Throughout school and my job search
, I have always used this site for advice in various nursing-related topics (ie. study tips, stethoscope brands, etc.). I told myself that I would post my entire experience from student to nurse on this site as a way of showing my gratitude for all the members' helpful advice over the years. Also, I hope that what I went through will inspire those who are not getting through nursing school as smoothly as they had hoped to continue their journey and to not give up. Without further ado, here is my journey.
I entered university in Fall 2010 and chose nursing as my major. It took me two years to do my prerequisites as a full-time student and generally did well. I got into my university's BSN program on my first try and started in Fall 2012. It was at this point that I started to struggle academically. I don't know what it was, but I felt like I was always fighting an uphill battle, trying to catch up with the class material and keep up with my classmates. My anxiety level, especially before exams, increased exponentially and I had to use OTC sleep aids just to fall asleep. I ended up failing out of the program after my third semester due to failing two classes (pediatrics and OB) that semester. It goes without saying that feelings of devastation and despair took over.
I won't romanticize my feelings at that time and say that I knew that nursing was for me and didn't give up. Honestly, I felt like giving up. However, I knew that I didn't want the past three years to go to waste. Fortunately for me, I knew that I was going to fail weeks in advance so I started looking at alternative routes to take. I considered switching majors to get a radiology technician bachelor's, but it would have taken me two extra years and I never thought of myself as a radiology tech. I knew that there was another local public college in my area, so I went onto their website and found that they accepted transfer students. So the week after I failed, I transferred to this college with the intentions of entering their BSN program.
For the semester after I failed from my original school, I had to remain a full-time student to maintain my financial aid eligibility status and take one or two prerequisites for the new school's BSN program. I did just that, which I guess is how I kept busy and coped. My contact at the new school looked over my transcripts and compared the curricula of both schools. She said that based on the courses I completed, I will be able to be admitted as a transfer student into the second semester. However, I will not be able to be admitted as a transfer student unless a spot opens up in that particular cohort and that the earliest they would know was at the end of the semester. So after a semester of uncertainty and taking classes again, I heard towards the end that a spot had opened up and that I'd be able to transfer into this second school's BSN program.
I was so glad I didn't just give up. I was so thankful to have a second chance, and at a public state college with a BSN program at that. I did better in class and made much better friends with this class than at my original school (although I have friends from my first school as well). I can actually say that there were times where I was happy with where I was in my life, which alleviated much of the regret that I felt from failing out of my first program.
In May, I graduated with my BSN. After studying with my friends from the second school for about three weeks, I passed my NCLEX on the first try. Afterwards, I applied to only ONE hospital position, got called for an interview by and with a nursing director, and was offered a job on her med-surg floor, all within a week's time. I start orientation in a couple of weeks. My references were my preceptorship instructor (who worked for the hospital's system) and my preceptor at that hospital. They gave raving reviews about me to the nursing director of the floor I was hired in, so I think their feedback greatly expedited this process.
For those who are wondering how I listed my clinical rotations on my resume since I was I transfer student, I listed my fundamentals (first semester) clinical from my original school with the rest from my second school. There was about a year in between my first clinical (fundamentals) and second clinical (med-surg). This issue never came up during my interview. I don't even think it bothered the nursing director.
If you made it to this point, I appreciate you reading my story and hope that you found it interesting and/or helpful. I know that the real challenge of starting my nursing career is only beginning, but at this point I am VERY relieved that nursing school is behind me. It took me an extra year or so to get it done, but I'm glad I stuck with it. I can now look forward to my future now that I have this career. I hope that this motivates others who are going through their own hurdles to stick with it, even if it takes a little longer. Life is what you make it, so make it the best you can.