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Joined: Aug 16, '12; Posts: 140 (32% Liked) ; Likes: 113

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  • Jul 8 '14

    My name is Shannon, I am 39 years old, a single mother of three amazing teenagers and what is considered a "non-traditional" student. I laugh to myself now when I hear the phrase "non-traditional student", however when I first began my college venture, I will admit that every time I was referred to in such a way, I felt singled out as if I had many obstacles in front of me and I was expected to fail at some point.

    When I was a small child in Iowa, my father was disabled in a work related accident. My mother divorced him shortly after, and soon, my only sibling and I were being raised by our father. We grew up under township scrutiny, questioning the morals and intentions of a man raising two young girls by himself. My father was and is the single most loving, caring, devoted, person I know; and to this day, still my biggest cheerleader. I quickly found myself assuming the roles of "mother" around the house. It was not long before I was cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, yard-work, shopping, paying bills and even minor home repairs. Assuming this huge responsibility was never a burden, in fact, I quite enjoyed it and still do as an adult.

    Both of my parents were factory workers, as were most people in our town. I grew up watching people struggle their entire life with finances, alcohol and drugs; assuming that this was just normal life. I was never content with "just getting by", and although I found myself doing the same, I always dreamed of a better life for myself.

    By the age of 22, my "high-school sweetheart" and I had three young children and he had developed a drinking habit. When I was 25, I'd had enough and left their father to raise our children on my own. I quickly found a new job working in the PayDay Loan Industry and moved my way up to manager within a year. Life was busy, hectic and money was always tight, but I had my kids to keep me going every single day. I always dreamed of having "more" for them; I wanted them to know that it is not okay to "settle", that anything is theirs for the reaching, and you are never too old to follow your dreams.

    When I was 34 I decided to go back to school, it was tough but I managed to obtain an AAB online while working 60+ hours/week, raising three kids and accepting a job transfer from Iowa to sunny SW Florida. Life was good; things were going well, until one day I was robbed at gunpoint by two men in my new office. I can say that all of the training in the world will never prepare you for the horror of having a gun grinding into your skull. I will also tell you that several things flashed through my mind during the ten short minutes that felt like an eternity. My thoughts circled around this: Will the bullet be in my back or my head? How bad will it hurt? How long before I die? And the question that still haunts me...Will my kids hate me forever for leaving them so young? Over and over, I begged for my life and pleaded that I was a single mom; and by the grace of powers unknown, they left with cash, leaving me, for the most part unharmed. I didn't leave my house for a week, and three months of therapy followed. There is literally nothing in this world more humbling than having your life in another's hands; and I will never forget that feeling.

    I found myself unable to ever set foot in that office again, and soon, nearly ten career years later with a new business degree I didn't want to use, I found myself unemployed and trying to find out what I REALLY want to do with my life. My mind went back to growing up, taking care of my father and seeing my aunt, who was the only educated person in generations in our family. She was an RN, and I remembered looking up to her in her traditional nursing whites, and it seemed there was a halo of goodness surrounding this beautiful, loving woman. I remember thinking "I want to be just like her when I grow up". And so began my change of careers, to be the second educated person in generations on either side of my family.

    Nursing school is painful, like no other. It is not uncommon to have 600+ pages due to be read (and understood) every week, countless hours of clinical and classroom paperwork, clinical rotations and weekly exams to name a few. Nursing school will make you question your every intention, second-guess your ability to comprehend, instill fear only dreamt of and EMPOWER you to reach within and become the best you can be. This December after nearly three long, grueling, painful, tearful years, I graduated as an RN. Even more empowering is the following month I passed my state boards and accepted a position at a local hospital, I cried for an entire day when this happened. This May I begin my journey to earn my BSN, following afterwards with certification as a Wound Care nurse (WOCN).

    How in the world does a single mother juggle three kids, a father in renal failure, multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet, household chores, bills, school work, and still find time to enjoy life? It is quite simple actually; I live by two basic rules that my dad taught me years ago.

