I am currently a sophomore at Creighton University, which is known for their health sciences programs, among other things. A big draw I found in Creighton was 3 things: community, basketball, and their nursing program. I was determined to become a nurse – I had applied to all of my schools under direct nursing and pre-nursing programs and got into all but one of the schools (but was later placed in their pre-nursing program instead of the direct nursing program). program I initially applied for). I was really confident at that point in my ability to show schools that I can be a great nursing student – not just in the grades I got, classes I took, activities and volunteering I participated in, but also in my love for helping others, social skills and heart for healthcare.
Now here came the first semester – filled with so many hopes and opportunities. The start of the semester only fueled the thought that one day I would be a great nurse; I had done pretty well in my core and nursing concentrated classes and even got voted into the nursing senate! But even with a great semester under way, towards the end of my freshman semester in nursing school and college, I felt an insecurity within myself about what I really wanted to do. The path of nursing I wanted to do reflected my immense desire to help others, but it wasn’t the best choice for me and I knew it. It was too early to completely reverse my education and career path based on a little bit of confusion, so I continued nursing in my second semester.
However, entering the second semester of nursing became difficult – not only because of the more difficult classes, but also because of the constant thought of doubt in nursing. I really loved the program, the staff and the people in it, it became increasingly clear that my heart was not in the right place. Granted, I didn’t have much passion to work hard in my classes because I wasn’t fighting for anything. I’d like to think I still worked as hard as I could in the position I was in, but I won’t lie and say I tried my best too. I know so many people would have loved to be in my teaching position: whether it was because of nursing school or because I could go to a university/college – and it made me feel even worse about the thoughts I was having.
I began to genuinely hate myself academically and also began to fall into bad mental thought patterns. I hid much of my internal confusion because I was extremely embarrassed to think I could ever think about switching. For much of my life I thought I wanted to be a nurse or a doctor, able to help many people through health care and medicine. I grew up wanting to do missionary work in one of those positions and started focusing on nursing because of the social aspect of it. I wanted to help people, but also feel achievement in my personal growth, and I vocally advocated for my desires. I had people who immediately loved the idea that I was some sort of physical caregiver because that’s all I knew – eventually people also knew I was a nurse.
I felt caught between lifelong assumptions/expectations and my own inner questions, and I know I didn’t want to feel that way… I knew it wasn’t right. With my friend’s help, I was able to talk to at least one person about what I was thinking about and helped me organize my thoughts as to whether I should stay or transfer. I talked about my concerns, passions, dislikes, doubts and strengths that I had and we came to the idea that the only reason why I don’t want to switch is that I had no security. Nursing is clearly a very safe career in our society and a very fulfilling one as well. I knew NOTHING except what nursing was and I had to explore the career world beyond my small reach.
At first I had a lot of hesitation about diving into the unknown, but as I became more and more open to the idea that this was something I needed, I became more happy with the freedom I found just exploring different options for myself . I fell in love with the idea of health administration and didn’t feel far from what I was used to. The major helped me realize that there is so much more to healthcare and what all it entails – the internal mechanisms of the field only work with so many different types of people working together. And when I started accepting myself for something different, not being ashamed of potentially disappointing others, or even job security, my biggest challenge was telling people how I felt and potentially what my next choices were.
Like I said, I knew all my life, I told my family and friends that I was going to be a doctor or a nurse. Everyone was so happy and impressed with my achievements and ended up in all these nursing schools because of it (especially in a place like Creighton). I was starting to feel really nervous about what their possible reactions might be, but I knew it wasn’t going to be the easiest conversation and could have built my confidence about it with the help of my boyfriend and friends at Creighton. I went through my grandma worrying if I was okay or not, my mom asking what the major entailed, my aunt feeling like it was a “waste” of my abilities, and my dad questioning why I was in the first place would stay in Creighton. Even my advisor wanted to comment that it felt like a hasty choice to change because she thought I was ideal for nursing. I started to feel very heartbroken, lost and of course a little torn. But I decided to stand my ground and, not to wind myself up, found it shining through all the thoughts and showing that I wasn’t just messing around with the idea of my future. I had a lot of passion and just because it wasn’t like they were used to didn’t mean I couldn’t handle it.
And so here I am, more passionate about healthcare than ever in nursing. Because the profession is beautiful and vital in itself, it didn’t mean I had to be the one to do it. I have the utmost respect for my friends who are in nursing school and people I know are nurses – they give their lives to the healthcare system that I adore beyond words. But I found within myself a more faithful way of connecting to something I want to work for and all it took was the one thing I feared: doubt. Doubts about job security, income, abilities, fitness and everything in between; I wanted to hide from my grief instead of exploring what it could mean for me. Learning to be confident in my insecurity is probably one of the most retarded ideas I can ever appreciate, but I fully support growing with it. I found freedom in walking with uncertainty and I couldn’t be more grateful for taking such a small plunge into the unknown (something I thought was so scary and bigger than it was). I was able to grow everything I wanted to do in nursing into something more amazing than I could have ever imagined. Although I don’t know everything yet, and nothing is set in stone like I had before nursing, I know I made the right decision. When I look back and compare the stress I felt getting where I needed to be to the flat satisfaction I had in the security of nursing, there’s no competition: switching was for me.