So, one of my 2010 goals included starting grad school.
However, I may be delaying this goal until January 2011. Let me explain.
One of my goals when I entered the ICU was to become certified. For my own personal benefit (and the benefit of my patients, too), I want to be Nicole, BSN, RN, CCRN.. I kind of put that goal out of my head to start grad school because in order to become certified and take the exam, you need 1750 hours (about a year) in direct bedside ICU care. If I start school in August, then I would be just shy of this and I know I would not have time to study. PLUS, if I am going to apply to grad school, I think it would be beneficial to have my CCRN on my application as a boost to my acceptance.
In addition, if I want to start in Fall, then I need everything turned in by June 1st. Seeing as I have not been on my unit all that long, I still feel kind of weary of asking my manager/coworkers for letters of recommendation so soon. How can they write a genuine recommendation if they do not know how I critically think and act in situations? I want to give people time to actually trust me.
Based on this, my new goals:
-Spend the next year studying for CCRN. This is something I want to do. There is so much to know and understand; I know that studying would help to fill gaps in my knowledge base. I also think it will make me a better ICU nurse.
-I will be cutting it close with the one year mark, taking the exam, and applying for the grad program. All my info for the program needs to be received by October 1st. I believe I will have enough hours (1750) by the end of August or beginning of September. As you can see, this gives about a month, but I've read personal accounts that once you apply for CCRN, the okay to test was approved within 3 days. And since I am going to be studying for this months in advance, I think I will be okay.
Initially, I put this goal out of my mind because I thought, "well, who cares at that point? I will be in school and out of ICU and won't be able to continue my certification anyway..."
But to me, it isn't about the alphabet soup behind my name, it is truly the meaning of being certified in your specialty area. As an ICU nurse, I need and want to be the most competent nurse I am capable of being. I want my patient's, families, and coworkers to trust me. Most importantly, I want to trust myself.
Either way, I will still be working as an ICU nurse for the next 2-3 years once I begin school, so I'll still be getting a lot of experience, but I feel like giving myself this one full year of working would be beneficial to my overall goals. Plus, two full years of RN experience sounds a lot better on paper than one year and a half...
More benefits of becoming certified in my next post...