In 2017, Amanda Becker made a life-changing decision. After a long career in book publishing, she’s currently pursuing an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in nursing degree at Marian University in Indianapolis. She also volunteers as a student intern at St. Vincent Hospital on various critical care units.
I am a 39-year-old wife and mother of two young children (ages 5 and 2), who earned a B.S. degree in communications, journalism and publishing from the University of Southern Indiana. After graduation, I worked for the same employer, a book publisher, for more than 16 years. I enjoyed my career, but I have chosen to go back to school because I believe we are all called to live to our full potential. And I am called to be a nurse.
When I was pregnant with our second child, I met a special nurse, Erin Nue, RN, at St. Francis Hospital. She shared that she is the mother of 10 children, several of whom were born during nursing school. She happened to have a student from Marian shadowing her who was studying for her Accelerated BSN degree.
Looking back, it was that day I came to realize that having young children and becoming a nurse was possible. In fact, my children are the reason I am pursuing a nursing degree. I want them to know that education is a lifelong endeavor and that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.
Later that same year, my dad was in a very serious accident. My mom and I spent 17 days with him in the hospital on various critical-care units, and, finally, at home, caring for him. I knew if it weren’t for the nursing care he received, he would not have survived.
As a current nursing student, I reflect upon my journey and the chain of events that brought me to this place. In May 2018, I will bring my life experiences with me as a new nurse. Upon graduation, I plan to seek out a position in critical care, where I can provide compassionate patient and family-centered care.
Great nurses have what it takes: knowledge, professionalism, empathy and dedication. A good nurse is an advocate, an observer, a listener and, most importantly, a lifelong learner.
If you are thinking of going back to school, I would say, “Don’t wait.” I’ve learned there is never a perfect time. I worried about the timing with young children, about how we would afford it and about the amount of time it would take to complete the degree. I decided that since I was going to turn 40 in May 2018 regardless, the only question was, when this milestone arrives, would I be a nurse? And I made the decision not to let anything stand in my way.
If you have young children, it helps to have a list of sitters on hand. There are a lot of late nights of studying, and early mornings, for that matter. It is a sacrifice. I won’t say that it’s easy. But it is worth it.