs and give an intake interview

I thought I would have a step above the other students with 6 years of hospital work experience

I thought I knew my limits

What I have learned instead:

I only had enough background in physiology and anatomy to skate through week one

I learned that 30 hours a week in study time is both hard to get, and half of what I need

I am finding that I have my own fears and deep-seated issues to overcome before I can be of any help to anyone else, including my family

The mystery of blood pressures has finally been revealed to me, and it’s pretty neat

I have learned that I am in the same boat as every other student, except I ALWAYS have my little family on my mind.  I still sweat out the test scores and sit in lecture just like the people a decade younger than me, but I have my two little ones smiling back at my from my computer wall paper.  I still have to find a way to pull all nighters before an exam, but also to comfort a little one who may wake up in the middle of my study session.  That being a student is more challenging than every, especially when my family is relying on me.

I have learned that I have so far to go, and so many mountains to climb before graduation, that the road I am traveling is not a smooth running highway, but a challenging and slow upward crawl.  I have learned that now more than ever, the best way to love my family is to love myself first.