Well, its the second day of classes for Spring 2003 at the University of Akron School of Nursing. This semester I am struggling to have a good “attitude” about taking a course I could have taught. But such is nursing, jump those hoops girls!! Our profession teeters on the brink. I see such brilliance in the minds of the women I work with and learn from, and in the same instance see female weirdness all over the place. Nurses are strange by breed. I cannot explain it, but I have come to accept it about myself and my peers.

I am currently taking 19 credit hours. I will whine about this for the next 16 weeks so just expect it. I am a practicing RN, going back to get my masters. I started my adventures in nursing career as a 31 year old, arrogant and nieve (is there a worse combination?!?) religious zealot who was going to take over the world with my hospital diploma!!

A few things have changed, I am the polar opposite of a religous zealot (my boyfriend says amen!), I have been too wrong too often to live in arrogance ever again and life has shaken me out of my nievete. Its been a fun decade. I hate to use cliche words, but I have had many a paradigm shift. I have learned to be who I am from gleaning from some incredible women in my life. All of them nurses or nursing students with life experience that amazed me. My first mentor and friend was Marty, she literally taught me to be a human being. When I met her first semester of nursing school I was the biggest pain in the gluts God ever put on the planet. I knew it all, and I said it all. Marty was my irresistable force meeting my immovable object. She watched life as I knew it fall it peices and was there to show me another way. Thank you Marty. As you go through your struggles my thoughts and prayers are with you.

So all of that to say we need mentors. It does not make us weak to realize we need people in our lives to show us paths they have already walked. Nursing is essentially a profession of apprenticeship. I hate to tell you folks in your basic programs, you are learning just enough to pass the boards and have a foundation to build real practice knowledge. If you think you know enough to be a practicing nurse without the input of your peers on the floor, you are dangerous and I ask you to please avoid pediatrics.

Nursing as a profession is stuggling to define itself. If you want to know the Hallmarks of A Profession, go back to your Nursing 101 book, I am sure you will find a lovely definition. First things first, we need a body of knowledge that is all ours. A tough thing to accomplish in the world of medicine. We are necessarily in collaboration with docs. Its the nature of who we are, and we often times take our cues from them. So how do we establish a body of knowledge apart from docs? Researching the area we are legally allowed to act independantly.

Research, research research. I hate it, you hate it, stats stink, but we are dead in the water and forever handmaidens without it. So I am learning research. Hopefully one day I will be as good at it as my present mentors. I have been fortunate enough to have my career championed by a couple really wonderful women who I admire and see as role models. Thank you Dr. Ross-Alomaulki, Dr. Renker and (soon to be Dr.) Peg DiMarco, RN, MSN, PNP. You inspire me and I am humbled by your confidence in me.

Hoops. Get used to them they are not going away. We jump through hoops because we are in subordinate relationships to just about everybody as students. Even returning students who are already practicing RN’s. Its not personal, its just how it goes. If you do not have the constitution to play by the rules and learn to work the hoops, grad school will eat your brain. Remember your goals, and the hoops just become chuck holes on the road, troublesome, but not terminal. So suck it up my dear peers, and stop complaining. Somethings just need to be accepted for what they are. Remember, at some point we get to rule, its just not now.

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