Sunday, September 19, 2010

School Daze

Registered Nurse, Almost!

Starting college took me a while. About 22 years after graduating from high school, I found myself in a little town in Mississippi and standing in the registrar's office, I wrote a check and picked up my schedule and hurried home.
It wasn't going to be quite that easy of a start. It was  more of an accident then a deliberate act.

We had just been transferred from Morgantown, WV to Laurel, Mississippi and boxes filled every room in the small house we had rented. I was taking a break from unpacking when I decided to just check out the little college close by and as they say, the rest is history.

I'm registered in school and I have a mess to clean up and a house to get in order and classes are to start soon. I moved quickly.

The first few weeks of classes were uneventful. I went to class, sat around with the other students in  the beautiful fall weather on campus while the trees sprayed their gold and red colors in a canopy against the sky.I thought "this isn't so bad". It's actually stimulating to sit in a classroom and listen to the professors. 

You can see that I had changed a great amount since my high school days when 3:30 was my favorite numbers as it meant the doors of that  high school opened and I was free.

This time around, I was paying for these classes and I had settled down a bit since those high school days. 

I would go home, read and do assignments and toss the books into my book bag until the following day.

After about 3 weeks of this pleasurable routine, we all showed up for class one day and had the professor of that class announce testing. On to the next class and that professor too announced testing. By the time the day was over, all the professors were testing and I was seriously in trouble. 
The lazy days of hanging out in class and on campus had fled. The pulse rate was bounding and pushing the limits of my tolerance. 

I rushed home and for the next few days, I didn't look up. The material to retain was tremendous, but when test day arrived, which was, in my opinion, way too soon, I passed all the tests. My grades were good. 
The nursing students had to go through a selection process when it came time to be selected into the program and the highest GPA's were the ones selected. I was studying core classes. The selection process was a few years away and  I was scared. 

We had to move and to Louisiana we arrived. Again the class registerations and studying.
For the next 4 years I didn't look up. I had my face in a book day and night. The maths, the sciences, chemistry, Englishes and histories were my constant companions. I remained scared right to state boards. 

State boards came and to New Orleans I went to sit for two days in a room closely monitored by people that walked up and down the aisles to make sure there was no one that passed unfairly.

As soon as the two days of testing was completed, we headed to Arizona on vacation and to await our scores.

A friend called a few weeks later  while I was in Arizona and when the lady of the house picked up the phone, (this was before cell phones owned by one and all) this friend asked to speak to Charlotte Ann, RN.

With a wild scream I took the phone and laughed and talked and congratulated that friend on her new RN status too. 

To this day, each and every nursing student has my sympathy. The new grads for years to come would appear on the floors where I worked and I was more then happy to be their preceptor to ease them into the real world of nursing; to answer their questions, to guide them until they felt comfortable facing the demands of the profession. If they had made it this far, they had already earned my respect.


  1. Bless nurses, one and all. Except, maybe, the Navy nurse that broke a needle off in my butt.

  2. ROFL! Sorry about that Buffalo..I was never a Navy nurse; it wasn't me and you have my condolences!

  3. Isn't it strange how some of us don't really appreciate our formal education, but end up paying for education later on...I did this with the Open University in England. I also did my social work qualifications whilst working full-time. I appreciated it all so much more then.

  4. Ayak: If I had went directly to college after high school, I would have had to claim academic bankruptcy to start over again at the age I finally entered and finally graduated.
    It would not have been the right choice for me. I just wasn't READY!
    I ended up winning scholarships that paid for my education and I'm here to say, that wouldn't have happened had I went directly out of high school.


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