    Live by lists:

    Having what seem to be fifty things to do in a single day, my dad taught me years ago to make a list. I start every single day with a list what must be done, what I would like to do and what extra stuff I could do if I have the time. Prioritizing the important stuff is crucial to better time-management.

    Gratifying - is crossing off items one-by-one, they can be the tiniest task, but they are done, and that feels amazing. It helps to keep me focused on what still lies ahead and I am able to regroup and adjust my time appropriately as needed.

    I have a calendar at my desk and one in my phone; I sync every single thing I must do a month ahead. I make sure that all bill deadlines are noted; college assignments (reading, paperwork, studying for tests etc.) are all time-blocked. I make sure to note work schedule, appointments and paydays; and I always have a running shopping list going on the fridge (my kids know, when we run out or if they need something, put it on the list...ask and you shall receive!). Life is much easier when we keep organized.

    Creating lists allows one to better balance each day, time can set aside time for studying (and study breaks too), chores, family-time and work. Life does and will continue to throw curve-balls, and even the best thought-out lists will have to be reviewed and adjusted as our days go on. Being flexible is a must, especially as a non-traditional student.

    Have an attitude of gratitude:

    Life isn't always easy or what we hope or expect it to be. However there is something wonderful that can come out of even the worst of circumstances, the beauty is in finding it. I spend my days finding reasons to be grateful. There have been many times over the years that all I was grateful for was that the sun rose that day, the electricity didn't get shut off, or that I didn't run out of gas to/from work. But I was always grateful.

    Tying in with having an attitude of gratitude I also live by my father's rules and never feel guilty for taking care of myself. I eat well, stay active and treat myself to little things that make me feel good; a book, a sweet treat or even a nap; whatever it is I do not feel guilty for taking care of me. We laugh at our house, but the saying is true: "If mamma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy".

    A positive attitude, a belief in yourself and the ability to set mini-goals and tackle obstacles is all one really needs to overcome the stigma of a "non-traditional" student and show them all (and mostly YOURSELF) that you are worth it, you can do it and trust me, you will achieve it.

  • Jul 4 '14

    "Fake it till you make it" does NOT refer to skills (such as sterile procedure for cathing)! It means present yourself as confident to patients no matter how much you are quaking inside; and humble enough to ask questions until you have enough experiences under your belt which will then give you the confidence you are seeking.

  • Jun 28 '14

    Not to burst your bubble, but the Navy is just as strict as the Air Force with regard to tattoos, and the Army has recently changed its tattoo policy as well. I am tattooed from shoulder to wrist (both arms), which was too much for the Air Force and the Navy in 2010. I received a waiver to commission into the Army in 2011, but I would not be allowed to commission into the Army today with my tattoos under the new regs.

  • Jun 23 '14

    I agree with RunBabyRun. I don't think anyone says I love cleaning up poop. But that is just one aspect of what nurses do. They do so much more. Some places will have CNAs to help, others won't. But just so you know at some point no matter where you work, vomit and other bodily fluid and functions will have to be cleaned and you will have to do it.

    I was admitted to the hospital in 2009 and I was very ill. I had a really bad seizure the week before hurting my head and neck. I managed to get a blood clot in my carotid artery and it broke of and went to my lungs and I got a PE. To top it all off, I had a very bad case of pneumonia. I was quite honestly close to death. Not to give too much TMI but once I was admitted and they started me on my IV and meds I lost control of my bowels. I was so completely embarrassed not thinking that in a million years that would happen to me. I started crying and the nurses were so wonderful in making me feel comfortable. I honestly think that is half of being a nurse. Being compassionate and understanding to patients who you see at their worst. I know those nurses did not want to clean that up but their kindness and the fact that it was no big deal made me feel a hundred times better. I only hope I can convey half of the kindness and understanding that those nurses showed me in my 3 month stay at the hospital. And yes, I was there for three months. I was very, very sick.

