Friday, July 23, 2010

Change your mind

Make a decision and change your mind sometimes. It's okay. Really, I promise.


Let me explain. As some of you know, about a month ago, I finally decided on the path that I wanted to take for my graduate studies as a nurse. As an ICU nurse, I was set on going through an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program. And I was highly motivated to start in Fall 2011 through a program that I found at UF that offers off-campus courses and clinicals set up in my area. This seemed like the perfect program at the time. I have been diligently studying for the GRE and my CCRN in anticipation for applying to the program by March (the deadline).

That was my plan. I had a path, and I was going to follow it.

And then, every once in awhile, I would get this...feeling. It would come and pass quickly. A stream of consciousness that would panic and tell myself, "I don't want to do this!"  I would gasp and push the fleeting thought aside. That is, until the other day. For whatever reason, the thought stayed and while trying to go to sleep for work the next day, I just laid awake in bed. And suddenly, the entire thought and panic flooded me: This is not what I truly want. But how could I change my mind? I've already been studying, I bought study prep material and books, I made a study guide, I've already told people my plans. woopdidoo.

It all comes down to this: I love the ICU and being a critical care nurse, I do. But what holds me back from pursuing it as an ARNP is the notion that if I specialty in Acute Care, then I will not be able to work in the office-setting, seeing patients in the outpatient setting. Right now, this isn't so much of an issue since I like the hospital/acute care setting, but in a few years? I question how I might feel about this. I believe that I could easily get burnt out.

And to be honest, I think that the acuity and sickness of patients is not what I want to deal with for the rest of my career. In fact, based on my life as just an individual, I believe I am much more suited to working with patients discussing preventive measures! I don't want to see people get that sick in the ICU. Sure, it will happen regardless to some patient's, but others? Perhaps they just needed some preventative care to manage their heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. Or the steps to prevent all of those comorbidites from the start! 

Based on my own lifestyle, I think it is pretty clear that my focus is on health. And eventually, putting all of my focus on sickness is going to get quite old. I swear, I wonder if the sickness mentality will rub off on me at times. Feeling well and BEING healthy is everything. 

And that is why, I am ditching those plans and going back to USF in Spring 2011 to hopefully begin the Adult Nurse Practitioner program.


  • Closer to home. Although UF offers those online courses with streaming classroom time, I feel that I will miss out on interaction with classmates and professors. I don't like that.
  • Familiar. Let's face it, it's easier to do something you've done before. I completed my undergraduate degree at USF and I loved my experience. Why shouldn't I feel just the same or similar with my graduate degree?
  • Stability. Even with an MSN focused on primary care, I could work in the hospital. In fact, the two ARNPs who work in my ICU, do not have Acute Care credentials. They have their Adult ARNP. They're not dropping lines or anything, but I wouldn't want to do that anyway! They work one week in the hospital, and one week in the office. Not saying this is the path I essentially want to follow, but I know if I miss critical care, then it is possible to work there with the Acute Care MSN.
  • Shorter time period. The program at UF is actually a BSN to DNP program. I did not set out with the goal of DNP in mind; it's just that UF is phasing out the MSN in anticipation for the recommendations for 2015. I just liked that they had Acute care (USF does not). The only thing is that the program would be 4 and a half years long if I went part time. Seeing as that I would not start until I'm 26 1/2, this has lost it's appeal entirely. I do not want to spend that long in school, especially during the time in my life when I'll be getting married, doing fun stuff with Mirza, and eventually starting a family. That sort of thing.
  • Cheaper. Less tuition cost and shorter time of having to pay=happy bank account.
  • Start school sooner. The quicker that I start, the quicker I finish!

There you have it: my very overly dramatic decision. I'm sure no one cares and wonders what the big deal is...sure, people change their minds all of the time. But part of me feels like I would have just gone through with this and then I'd be stuck in this long program, making it even more difficult to change my mind.

Have you ever changed your mind about something that was a huge deal to you? What did you do and did it work out?


babycakes said...

Just want to say GREAT for you for listening to your instinct and your heart. I'm graduating with my masters as a Family Nurse Practitioner in May of 2011 and I feel exactly the same as you. I LOVE preventative medicine. It is so rewarding and very much in line with my lifestyle and values.
Good luck! And I love reading your blog as a fellow RN
-Jaime in Boston

Unknown said...

Yep, been down the road of 'changing minds'. In fact, just recently!
I changed my mind from CRNA to ACNP - a leap of worlds in a matter of speaking.
You can't lie to yourself, and if all you are doing is convincing yourself of a decision being 'right' then the decision is not 'right'.
Glad you had the courage to look 'within' and be honest.
Good luck with your journey!

Susan said...

You can change your mind anytime you want! I definitely like the idea of preventative health much more than treating all these people with diabetic ulcers and COPD...gah! I think this will be great for you...and you can always change your mind again. :)