So…I have some news.
I have decided to go back to school to pursue a degree in nursing.
I am very excited about this decision. And scared too.
I think most people will think that this is coming out of left field. ”Nursing? When has she ever talked about nursing? Seems a shot in the dark.”
In the dark recesses of my mind, even before I graduated college, I always thought I’d make a pretty good nurse. Sometimes I would wander into the school of nursing and think… hey… this seems… swell. If things don’t work out with theatre, maybe I’ll think about the health industry. And then I sealed my lips and never spoke of it to anyone because I didn’t want to hear people urging me towards it every time things in theatre were slow or disappointing or didn’t look promising. It was my own little private what if.
I did let myself explore it a bit when I was a counselor at an overnight camp for kids with disabilities. Certainly not nursing, but definitely a job that contained a great deal of caregiving and service to others. It was by far my favorite job I’ve ever had.
And after graduating college, I spent a year as a volunteer in the Palliative care unit at Northwestern.
It is only now, as I’ve actually begun to get paying work in the theatre, after 10 years of hard hard hard hard times infinity work that I’ve come to my decision that, despite it looking like I could indeed make a living from theatre, I find that I don’t actually want to anymore.
It is a scary thing to work so hard for something for 13 years, find myself starting to achieve it, and simply walk away because it no longer feels like my calling. I am listening so intently to the quiet voices in my head. And they have led me here. To nursing.
I am very excited.
Here is why
1. I will see the direct impact of my work. When I perform my job, I will have direct contact with the patients and doctors that I am helping.
2. I will work on a team long-term and have people to talk to/make friends with while I work.
3. I will not be in a constant search for work. Once I land a job, as long as I do well in and enjoy it, I can keep that job.
4. There will be some flexibility. I can be a school nurse and work school days and be off summers. Or I can work all days in a doctor’s office. Or I can work as a home health nurse. Or I can work shift work in a hospital — and if I do — I can choose a specialty like oncology or surgery or ob/gyn. I can move up if I’m good enough to and want to challenge myself– into adminstration or as a nurse practicioner.
5. My hours, dates of work, and pay will be consistent and fair. This single fact will probably quadruple my ability to truly enjoy my time off.
I’ll stop now. Even though I could go on.
So that’s where I am. I’m still trying to figure out where I’m going to go to school and all of the details. But if there is one thing I know about myself, it is that, once I decide to do something, I mean, really decide, then I do it.
And I have really decided.
I hope that, as I grow and settle into my new career choice, I will find that there is space for work in the theatre and that I can weave that thread back into the tapestry of my life. Because I do love it so. And frankly, I’m damn good at it.
But for now, I’m heading into a great wide unknown.
I’ve benefitted from nurses so much in my 35 years — during my youth when I was in and out of hospitals for a variety of illnesses, when my children were born, when my children were ill and hospitalized, and when my grandparents died. Every single time there was a nurse there who made the process much more smooth than it could have been. I’m excited to start learning how to do the same for others.