This is my long journey and process into how I got into nursing school! It was around the year 2010 that I had finally decided on a career, of being a registered nurse. I was working as a medical assistant for a surgeon and was constantly surrounded by nurses fresh out of school. I was working long hours and I mean long about 100 + hours a week! How was this possible? Well, remember when I said I worked with Satan herself, well I was forced to work those long hours. What I did notice while working those long hours was how little money I was making compared to the nurses, that I was hiring, their job seemed so glamorous and didn’t seem difficult, I could be a nurse, why not? Not to mention it paid well!
I began to think of my future, I enjoyed being a medical assistant but I was limited in my scope of practice, I wanted more hands-on and continuing to work as a medical assistant would not fill that void. I decided I wanted to go back to school. I had some classes under my belt my earlier career choice was to advance my certificate as a medical biller & coder.
I signed up to go to community college and made an appointment with the school counselor to guide me in registering for classes. We set up a plan, each time I would complete a set of classes I was to schedule a follow-up appointment. Only to find that the counselor I had dealt with in the past was no longer working at the school. I met with a new counselor and they proceed to tell me that what the last counselor was incorrect and I was missing classes and had additional classes. This was a constant thing, back fourth dealing with new counselors that weren’t familiar with my plan and only had but a few minutes to review my classes and goals.
Finally, around 2012 I had completed all the classes that were necessary I only had about 4 classes left to take before I could apply to a nursing program. At this point, my boyfriend and I decided to move from the Inland Empire to San Diego thinking it would be easier for me to transfer to a UC school. We made the move I signed up at Palomar College I met with a new counselor, he reviewed my transcripts only to give me heartbreaking news! I was told most of my classes would not transfer and I had to retake some classes. What?! I went from having four classes left to apply to ten classes!! I wanted to cry! How was this possible?! Apparently, Palomar doesn’t accept classes that are combined such as Anatomy and Physiology. I had to take Anatomy for a semester and then Physiology as a separate semester! This class was difficult for me and I now had to retake it
I wanted to quit! I knew that wasn’t an option for me I had gone this far there was no turning back. At the same time I had enrolled in school full time I had just been hired as a Clinical Medical Assistant at Rady Children’s Hospital Specialty Clinic. What a great opportunity it was to work for a well-renowned hospital. I was always one to take pride in my work and work extra hard. So much so that I began to pick up more hours than my usual 40 hours a week. I picked up a flu clinic that the emergency department had recently started. The department I worked for was a satellite for the hospital, so I was curious to see what it was like to work at the main hospital. All this working cut into my schoolwork, I was more dedicated to my job than I was to school.
Slowly I began to lose interest in my classes that I decided to take a break from school. Around this time our lease was up on our place. I was in search of the perfect place near the beach! It was just my luck and we found our dream condo that overlooked the beach of Oceanside and not to mention it was directly across the street from my work! A couple of months had gone by, maybe like 24 .. (insert nervous laughter here ;-P). I decided I was ready to go back to school, I decided to enroll in a different community college one that was right around the corner from our new place. Mira Costa College, I made an appointment with the school counselor, (is all this starting to sound familiar?) I was so excited! Since I had already taken some classes since moving to San Diego, I knew I had to be closer to applying to the nursing program!
Ready for another heartbreak? The school counselor informed me that I would not be getting into their nursing program or any program at that! the counselor said with the grades I had no school would let me in their program. He said unless I wanted to retake all the classes I had low grades that would be my only chance of getting into a nursing program. He then advised that I begin to start looking at switching careers! My heart sank! Again I told myself, that giving up was not an option, I signed up for the classes I needed.
The first day of school came and I contemplated if I should even go, what was the point? I would be in school for the next five years retaking pre-requisite classes before I could even apply to any nursing program. I never showed up to class.
