Today is the Beginning of the Rest of My Life

Today I took my final nursing exam.  I do not know my score yet, but I do know I have passed the class (pretty confident at least) and that I will be graduating on Friday.

As I look back over the last two years of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears (literally) I begin to realize how fast time flies for one and for two what hard work and determination can bring you.

The last month was filled with stress as I had to write 5 papers, take 6 exams, and complete a Mental Health Assessment on Milwaukee County.  It brought a lot of information out from underneath the rug we have swept it under.  For instance, in two years the estimated 15,000-20,000 homeless in the Milwaukee area went from roughly 30% of the homeless being mentally ill to 41.1%, substance abuse is close as well.  The main reasons for homelessness were eviction/foreclosure, unemployment, and family breakup.  I will save more of that assessment for a different post since I think it needs to be addressed.

Now for this post, back to the happiness…

I have decided to pursue psychiatric nursing with the goal of becoming a DNP in behavioral health for HIV patients.  They do have physiological needs but the psychosocial needs are just as if not more important.  Gotta help someone find purpose in order for them to care about life.  I completed my advanced practicum at an area behavioral health hospital that is world renowned and my Instructor is putting in a letter of recommendation for me since they are looking for some RNs.  I was surprised at how much I liked psych nursing.  My last patient, a transgendered woman, really touched my heart and affirmed that I was in the right field.  It is one thing to have an Instructor tell you, but when a patient does it means even more.

I figure I’ve been through a lot of drama in my life and can relate in a lot of ways to the struggles people face.  Because of that I genuinely want to help them heal and feel loved, to help them be the holder of the pen writing their own story, to help them be the master of their own destiny.  Many people think psychiatric nursing is like the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” but I assure you times have changed dramatically.  In fact the place I am hoping to work is working towards restraint free care, by therapeutically defusing situations before they become that dangerous.

I do get saddened though that my step-father thinks it is bunk science, to me it is rather commonsensical.    You are teaching people how to interact with the world in a productive manner and how to take control of their own lives for the better.  You are building them up until they can take over as their own decision maker so they do not harm themselves.  One thing about psychiatric illnesses that are misunderstood is that most of them are not what one would typically think of.  Sure we have many with Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia but most people are just depressed and in a crisis, they need a safe place to sort it all out.  And too, some have been damaged irrevocably as children and now as adults were never able to move into that developmental stage.  It makes you realize what a sick, cruel world we live in but it also shows you the real crux of humanity.  All humans have weaknesses, we all have moments where we feel life is so awful it is not worth bearing, we all have defensive egos at one point or another, and we all need someone to just listen.

So now onto Friday, when I walk down the aisle to get my nursing pin, candle, diploma, and say the Nightingale pledge.  I know I will cry, I’m a sap, but hey it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to… ^-^

12 thoughts on “Today is the Beginning of the Rest of My Life

  1. I love this post. PFC, I think you have exactly the right personality – and more important, OUTLOOK ON LIFE – to be a wonderful psychiatric nurse. You have a way of touching people, and allowing them to touch you. It’s a rare gift and I think it will get you far in life. I think it will help you help OTHERS get far in life.

    Congratulations on passing your exams, and please know I’ll be walking down the aisle with you on Friday in spirit.

    I look forward to your future post about the homeless and substance abuse, too.

  2. I wish you the best PFC. I think psychiatric nursing is a great direction to take. The need is huge with caring and dedicated professionals making all the difference. Mental health care is still looked upon askance by the general public in this country even though the need is growing by leaps and bounds. As with many things of late we remain blind to the obvious. We have this goofy notion of independence which greatly misleads us into thinking we don’t need each other. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  3. Congratulations!!

    I know the feeling of getting acceptance to another social group.

    I just learned that I passed a course in C++ programming, and it seems I may have also passed a course in database programming in SQL Server 2008 (don’t ask what it is. Not worth your time unless you are one of the cognoscenti.)

    Have you ever heard of Symbolic Interactionism? Apparently it is a key element in many disciplines in Sociology, and I will tell you that it is a very different way of looking at how human beings operate. I would like to either get into a Masters in Social Work or a Masters in Psychology in counseling. Since I am age 68, it may or may not be possible. But as far as I can tell Symbolic Interactionism explains consciousness, it explains how people who are conscious come to exist, and it provides a basis for explaining how society works. The only problem is that it is not easily susceptible to scientific evaluation if you don’t accept qualitative research methods. That is to say that purely statistical research methods don’t evaluate symbolic interactionism well. But SI does explain how consciousness works if it is true.

    Let me return to congratulating you upon your successful completion of the program. But I also want to share my excitement at discovering symbolic interactionism. You might find it useful in psychiatric nursing. The statistical researchers don’t like it, but it damned sure tells you what is really important.

    1. In case you haven’t noticed I am not good with people. I am too much of a theoretician and I am too shy to share much in the personal realm with others. I envy you your clear talent with people.

      Use that talent and enjoy it. You already display it here and you seem to be going the right direction. \

      Again, Congratulations!

  4. cmaukonen

    Congratulations PFC. I myself am looking to retire from my current occupation. Maybe try to get back into electronics and radio again some way. We shall see.

  5. Congrats on your accomplishments! And apologies for being late to the party, but I’ve been totally off the web for a couple of weeks. Now up and running again but with many things to do catching up with things etc.

    PFC, as you can imagine I wish you only the best in your future plans. I’m on the retirement end here but it’s good to know that there are good people willing to man the front lines – especially as there are so many mentally ill people and all too few places and people willing to help them. All too many of these folks are in jail instead of receiving treatment. Lots needs to change and your generation has a chance to make things better!

    If you ever need to contact me directly, leave a message for me on one of my individual blogs. We have more in common than you realize! 😉

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