Friday, August 31, 2012

The die is cast

In the nick of time I've cancelled my enrollment in nursing school, returned my books and supplies and owe them nothing.

Whew!  I feel so much relief and peace with this decision.

Yes, there is a touch of sadness as well; a dream not realized, but I recognize that paying $34,000, sacrificing my personal life for a year in an accelerated program, only to come out at the end without a properly accredited education would make me even sadder in the long run.

Next step?  Who knows.

Happily, my employer has welcomed me back to work with open arms, I interviewed for a medical assistant position this week (not particularly hopeful that I'll be offered the position and not too sure I want it as I wasn't too impressed with either the doctor or the facility), and I am investigating other education options.  This time I'll make absolutely sure I do all my homework before signing on the dotted line.  I think I just got carried away with my dreams of being a nurse that I had my head in the clouds instead of keeping my feet on the ground and researching the school thoroughly.  Lesson learned (who said old dogs can't learn new tricks?! ;)

The holiday weekend stretches before us with an exciting start under a blue moon tonight.  We've been stepping outside to view it all evening.  Such a beautiful, warm night with the crickets chirping (do they chirp?), the frogs croaking in the wetlands behind our property, and various little critters scurrying about.  It was hot today (95F), but the weather promises to cool into the 80s for the remainder of the weekend which will be just right.

My sweetie asked me for a date tomorrow night!  We're going out to dinner but haven't decided where yet.  He was given a gift card that is good at about a half dozen local restaurants as a thank you from his boss for giving an informational presentation to his fellow employees this week.  Being able to go out is a rare treat for us in this economy, so we're going to make a night of it.  Maybe go for a romantic walk through the village.  Maybe even a little smooching in the car.  Never too old for a little flirting with each other.

Hopefully this weekend I'll have time to post a few pictures of some of the wooden bracelets I've been painting.  I've decided I want to start on a different project this weekend too, so lots of plans for the holiday!

Happy Labor day all!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

And this is where the cracking up part starts...

Yikes!  One week and one day until nursing school starts and I'm back on the fence about it.  I'm not entirely certain I'm making the right decision.

You see, the program I applied to is an LPN program.  I have now discovered that the world has changed greatly over the years and LPNs are not in demand.  They have been phased out of hospitals and have been replaced by lower paid techs.  Today an LPN program is a great entry into the field of nursing.  It's merely a stepping stone rather than a destination, and that is not what I was looking for.

It seems that unless I want to be restricted to working in nursing homes, home health care or prisons (yes, prisons), I will need to take what is called a "bridge" program to RN (Associates Degree), while working part time as an LPN.  Then it would be in my best interest to either take courses and become certified in specialty or continue on to get my BSN.  *sigh*  I LOVE school (I could honestly become a full time student as a profession if I could get paid to do it rather than having to pay for it!).  The thing is, I really do not want to be in some form of nursing school for the next 4-6 years, which is what this all means.  The idea of waiting until I'm about 60 years old to get finished and get going on the nursing career I want exhausts me just to think about it.

I have to make a decision this week as to what I'm going to do.  I can still easily pull out of the program without the student loans going through, therefore the only thing I will have to pay for is the 2 text books I've used.  No big deal.  And that would mean I'd make one of the alternates who have been waiting to get into the program very happy indeed.

I've thought about this long and hard.  If I do pull out of the program, I am going to go back to school, but only for a few months to finish earning a few additional certifications to add onto my medical assisting creds.  Since I'll soon be back on the job market if I don't go to nursing school, that can only help open more doors (and hopefully doors that pay a bit higher too).

I've not totally decided against nursing school though.  I could go through the LPN program,  be a nurse a year from now, and work in a nursing home the remainder of my work career.  LPNs are pretty much in charge at the nursing homes, I could work two to three 12 hour shifts a week and bring home great pay.  This would also leave me with about 4 days a week to pursue my biggest interests in life.  Sounds ideal, but the problem is that in this economy the LPNs are not budging from the nursing homes and even though the population is aging and more nursing homes will open, etc., schools are churning out LPNs en masse after making promises of great jobs due to a nursing shortage that doesn't really exist.

Oh, and did I mention that the school I am scheduled to attend is only accredited by my state's Board of  Nursing and is not regionally accredited?  This means that while it's a legitimate school and I would indeed be a bonafide LPN after finishing and passing my state boards, the credits that I earn there will not be transferrable into other colleges.  Given the exorbitant tuition they are charging (5 figures!), I find it unacceptable that my credits would be useless.   If I knew that I wanted to simply become an LPN and stay one forever it would be fine.  But since I was looking at RN and a specialty, this definitely puts a huge damper on the whole thing.

I have to make another confession while I'm discussing this whole conundrum, and that is that I am unable to see myself being able to work in a nursing home for the next 15 years.  I just don't know if I have the right stuff for it.  I fear it would become too depressing and I would grow to dislike it.

Tomorrow I'm going to call the 2 schools I've been checking out for my additional certifications to add to my certification as a medical assistant and see if I can drop by this week and check things out so I can make a final informed decision.

You see...Cate's cracking up!  Apt change to the title of my blog I think!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Seminal First Blog Entry

As I sit before my trusty laptop trying to determine what to say to open my blog, I realize that this must be how all bloggers feel when they first begin.  It feels like such a momentous occasion this first blog entry, that somehow I feel I need to make it Important (yes, with a capital "i").

In reality, this first entry is simply an introduction.  I have no readers and no readers know me yet (oh how I do hope that changes!).

So, let me introduce myself dear reader.  My name is Cathy, I'm 53 years young, passionate about art, writing, reading, nature and God.  I love the gentle and beautiful things in life.  They both feed and excite yet also soothe my soul all at the same time.

On the flip-side, I have a bit of a science geek about me as well.  I'm passionate about medicine.  I am a nationally certified medical assistant, hold a certificate in phlebotomy, am a board certified holistic health practitioner, and am currently enrolled in nursing school (an accelerated program - I must be out of my mind!) which begins in just a few weeks now. I am especially passionate about the combination of allopathic medicine with holistic remedies and preventative measures that have solid scientific studies to back them up.

I'm thrilled to fulfill a life long ambition to become a nurse, even though some may think I'm a bit long in the tooth to begin such a pursuit.  Honestly, I do tire a little easier than I did when I was 25, but I try to take good care of myself, eat organically, have begun working out with weights (I need to be able to lift those patients), etc.  Although I feel like I'm still in the process of growing up, I do think I'm much wiser than I was at 25, and hope this translates into me being a better nurse than I would have been when I was younger.

I sat down last night and worked out a time management plan that I will implement once nursing school begins.  I've got a lovely block of time carved out on Saturday mornings that I intend to use solely to draw and paint or work on my unfinished novel or begin one of the many that are floating around in my  noggin.

I will be posting photos of some of my art work as amateurish as it may be.  I love to work in watercolors, but lately have been fascinated with painting with acrylic on wood.  Wooden bracelets, an odd scrap of wood...anything!

It's time I turn in and get some sleep.  Tomorrow promises to be a busy day filled with reading medical textbooks since we received numerous reading assignments during orientation that are to be completed by the first day of school.

So welcome to my humble blog home, such as it is.  I have yet to finish completing my profile, but wanted to get started.  I did write a little blurb about myself in the right hand column if you're interested.

Have a blessed night and thanks for stopping by.  Please let me know you've been here and I'll pop in and visit your blog too.