  • Jun 19 '14


    I was curious if anyone had advice on how to stand out and get accepted into new grad residency programs. I am really interested in a few but I know how competitive they are. Grades, volunteer work, etc? What is everyones take?

    Thank you!

  • Jun 19 '14

    Wow. It actually surprises me that people don't seem to realize that while English might be the most predominant language in the U.S it is not "the" language of the U.S. There is no official language in the United States, unlike other countries which do have their own official language. The U.S is also a country that promotes acceptance of other peoples and other cultures. This is why there are signs or automated messages wanting to know what language you want to read/speak in.

    In addition, English is THE MOST DIFFICULT language to learn and a lot of times the resources to teach or the availability to learn, no matter how long you've been living anywhere, is simply not available.

    As American's we are used to a certain degree of "luxury" which gives us the mindset that if we go to another country, we expect to be accommodated in our own language BECAUSE we accommodate for others in their language. Of course foreigners come to our country without "speaking the language"... 1) there is no language, and 2) we accommodate for them. Anti-discrimination laws demand that we do. Different countries have different rules (and laws). This is culture shock. When you fail to do all the research you should before you gallivant off into the sunset with "instant job after college", that is what you get hit with. How someone decided to go to school in a country where they didn't have knowledge of the language surprises me... not in their own negligence, but that the College itself allowed someone with only a limited basic ability to communicate into a Nursing school.

  • Jun 19 '14

    Sigh. Only Americans can move to a foreign country and get mad they don't speak English. I would learn the language and culture of the country you're in. They don't owe you anything.

  • Jun 19 '14

    If you're staying in Korea, I would take a semester off and take a class to learn the language. Then go back to the nursing program.

  • Jun 17 '14

    I've been married to a nurse for more than a quarter of a century, and let me tell you, nurses are not what you expect (and I don't even care what you expect, because you are wrong)!

    Let's begin by tearing down some of the more famous assumptions about nurses right off the top:

    The Nurse as Sex Kitten:

    Any man who lived through the early seventies or has made it a point to rent such famous videos as "Night Duty Nurses" or "Student Nurses" or "Night Duty Student Nurses" or any one of several dozen nurse-centric skin flicks will immediately believe that all nurses have heaving bosoms, just millimeters away from popping out of skin tight white uniforms. You will also believe that nurses always wear white garters, fishnet hose, and stilettos. This, of course, is a handy dress code because movie nurses spend *a lot* of time hopping in and out of patient's beds.

    The reality is that most nurses wear scrubs - Shapeless, draping hunks of cotton that could cause you to breeze past Pamela Anderson without a second look. Shoes are white and chunky with blobs of things on them better left Unexplored. Socks replace white hose and garters, and when is the last time Anyone saw a nursing cap? Graduation, perhaps?

    The Nurse as an Angel:

    If you want to hear the latest gross jokes, just find a nurse. Some uninformed males seem to think of nurses as angelic creatures: demure and loving, a cross between a nun and their mom. Well, hate to bust your bubble, guy, but as a group, nurses are some of the rawest folks you'll ever run into. I don't care how sweet and demure they may look on the outside; inside is someone who has seen things that would gag a maggot, break your heart, or Drive a normal person nuts. So most nurses develop a very wicked sense of humor squarely lodged in the black-to-sick side of the scale.

    Also, in case you are looking for angelic sympathy for the little boo-boo you had in the shop, forget it! Let's say as a typical male klutz, you manage to saw your finger off. You go running to your nurse wife who is on the phone with a nurse friend of hers. As she continues to talk to her friend, she gives the stub a good eyeballing, slaps a towel on it, takes out a baggy to put the severed digit in, and tells you to get some ice while she is explaining to her friend that her dummy husband just sawed his finger off. As you stand there bleeding profusely for 15 minutes she calmly finishes her conversation as though nothing is going on until finally she says, "Well I guess I better get him to the hospital."She hangs up the phone, looks at you, sighs and calmly says, "Let's go."

