I worry about the future. Today was a very anxious day for me.
Yesterday, I filled an RN hole in the Emergency Department schedule. My pay was bumped up $10.00 more an hour and I took care of my own patient load. Other days I float around the ED and act as a paramedic administering meds and starting IVs. Some days I perform as a tech, greeting patients, do stat EKGs, and transport. I love my job more than anything else in my life. Its what I want to do for the rest of my life. Sadly, I know it will not always be like that. As time goes on, I can see my hospital hire less and less LPNs. My mobility to float between tech, EMT-P, and RN will fade and I will become something not as I am now. I cried today over that future loss.
I am in the process of taking my final and only pre-req for an LPN to ASN program. After that I have to take the "Test of Essential Academic Standards (TEAS)" test. I passed this test once before with an 85%. It was how I was accepted into the PN program. However, it was also what denied me the RN program.
Soon, I will have to take that test again. It will validate me as qualifying to be a "real nurse" and allow me to bridge over. What if all this knowledge I've gathered from the hospital, the physicians who believe in me to carry out orders in a timely manner, the PAs who request my assistance in soothing and holding a child while we suture together, or the patients who beg me to get their IV on the first try..... what if all that knowledge means nothing because my score is once again too low to be admitted?
My friends tell me, "you are a wonderful nurse, and you'll be an even better RN because you know how to work".
A nursing student asked me if diphenhydramine was a narcotic the other day.... no, let me correct myself, a newly passed NCLEX- BSN RN who was performing her last days as a SNE, who had yet to be hired by the dept as an RN asked me if Diphenhydramine was a narcotic and if it should be wasted with another nurse. I politely corrected her and educated her Diphenhydramine was Benadryl. Simple mistake, but a mistake a current BSN RN had innocently made. She was able to be a BSN RN while I didnt have the GPA to become a BSN. I didnt have the TEAS to become an ASN RN.
Now I'm an LPN and I LOVE IT.
I love my job!!
But I'm terrified that there will once again be proof that I'm "too stupid" to be accepted into an RN program. The fear wells up a monster inside myself that threatens to consume my ambition and confine my dreams into a damp, cold, corner walled off by iron bars.
What happens if become an ASN RN?
"I can't wait to be an RN" Jane doe, said to me while we cleaned a room together. I grabbed the Cavi-Wipes and tossed her a handful to help wipe down the room.
"You should! You spent more lecture hours and in some cases clinical hours than most of the RNs here" I proclaim as I clean off the keyboard and mouse.
"What do you mean?" Jane innocently asks.
"You're gonna be one of the top RNs here! You'll have a BSN!!!"
"Don't they all?"
I stop cleaning and look and think to myself. Surely this girl knows about the varying levels of RN. "Well, half of, if not more, of the RN staff are associate degree RN. A few of them are even Diploma RN who have no degree behind their names."
Jane stops cleaning too. She looks truly perplexed.
I playfully laugh at her. "Dude!! Jane!! Our charge nurse only has an associate's degree and Ms. X only has a Diploma from back in the 80's. You don't have to have a BSN to be an RN"
As Jane and I discuss this new revelation I see she never realized there was more than one path to being a nurse. She never expected to work with an LPN let alone see an LPN with the scope of practice my SBoN allows. She had a moment where she realized she would be on equal footing with the LPNs, diploma nurses, the ASNs and the BSNs once she graduated because we all had more practical experience and new more about the real world.
Yet, one day I believe my position in the ED is going to radically change for the worse or disappear. I just want to stay an LPN and float among all the ED roles. I want to be valued for my knowledge and not resigned to grunt work.
I don't want to prove myself with a degree that has no impact on my current skill level. I don't want to fall short of ridiculous pre-reqs and be told I'm too "stupid" to be a registered nurse when I already fill the role so frequently.
Then, say I get my ASN/ADN. I'm now an RN.
The coasts are slowly moving in on the midwest. The BSN is taking over. My hard earned RN title over the last 8 years is now threatened. I'm back into the same position i was as an LPN.
No. Please. Stop. Please don't come any closer. I'm a good nurse. I'm a good nurse. I love my job. I do more than anyone around me. I even mopped the room to make sure my patients had the cleanest environment around them. I swept. I stocked everything. I perform all non-invasive procedures before the physician even asks to allow rapid assessment times. I'm doing great. Please don't make me lose my job. I love my job. i work hard. I'll take the pay cut. Please keep me around. I can be a benefit to you. I get more patient satisfaction comments than any nurse in the ER. Please you can't fire me of my lack of a BSN... Please, stay away!!!!!!
I am so scared every day because once I surpass, if I surpass this LPN with an ASN... the fear won't be over. I'm still going to be hunted. The hounds howl in the distance. I can hear them. I will be only a small step ahead and then they'll catch up.
I cry so much over this fear. How can I be smart enough for an ASN RN now if I wasn't smart enough for an ASN RN 3 years ago when I applied. I've only learned to be a better nurse. My chemistry, my English, my Microbiology, my math hasn't drastically improved. If anything it has only atrophied. I've become stronger in my nursing skill and feel i could sail through my ASN classes with minimal turbulence but how can I get in and how will I get in a third time for the RN to BSN... What if they want me to have my MSN after I get my BSN. I'm truly terrified.
Thank you for hearing my heartfelt and emotional insecurities. It is so great to get these thoughts off my chest and have a good cry over them. I'll cry about them tomorrow, but for now, I'll know that at least this week when I go into work I'll be a primary nurse and someone will tell me I did a great service for them.