Friday, January 31, 2014

Preparation for nursing school...

A year and a half after deciding to go back to school for my dream career, nursing, I am in the home stretch. 

Thankfully, while getting my B.S. in Community Health Education from Texas A&M (before A&M had a nursing program), I got many of the prerequisites completed for nursing school. 

Unfortunately, or really fortunately, there is a 5 year limit on all upper level science courses. When did I graduate? I graduated from A&M in 2001 and returned to school in 2012. My sciences were uber-expired. I had to retake Medical Terminology, Anatomy and Physiology 1 and 2, and Microbiology....each one at a time. While it took me a year in a half, I really enjoyed it because I learned SO MUCH! Being in my early 30's in college is much different from being in my late teens and in college!

I finished my final prereq this past Fall and began studying for the TEAS, the nursing school entrance exam. The application period opened January 15th and runs until April 15th. The earliest I could take the TEAS was January I signed up for it. 

No pressure, but this college accepts only your first attempt in an application cycle, which is once a year. I have been studying for the past two weeks to remember algebra, geometry, percentages, reading themes, grammar, punctuation, spelling, parts of speech, chemistry, biology, earth science, physics, biology, anatomy, and microbiology. 

My stomach was in knots yesterday. I woke up, took the children to school, and then had an 8:30 appointment with my doctor for my next round of immunizations to include with my nursing school application. Afterwards, I went straight to the college to drop off recommendation forms to the three professors that agreed to write them for me. I ran to the coffee shop for a french vanilla coffee and packet of Pop Tarts...the breakfast of champions! Then I headed to the library to get some last minute studying in. 

At about 11:00am, I went home to grab a quick lunch and watch Top Chef and vegetate for an hour before the test. I didn't want to feel overloaded. At 12:30, I walked into the testing room on campus and met up with the two other girls that would be taking the test with me. 

The proctors walked us through the process to set up an account and got us started. About 5 minutes into the test, it kicked all of us off and freaked us out. The proctors fixed it, and we got started again. About 15 minutes later, the college had a software update and it kicked us off the test again. Thankfully, that was the final interruption, and I charged ahead. 

At 3:10, I submitted the test, and the proctor told me to check the website in an hour for results. I am still not sure about what I want my results to be for acceptance into the program, because all it said in the application packet was, "To be competitive, you must receive a TEAS score higher than the national average." The highest grade on my practice tests was a 77. My personal goal was a "B" or better. 

By the time I got home, settled down, and the kids came home, it was time to log on and check my grade. I held my breath as the page loaded....the first percentage I saw was 64% and my heart sunk. But I soon realized that was the national average. My average was an 85%!!!! I literally jumped up and screamed!

Both the national and program average for the nursing program at my school is 64, so I feel very comfortable with an 85. Of course I would feel better with an "A", but the form listed a lot of positives. It ranked me in the top 95% nationally, it said my academic preparedness level was advanced, and my lowest grade in science was still over 20 points higher than the national average. All of these things made me feel better about my chances. 

I have all of my paperwork for the application packet spread across my bar. My rec letters have been sent out. I have filled out the official application and attached a photo. I have written the "Plan of Success" essay required and have copies of my CPR certification and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society information. I printed out the TEAS results page and have included it with the application. I have scheduled my final immunizations for next week and will have the official paperwork confirming them by Wednesday. I have gone to the registrar's office to fill out a transcript request to be sent to the college. I have a 4.0, a Bachelor of Science in Health Education, and 8 years of experience as a Developmental Specialist working with children with disabilities. Honestly, I have given this my all. There is nothing more I could have done in order to get in, and if I don't get in, I will be devastated. 

Do I have a back up plan? NO. I will wait another year and re-apply. God willing, I won't have to wait, and will find out by the end of May of my acceptance. Then Nursing school boot camp begins in July. I am so excited, I can hardly wait. This is what I should have done from the very beginning. The only thing I can say is that waiting until my 30's to return to school will allow me a wealth of life experience to apply to this career. 

Until then, I return to acting as a full time mom to my two boys. I return to crafting, volunteering, shuttling, playing with my kids, spending time with my husband, and maybe catching up on my housework. What a blessing it is to have a break! Wish me luck or send up a prayer on my behalf, please!!!!

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