    You have just learned an important lesson. On the nurse scale of emergencies, yours is about a minus 9! As my wife has told me, "when you are on a ventilator, with six drips running, your head down and your feet up, then you're sick. Anything less than that isn't worth getting excited over!"

    The Nurses Mutual Benefit Network:

    As a male either dating or married to a nurse, you should realize one important thing. There are nurses everywhere. That, in itself, is no big deal. The fact is, every nurse knows other nurses who know more nurses, so that by the time you are finished, a nurse on the Island Nation of Chuuk who observes you doing something you shouldn't has the immediate capability of getting word to your wife. This system is way more reliable and efficient than the Internet and has existed for a much longer time. Take it for
    granted that your nurse wife will know about anything you have done, good or bad, before you get home!

    Your Social Life with Nurses:

    Nurses hang out with other nurses and soon you may find that all your friends are married to nurses. The reason this happens is because in situations where nurses mingle with nonmedical folks things can get ugly. For example, you are out to dinner with your nurse wife, another nurse couple, and two civilian couples. The nurses sit and chat, discussing fun things like bleeding bowels, open sores, how much fat was sucked out of some patient, projectile vomiting, traumatic amputations, etc., all over a nice pasta dinner. The nurses carry on talking as the civilian couples turn funny colors, make faces and suppress their gag reflexes (and this is if the nurses don't have any really gross things to share like the homeless guy with maggots in his bleeding sores)!

    After several dinners and gatherings like this, you will soon find your circle of friends has shrunk significantly. The key to avoiding this is to do the following: Never go out in mixed groups with more than one nurse. A lone nurse is OK. The trouble starts when you have more than one, and when that happens, keep the regular folks away. Also get used to the idea that some friends and neighbors will take advantage of the fact that your wife is a nurse by calling at all hours of the day and night for advice. This may include male friends "dropping by" to show your sweetie his rash. The best advice I can give is to just deal with it and hope it isn't contagious.

    Nurse: The Health Ramifications

    Most nurses have been described as having the constitution of horses, which isn't true because I've been around horses and they get sick more often. The reason for this is pretty simple. After about 3-5 years on the job, nurses have been exposed to so many bugs that they either end up dead or full of every antibody known to mankind. (If you want the ultimate booster shot, just get a blood transfusion from a nurse who's worked in a hospital for 20 years!) You don't have all these antibodies, though, so when she does come home with mild sniffles, a week later you're flat on your back with the worse case of the flu of your life!! Oh, and if you are the least bit squeamish, don't even think about the bugs she brings home on her clothes. It will mess with your mind as she talks about her Resistant TB patient, the patient full of body lice, or the one with poison ivy in his mouth! So don't


    Ah such mysterious, wondrous creatures are nurses.

    You know, they really are and I thank God every day for my nurse!

  • Jun 16 '14

    I haven't read through all of the comments, but I feel like those who choose to TTC during nursing school really underestimate both nursing school and pregnancy.

    You said that being pregnant during nursing school would be easier than being pregnant while working as a nurse? I would VEHEMENTLY disagree. Even if you have a complication-free pregnancy (which, of course, you cannot guarantee), you are exhausted beyond anything you've ever known. While working as a nurse, work can be modified, and when you get home, you're home. You aren't trying to write a 5 hour paper on your clinicals for the week, coordinate a group paper, read 12 chapters for this week's lecture, study for an exam, AND manage marriage and a household.

    I don't have to tell you the myriad of complications that can occur with pregnancy, but I GUARANTEE you that your instructors will see you as not being as motivated as classmates who have waited, and may or may not be accommodating if you need to withdraw and start again next semester/year. You will miss out on opportunities to learn certain procedures or skills because it's too much for someone who's pregnant, or you can't stand that long without passing out.

    We planned to have our kids closer together, but chose to wait. I just graduated, I'm 34, and my son will be 6 in August. We still aren't planning to try until I've been working and have established myself in my job, and we're good financially. It would be irresponsible, IMO, to try before then.