Let’s fast forward two years, I began to feel unhappy at Radys my department had changed management and there were too many “cliques” I felt like I was in high school all over again. I was at a point in my life where the drama at work became too much to handle. I remember coming home one day, drained and mentally exhausted! I can’t remember what the drama for that particular day was but I had had enough! I went to the place that helped me think, the shower. I didn’t know what to do, or where my life was taking me, all I knew was that I was no longer happy at my job. Tears began rolling down my face and I began to cry I hadn’t felt this upset since I worked with “you know who that cant be named”, Satan! Don’t worry that post will come soon!
I was crying so much and I began to think and then pray. “Dear God, if I can do anything in the world right now, with my life, I would rather be in school than!” As soon as those words came out of my mouth I felt such peace, its something I can’t explain but something felt different.
I went on with my life as usual and continued to work, what can I say I had a love-hate relationship with my job. It wasn’t so much the hospital, but people in management, they were allowing things to slide that was not okay and no positive change was being made. One month later my entire life was flipped upside down, it was like a whirlwind and a rollercoaster at the same time. I was no longer working Radys, I won’t go into details but let’s just say, God, took things in his own hands and it was as if he was telling me: since you enjoy your job so much and you won’t leave, I will force you out!
I knew that all of this that had occurred was pointing me in the direction of a school. But where was I to go? I had tried community college, two different ones at this point. I had tried Kaplan, a private college that I was unable to get into. What were my options? I receive a phone call late in the night from my Dad, he tells me that his friend’s wife was in “nursing school” in the San Diego area, this was hard to believe as I had done my research on all nursing schools in the county. He sternly told me to listen to him, my Dad was very passive so this tone caught me off guard. He then tells me “I spoke to my friend, and his wife is waiting for you to call her,” I reply “Pa, it’s past 10:30 at night I can’t call her this late.” Here comes that tone again, “Te estoy diciendo que le llames!!” “Okay, geez.” Again very passive Father so I knew he meant business!
I make the phone call and spoke to the wife, my life changed after that phone call! She told me she was enrolled at National University and that she was indeed in the nursing program she had just been accepted and was at the beginning of her nursing classes, she told me it was an accelerated program and that the classes were lined up for you so you didn’t have to worry about taking the wrong classes. Which I will add I made this mistake at Palomar, I retook English without knowing and had little help from the school. Not only that but Nationals classes were only 4 weeks long! I always did better in accelerated courses so this seemed perfect! Immediately after I get off the phone, I grab my laptop and schedule an appointment with National University online!
The next day came, and I had not yet received a phone call, in the school’s defense, it was still morning and I was eager and excited to start the next phase of my life. I picked up the phone and schedule an appointment for the very same day. I pulled up to the school and met with Ron the school counselor he gave me tons of useful information, he broke down the cost of the school and he told me exactly how many classes I had to take before I could apply to their nursing program. It would take me a little under 9 months and I could finally apply to a nursing program! My world had changed! I signed up that very day to National University and began taking my classes.
My classes were assigned to me, I wouldn’t have to deal with waiting to see if I got into a certain class or having to worry about being on a waiting list, did I mention the classes were only 4 weeks long! That meant if there was a class I wasn’t fond of it would quickly pass! Time flew by and before I knew it I had taken all the classes required by National. It was my turn to apply to the nursing program! I’m not sure about other schools but with National, it was a quick application online. I logged onto Nationals website where I would apply for the next cohort. I filled out basic information, it then asked me to include any experience I had working in the medical field. I was confused as to whether I should just copy and paste information from a resume or write out detailed information. I did a bit of both, and just like that, I was done! It was nothing like I had imagined the application process would be. Little did I know this was only the application the difficult part would come next.
But what was next? The TEAS test and a timed reflective essay. In my next blog, I will tell you how I prepared for the TEAS test and how I went from scoring a 52% to 86%. I will also share some tips on how I scored a 4.5 out of 5 on my essay. All this was required in order to be able to get into National University’s Nursing Program.