My Degree - a "piece of paper?"

  1. [QUOTE]Originally posted by sWolfie:
    [QB]Nobody is better then anyone else. Just because you went to school/college for a piece of paper.

    I am pretty new here, actually just graduated with an ADN yesterday, but I have to say something about this comment.

    I was a nursing assistant for 11 years before I went to nursing school. I KNOW what it is like to be a nursing asst., to be made to feel as though I am less than because I didn't have an education. I know how hard a nursing assistant's job is and I have the utmost respect for the position.

    That being said, I would like to elaborate on the "piece of paper" I just earned. Which, by the way, does not make me any better than anyone. Just more educated than some and less educated than others. I would also like to say that before I started nursing school, I THOUGHT, (nobody laugh) that I knew what I needed to know to be a nurse already, nursing school was just something I had to do in order to be "considered" a nurse. Of course, now I know that my thinking was laughable, maybe a little dangerous.

    My "piece of paper" has been responsible for teaching me so many things. Critical thinking. What electrolytes are and what it means when they are out of balance. How to appropriately respond to patients and use what they are saying to allow me to help them. The earliest signs of hypoxia. How important I and O is. Why it is important to keep the foley bag BELOW the level of the bladder. NO ONE ever taught me that as a nursing assistant. These are just a FEW of the things I learned in nursing school. I and O, foleys, weights, these were just things I did because I had to, I didn't know they were so important and needed careful attention paid to them. As a nursing assistant, these were chores that sometimes I didn't pay enough attention to, because I didn't know. Now I know. It does not mean I am better than anyone else, it just means I now have a little more knowledge.

    That "piece of paper" caused me to lose countless hours of sleep, practically orphaned my son as my husband commutes and is not home during the week, and don't even ASK what it did to my marriage because school came FIRST, before EVERYTHING. We have been the poorest we have ever been while I was in school, especially this last year because it was too much for me to work, go to school and pretend to be a wife and mother. We had no insurance and everytime I took my son, who has asthma, to the doctor, it came out of our pocket, which we could ill afford. My parents have helped us financially, thank God, because I don't think we would have made it without them. They knew how important it was for me to finish school. Several women in my class are singles mothers and they DID work, go to school, and try to be mothers all at the same time. I bow to them.

    At my pinning ceremony this last Friday night, after both the ADNs and the BSNs were pinned, our instructors had us stand. The audience started clapping and before long they were on their feet. None of us had dry eyes; most of my class, not to mention the audience, was sobbing. Our families knew how much we, and THEY, had sacrificed to get to that night. And now we are going to be able to use our knowledge not only for our patient's benefit, but for ourselves and our families as well.

    This short explanation does not come close to how hard I worked to get through nursing school or what a victory it has been for me. To dismiss the last two years of my life as a "piece of paper" is inconsiderate to say the least and proves that anyone saying that has NO idea of how hard I have worked and what my degree and title mean to me. I am quite sure that any nurse, LPN, RN, or BSN, will second my emotions.

  2. Visit LauraRN0501 profile page

    About LauraRN0501

    Joined: ; Posts: n/a


  3. by   hoolahan
    Congratulations on your wonderful acheivement Laura!! That was an excellent synopsis of what the nursing school experience is like too!!
  4. by   StaceRacer1



    GOOD LUCK!!!!!

  5. by   ShannonB25
    Wow, Laura, great post!!! As someone who also graduated a week ago, I thank you for putting into words one of my frustrations as well. I'm really glad that you were able to experience as emotional a pinning ceremony as we did. That night was unforgettable for me as well and I have floated around on a cloud of pride since it Congrats on your graduation as well. Shannon
  6. by   hoolahan
    Shannon, I read about your pinning on that other BB, but I am not posting there anymore. I'm glad you wrote here, b/c I wanted to say excellent job!!!! Best of luck with your career, can'r wait to hear about your adventures!!
  7. by   ShannonB25
    Wow, Laura, great post!!! As someone who also graduated a week ago, I thank you for putting into words one of my frustrations as well. I'm really glad that you were able to experience as emotional a pinning ceremony as we did. That night was unforgettable for me as well and I have floated around on a cloud of pride since it Congrats on your graduation as well. Shannon
  8. by   ArleneD
    Bravo, Laura! I'm starting the ADN program in August. I'm not looking forward to the next two years of all work and no play, but I can't wait 'til my pinning ceremony. Good luck to you in your new career.
  9. by   CEN35

    I have two things to say. One good for sure, the other all in the way its perceived. It is not meant to be a blow, cut down, or rude. Just remember (and I speak from experience here), no matter how good you did in school, how great your grades are, how brilliant you were in clinicals, this is a step.......the learning curve after your out is HUGE the first 18-24 months. You may not beleive it, I know I didn't when in your exact same position.
    Second, excellent post Laura, it says a lot about you.

  10. by   Jenny P
    Beautifully Written! To both LauraRN0501 and ShannonB25, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Now the REAL learning begins! Yes, getting that "piece of paper" has been hard work; but don't forget to keep learning and growing in your profession. After 32 years as an RN, I can truthfully say that I still learn something new every time I go to work.
    Don't let anyone intimidate you or try to make you feel inferior; always ask questions and be enthusiastic. Always advocate for your patient: think, if it was your family member, how would you treat this patient? Don't risk your license EVER, you worked much too hard for it. Work hard at work; then put work aside and be there totally with your family. Take care of yourself; no one else will. If you find yourself worrying excessively about your work or your work situation; ask yourself if this particular job is worth ruining your health over. There are other jobs in this world; but don't switch jobs to avoid conflict. Fix what problems you can. AND GO FORTH AND BE THE BEST NURSE POSSIBLE EVERY DAY. (Gee, I give good advice, don't I?) I wonder if I do all of this every day? CONGRATULATIONS again!
  11. by   LauraRN0501
    Thanks to all for the congratulations and support. And don't worry, Rick and Jenny, I know that what I know is not even the tip of the iceberg. I had a long discussion with the woman who is now my boss about how unprepared I felt to actually "be" a nurse and how I think I am going to need an extensive orientation. I did not have much difficulty in school, can do just about anything bookwise, but I am all too well aware that that does not necessarily translate into being a good nurse. THAT is my biggest fear. Give me all the tests you want, I can whiz through. But what will I do when faced with the actual situation?

  12. by   kennedyj
    yep ... a very expensive piece of paper with a lot of work behind it.

    Remember that even the slug nurses have a piece of paper too and what you do with the knowledge you have attained makes the nurse you are or are to become.

    good luck in all,
  13. by   mustangsheba
    Eloquently said. Please remember Jenny's words: Guard your license; take care of yourself. Have fun!
  14. by   CEN35

    It takes time to know whether a patient is in a bad situation or not. Don't ever hesitate to try and ask somebody else on your unit, to take a look at someone. VS are NOT the only indator of a potentially bad situation. Why do I say this? Remember the two most common reasons for nnurses to get sued:

    #1 - "Failure to monitor" - Always at least pop in, and eyeball your a quick GCS or something in your head.

    #2 - "Failure to Advise" - Whe you are concerned, or think there is a problem with the patient, that is life threatening, or may cause lifelong/permanent injury/ the physician......even if he yells at you and is an irrate arrogant one!

    Just some thoughts.......there is a reason why those are the 2 top reasons for nurses being involved or blamed in a suite. The "peice of paper" is meaningless without a license.