    With my first pregnancy, I was in good health, but I had reflux, which meant that I would vomit with about 5 seconds notice. No nausea, just suddenly vomit. Also, I worked as a phlebotomist, and the bending over the draw blood KILLED my back as my stomach grew. His position was posterior, so I'm sure that exacerbated that issue. I had to be taken out of work at 6 months because by the end of my shift, I was in tears from the pain. Also, because of his position (posterior, head tilted to the side, cord entanglement), his HR dropped into the 20s during delivery, and I am VERY lucky that he was ok after a crash c-section. NO WAY could I have returned to school recovering from that and the depression from everything that had happened (labor was ROUGH). He did almost end up in the NICU because his blood sugar dropped from breastfeeding challenges after all of the complications.

    You just don't know what can happen until it's happening. Don't risk it.

    The other option, which is what I did with baby #1, is wait on nursing school. Once he was a few months old, I went back to school part time, and eased my way back in.

    Remember, there is only so much of you to go around. You can do a lot of things half-rear-ended, or you can do a few things very well. Both nursing school and new babies require a ton of time, and in both cases, significant others feel neglected, so I cannot IMAGINE the combination of the two. Regardless of which you choose to do first, I would HIGHLY recommend doing them one at a time.

  • Jun 16 '14

    Quote from NurseHammonds
    Yes I know there's a possibility of a troubled pregnancy. My thought on that is I am a healthy person with absolutely no health issues. !
    Take it from a former OB nurse....your current state of health means very little. Pregnancies are all VERY different, and much of what happens during and after conception is a crap-shoot. Sure, being healthy, immunized, the right weight, full of Folic Acid and free of all diseases is a GREAT start, but anything can still happen. You are an adult and will make your own choice, but you did ASK...

    PS...and if you are one of the 30% or so of women with severe morning sickness, your own body may cause you issues. I was hospitalized twice for hyperemesis, and MOST women are incredibly tired the first trimester.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    PPS....any reason you are not getting married first? I may be old fashioned, but it seems like you are putting the cart in front of the horse.....and I have seen so very many "fiances" walk out of the picture.

  • Jun 16 '14

    Quote from NurseHammonds
    Wow. I just figure because I have no health issues it is unlikely I'd end up with trouble for the majority. Sorry to hear yours went that way. Hopefully it was worth it.
    Just because you don't have any health issues now doesn't mean you or the baby won't during. You could develop pre-eclampsia or any other condition. Your body can only handle so much stress. I would never choose to get pregnant during nursing school.

    I'm due next week & couldn't be more excited. I'm going to apply for fall 2015 so it will give me time to bond with my baby & get a routine down.

  • Jun 16 '14

    I know that people have done it, but one of the common concerns I hear when people ask this question (feel free to search around, there are several posts in the forum about this) is that you never know what kind of pregnancy you are going to have. You could end up being on bed rest or have other complications that require you to miss significant time in school. What a shame it would be to get started and then have to leave. My suggestion would be to wait, but you have to make that decision for yourself.

  • Jun 16 '14

    If you don't care about your books being new, check out the nursing school FB page and buy your books from another student. Much cheaper and even if it's an edition that's behind the current book, it will be pretty much the same.

  • Jun 14 '14

    Quote from RubySlippers06
    YAY!!!! Congratulations! That is super exciting!! I still have no new information, but it is getting closer to the date of knowing! Now I am trying to just enjoy my kids and being able to clean my house to the level I like LOL

    I understand that!! I have been doing lots of spring cleaning the last month because I know it won't happen once school starts in the fall. Plus I have been working on my social life as well. I got separated last fall and my divorce was final in January. I didn't really have time to date because of school. I had one guy who is a good friend of mine, we just decided to be friends because of our schedules. We are both busy people. So I have been actively dating the past couple of weeks. Trying to find a guy who understands I will be in nursing school and will be supportive. Went out on a date Tuesday with a super nice guy!! Had a good time and am going to see him again Sunday. He thinks what I have done is great and nursing school will be excellent. So we will see what happens but I know I am going to have fun this summer!!