The Long and Winding Road...


I've had an interest in health care ever since I was young. At one point I thought I wanted to go to medical school, but soon decided that wasn't the path for me. When I was in the Army (I wasn't a medic), I took every medically related class I could find, but that wasn't enough. Later I thought about becoming a paramedic, but life kept getting in the way.

My mother had a long list of medical problems that often kept my focus away from my studies (and led to a difficult to overcome GPA). No excuses, that was just the way things were. I eventually lost her to Cancer a few years ago.

Last winter my brother-in-law, and my best friend, finished his fight with Cancer. The one constant through both of their battles was the unbelievably high quality of their nurses. There were so many times Matt (my BIL) and I would talk, after his nurses left the room, and I'd say something like "I think I could do that." and he'd always reply "I think you should!"

After almost 30 years, I finally decided it was time to get off the bench and get into the fight. Not long after Matt's death I enrolled in a CNA program and began my journey.

I'm about as non-traditional a student as you'll ever find. I'm a 47 year-old man, never married, with no kids; who now has dreams of becoming an oncology nurse.

I've spent a lot of time on this board over the last year lurking; silently drawing advice and encouragement from all of you. And now it's time to put up, or shut up...I went ahead and put in the time retaking various prereq's (that I took long ago) and applied to Nursing School...even if the reply was "Thanks, but you're just not good enough..."

This last weekend was rough. On Thursday I received word that I had just missed the cut, and was first on the waiting list at the school I really wanted to go to. Trust me, there was some soul searching--Is this for me? Is it really meant to be? What really IS God's plan?

...I just got off the phone with the Admissions Director at the (preferred) school I had applied to. One of the applicants in front of me had declined their offer, and was I still interested? Yes! Of course! Absolutely! Affirmative! Should I drive down there right now to sign something! (I didn't want there to be any misunderstanding...I WANT IN!)

And so begins my journey. I feel no shame at having been a "second choice"; it'll make it all the more satisfying when I finish at the top of my class :-)

Hopefully, I'll make it a point to update this from time to time. While I'm not enough of an egotist to believe anybody really cares about my journey (after all, they're all tough), I'd like to think that maybe somewhere out there is a burgeoning nurse-to-be that can benefit from my struggle. And maybe, just maybe, will take the plunge.

Besides, if my time with the Ranger Battalion taught me anything, "The only easy day was yesterday"...


3,677 Posts

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

Yay!!! I was going to say, first on the waiting list, you're SO in!! Congratulations!!

Have you been in touch with the VA office at the school? Do you have a disability rating, or did you invest in your GIB? Let me know if you have any questions. I just finished mine with vocational rehab because of my disability rating.

I had people in my class who started after 50. Something tells me you won't be alone. :)

Congratulations again!

What a great story! Thank you for sharing your journey with us, I hope you will continue to post and keep us updated.

We have some things in common, I was also #1 on the waitlist to my nursing school, my reaction to getting in was almost verbatim the same as yours, I am also non-traditional (just turned 40), and my mother died less than 2 years ago after a 10-year-long battle with breast cancer. I was just starting my 4th semester (out of 6) when I got the call and knew I needed to go be with her. I took that semester off, and it took me another 2 semesters to get back in because I needed to wait for a space to open.

All along this academic journey I have hit many road blocks, trying to get the pre-reqs I needed, getting into a nursing program, and once in, balancing personal life, nursing school demands, and everything in-between. But what I told myself then, and continue to tell myself now, is that life is a journey, not a destination... so ENJOY the ride!

Congratulations on your acceptance to nursing school. Buckle up and keep your hands in the vehicle at all times, it can get a little intense at times (;

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Congratulations on moving ahead with your long-anticipated goal. I hope it turns out as well as you imagine.

As you move along your educational journey... please try to get away from the "you're not good enough" dialogue reflected in your post. Grading and performance criteria for nursing education are established with absolutely no consideration of you as a person. Criteria are based upon data - re: level of performance needed for graduates to pass NCLEX. It will be your responsibility to make sure that you meet those benchmarks.


7,735 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

Good luck to you in your quest!


70 Posts

Congratulations and good luck! I'm a very non-traditional student too. It can be tough, but you can do it!