Becky – The Struggle To Become A Nurse

You have to forgive me I rarely write down trials I have lived through in my past. I choose to learn from them and keep what is learned close while letting go of the actual events during the trial. Having said this, I have been tugged to type my Never Quit story that spanned 5 years.
Grew up understanding I had to work hard for things because nothing came easily for me. This is how the Lord made me so there was a roll up the sleeves and get busy attitude that I had as a child. Add to this that the Lord, yes faith plays heavily with me, gave me the heart and direction to become an RN. So when middle school and high school guidance counselors had their one time meeting with me to consider course and career direction each one tried to steer me in another direction. Really?! (They saw nothing but numbers and never bothered to see what makes a kid tick.)
I started nursing school right out of high school. Back then you went to nursing school for your nursing classes, the hospital for your clinicals which were multiple days during the week, and to a college for your college classes. My nursing school classmates were comprised of LPNS and EMTs.
Problem started in the clinicals. When you come to clinic you come prepared to care for the patient but you also have a behind the scenes one on one with your instructor. The instructor drills you about the patient’s pathophysiology, medications, nursing process, why this and not that, etc. and it goes until you don’t know something and then drilling takes a different twist. Each time it would leave me sick in my stomach, doubting my research and all the prep work I did the night before thinking it was not good enough. My solution to the problem: work harder.
Clinical after clinical the beat down got worse and worse and I worked harder and harder to do better. At this point my clinical grade was going down, my college grades were going down, and my nursing class grade were going down. My ability to comprehend new material was shot, I could not retain anything I had just read, I was not sleeping, I would uncontrollably shaking from head to toe as I sat in my parent’s living room after completing my research for clinical. I will never forget the multiple the times my dad held me while I shook uncontrollably saying “this is not worth it –quit”. He never used the word “quit” before but I could not blame him. However I was mad that he did yet I refused to see what was happening in front of me. Of course it kept getting worse because it did not dawn on me to even consider hitting the “pause” button, I had that much tunnel vision going on. I had a suicide plan and stopped just seconds from implementing it. What stopped me? Two things: 1. How can I stand in front of God and say to Him He failed me when I was the one who was failing Him? 2. How could I do this to my supportive parents? They did not deserve this. I recall lying on the floor in my room and just bawling my eyes out asking the Lord for help.
Dee Minchoff one of our nursing instructors called me into her cubicle the next day. She asked me if I ever considered going part-time? I confided in her about what was going on with clinical and asked her for help. There are huge gaps in my memory for the rest of that year and part of the next year but what I can recall is I somehow saved all of my grades (lowest acceptable grade was a C) that semester except Chemistry. I was able to get all my college classes completed, received one on one clinical help, and I got counseling over the summer, ……
The counseling I received was faith based and did me a world of good even though I fought them tooth and nail. I allowed fear to dominate my life even to the point of it becoming a god to me. The Lord does not joke when He says to give Him your fear. I now got that. I learned to replace the feeling of fear with my index binder cards I made each one holding my hand written scripture verses of promises the Lord has made (and still have as a reminder that it can be conquered). When fear would come on I would excuse myself and go into the clean utility room pull out my index binder and read one hand written scripture verse after another until the fear left me. At first I went through the whole index binder but it did not take long until I needed to just read one verse.
Everything was doing well until my senior year (I did mention the trial lasted 5 years). I sat down in my clinical instructor’s cubicle for my clinical evaluation at the end of my rotation with her. Grade- 4 marginals. My mouth and heart sank. What!? This meant I was not meeting the requirements of 4 clinical objectives. I was not alerted to a poor showing during my 4 week rotation but was actually shown quite the opposite. What this meant was no further marginals in the same objectives at the end of next rotation would be accepted. Well, this is a good test for that fear factor. At the end of the next rotation, which was 4 weeks, I was able to remove 3 out of the 4 marginals. I had one more rotation left and if I had just one marginal then I would flunk out of school and the negative impact would be huge on further tries to become an RN. Dee Minchoff called me to her cubicle and asked if I ever considered switching schools. She started listing famous nurses who actually had that happen to them. She helped me with the process and put in a good word for me at the nursing school across town. This very school who did not accept me when I applied out of high school. They accepted me now.
I had an interesting exit interview with the head of my original nursing school. She said that it was she and her instructors that determined whether someone was good enough to become an RN and not anyone else. I thought that odd given this nursing school was a Catholic based nursing school. So I simply stated that she was wrong because God determined it.
I had some time until I started the next school so I went and got my LPN license and took more college courses. Had a great time doing both. Nice breather.
Started my next nursing school. The education track was different between the 2 schools so I saw I had gaps in my education and was able to receive tutoring from Cheryl Grab. So I did not think twice when I was given a one on one instructor when I was in one of my critical care rotations. I was learning a lot from my new one on one instructor (who was THE critical care instructor at my new school and was just coming back from maturity leave) and within weeks of working under her she was no longer with me. Thought maybe I did something wrong until I received an excellent clinical grade from Lyn Brubaker. The final rotation with critical care the clinical instructor drilled me and drilled me up one side and down the other. On and on but the counseling to replace the fear with my scripture index cards had done its job. Came out bruised but smiling. Was called to the head of my second nursing school’s office. All the instructors I have mentioned in this paragraph were there. I recall taking a deep breath and thinking you can handle the bomb. Oddly it turned out they apologized to me. Say what? Apparently the instructor that was drilling me up one side and down the other from my second school was best friends with the instructor that gave me the 4 marginals from my first school and they talked about me. The instructor from my second school then went to the other instructors at my second school and said that I was a danger to patients and ……. I was being apologized to for several reasons, but the one apology that stuck with me was that these experienced nurses in their field who then became clinical instructors believed I had what it took to become an RN.
I know I would not have become the professional RN I am today and have my faith in the Lord deepened and stronger as it is today if I had not gone through what I did for those 5 years. I would not have gained the insight that I needed to mature at a higher level.

Author: Rebecca