The thought of pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing has never been far from my mind. However, I delayed following this aspiration because I have been committed to my children's education. I had to give priority to give priority to the children's academic and career progress over my own. Hence, I did not pursue my desire to obtain my BSN until my last child graduated from college.
Besides, the children's education, other difficulties have delayed the pursuit of this my old desire. My determination had seen me enroll in the program in three different colleges, but each time, I dropped out after beginning the course. Also, I considered joining a few online colleges after obtaining their information, but I hesitated because I perceived that I was not ready to keep time with assignments. Meanwhile, I completed two college courses at a local university. I also got the opportunity to mentor a BSN student. It is these two experiences that gave me the courage to commit to completing my degree.
I am now three classes away from my BSN degree and can proudly say that the decision to finally venture to complete my degree was the best decision that I have made. I even contemplate going on to do my MSN too. However, the journey to this point has not been without challenges. I have had a few stumbling blocks on the way, but decided to persevere. A motivational quote by Jack Canfield has assisted me in staying focused he stated: " Let go of doubts and start believing that you can do whatever it is you set out to do." My goal is to complete my degree, and I intend to remain focused through completion.
Many people will not see the point in me furthering my training in nursing now that I have retired from the practice after being in it for over four decades. During my years of practice, I worked in just about every area of the nursing profession. The question then is how I would benefit from a Nursing degree at this stage in my professional life?
I believe there are several benefits that I stand to get upon completing the studies. In America, nurses hardly leave the practice upon retirement because of the nursing shortage. There are always lots of opportunities for retired Licensed Practice Nurses (LPN) and registered nurses (RN) to get seasonal, part-time or on-call jobs.
First, there are very high chances that I could go into nursing education, research, and training. With just a BSN degree, I will attract opportunities to lead staff training in many local hospitals because I have substantial experience in all areas of the practice. Moreover, if I purse the MSN degree, I could venture into academia and research. I feel that my long experience in the profession would make me a very resourceful instructor to college students.
Secondly, as a retired graduate nurse, I could use the training and my experience to provide home health services. Home healthcare agencies are very many, and most of them target retired nurses. The required qualification for home health nursing postings usually is recent experience in acute-care practice (Baldwin, Black, Normand, Bonds, & Townley, 2016). The work involves visiting patients under continuous care in their residences. Although I could get this kind of work with my experience and diploma training, having a BSN gives me better leverage bargains for payments and benefits.
Alternatively, with the training, I could choose to work as substitute nurses in a school. There are very many schools around my neighborhood, where I could get such opportunities. The substitute nurses step in for the regular school nurses when they are not available. Substitute nurses earn reasonably well in most non-government schools. Their daily wages exceed 100 dollars. It is not possible to secure this job without a BSN degree even if one has a valid nursing license (Baldwin et al., 2016). All I need to do once I have the degree is to register at the local school district as a substitute school nurse.
Also, there are very many nursing needs in the local hospitals within my neighborhoods. I could get arrangements for some work flexible shifts in some facilities during busy days. I could also get seasonal work as a flu clinic staff. There are healthcare agencies that provide flu clinic workers to hospitals in December and October. I have also seen job postings for this position done directly by hospital HRs. Nurses working in the clinics earn about $20 per hour, which is fair pay for a retiree (Salmond & Echevarria, 2017).
I also look forward to the possibility of practicing travel nursing. It will give me an opportunity to connect with my children in different parts of the country. At my age, I would appreciate such a job more because I don't live with my children. The advantage of travel nursing is that all the practitioners' expenses are covered for them (Salmond & Echevarria, 2017). It is an excellent opportunity for a retired nurse like me to practice the knowledge gained in college. Moreover, the pays for travel nurses are as competitive as for local nurses. Besides housing and travel allowances, they have life, dental and medical benefits.
Lastly, even if I were not going to get any job with my degree, I would still pursue this dream to the end for self-actualization. It gives me great fulfillment to imagine that I will soon be a graduate after many years of waiting. Also, getting a BSN degree prepares me to pursue MSN, which to me, will be an even bigger accomplishment.
Baldwin, K. M., Black, D. L., Normand, L. K., Bonds, P., & Townley, M. (2016). Integrating Retired Registered Nurses Into a New Graduate Orientation Program. Clinical Nurse Specialist, 30(5), 277-283. doi:10.1097/nur.0000000000000235
Salmond, S. W., & Echevarria, M. (2017). Healthcare Transformation and Changing Roles for Nursing. Orthopaedic Nursing, 36(1), 12-25. doi:10.1097/nor.0000000000000308
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