Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Going back to school

I'm going back to school this fall. Not really a surprise. My Bachelor's degree was only a stepping stone in my career goals from the get-go, so it's no surprise that I'm taking the next step. However, the next step is RN-BSN. I hold an Associates in Nursing but my Bachelor's is in Sociology. When I went back, I didn't think my nursing could be salvaged. I wasn't certain I wanted to be a nurse again. It was easier to finish the first Bachelor's in Sociology than try to salvage the nursing when I wasn't even certain where I was going. I'm still torn on where to go. On one hand, I dearly want a PhD in Sociology, to become a college professor and to teach. On the other hand, I realized I love nursing and I have a tremendous gift with mental health care. I'm still not certain which path I'm going to turn down. However, I'm leaning heavily towards the PMHN, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, program. Whichever path I follow, I have to take my GRE by fall and apply for graduate school by January. However if I want to pursue the nurse practitioner route, I have to do one step that is really essential. I have to complete the Bachelor's in Nursing. Any Masters program I could pursue would require I earn it en route, and many programs are unattainable to me without the BSN in the first place. While it might be less helpful if I opt for the PhD in Sociology, it is still a smart decision to complete it. With my Bachelor's in Sociology, the BSN becomes a second Bachelors and I only require the upper division nursing coursework. For about 30 hours of nursing classes, I can have my BSN locked in and forever held if want to expand upon it or not. It's just a smart decision to finish the BSN. However, with M's current health issues, attending a classroom option is risky. I truly cannot predict what will happen with M in the next year and what won't. I wanted to continue my educational pursuits, but I don't want to jeopardize them with M's medical needs, nor neglect M's medical needs. The best option was to pursue an online RN-BSN program for the next year. I'm not about to consider a for-profit school; I'll save my diatribe about such programs for when someone directly asks my opinion. I needed a reputable option from a non-profit College or University. I would prefer a public option, as I don't like the costs of private school tuition when I know I have graduate school beyond this to accomplish. I had several options. They do exist. Most of the state schools which offer online bridge programs have clinical requirements that you must arrange locally yourself. With the children and their specialists, I expect I can accomplish clinicals without significant difficulties. I will work the connections I have in the medical community for preceptorships. However, about half of the options I could identify require you have taken a Statistcs class before admissions. Well, that may be fine and danddy for the standard nursing student who happily takes statistics to avoid College Calculus. However, I already have Calculus. When I went back for the Sociology degree, my college entrance test scores were "expired" by the school and I was required to take College Algebra to meet the math requirements. I didn't take a Statistics course. I did take multiple semesters of Sociology Research Methods, which is more advanced research and stastistical work than a Statistics class is. However, generally you have to appeal to get it to meet the Stats requirement in most programs. The one I applied to openly stated they accept any Social Science Research Methods in lieu of Statistics, so I felt it would be easier than having to go take statistics. Saturday, I recieved a letter from the program I applied to stating that I was rejected due to inadequate academic requirements. I had no idea what they meant by that and was completely confused since by their published admissions criteria I more than adequately met their standards. Yesterday, I called them for clarification. It wasn't the statistics class at all. It was the Microbiology class I feared didn't show up on the transcript as it should have. Nope, they required a "C+" in all nursing coursework and a cummulative GPA of 2.8. Way back when, I did earn two Cs in Nursing courses. I was burned out and ready to give up. In my last two semesters, I missed the B that should have been easy by less than two points. I distinctly argued my last semester since my grade was less than a point from the B, merely that the professor round up and not down. I lost the argument. However, my school did not grade on a +/-system. I cannot prove those two grades were "C+" when that grade did not exist at my school. Then, because those two classes were nine hour classes, those two Cs tanked my GPA. I graduated with a 2.71. I wasn't proud of that GPA but back then I truly had quit caring. Yes, well, I went back and I corrected that issue. When I graduated with my Bachelor's in December, my cummulative was 3.41. I made Dean's List twice in my return, missed it the summer because it wasn't awarded and in the other two semesters because of ONE B each semester. I was inducted into the Criminal Justice and Sociology Honors Societies. Clearly, the sum of my academic abilities today is far better gleaned from my current GPA and not the one I graduated nursing school with so long ago. I don't even understand WHY they were taking my graduating GPA since their criteria stated cummulative GPA. So, the admissions coordinator told me if I could track down my actual number grade in those two nursing classes, as well as the grading scale for those classes--to prove it wasn't an +/- system. If I could prove that my Cs would have been C+, then they would discuss whether they would accept my current GPA instead of the one I graduated nursing school with. This morning, I got another phone call. The admissions coordinator took my file to the Director of Nursing this morning. The Director of Nursing says she doesn't care whether I pulled Cs or C+s in those classes. She says my academic performance in the last two years more than sufficiently shows what I am capable of at this point, including their program. I am unofficially admitted into the program. It is unofficial because I accidentally forgot to sent the transcript of the Astronomy class I took as a transient student last fall, and to officially admit me they need transcripts of ALL of my former college work. As soon as they recieve that transcript, then I will be officially accepted. It goes without saying that I already submitted for that transcript to be sent. Hopefully they will recieve it next week and I might have my official acceptance letter by next weekend. I am going back to school. This time I will lock in my BSN, while deciding what I'm going to do for graduate school. It's a strong, solid step in my career and education regardless of what path I take afterward. It is also flexible enough that I can accomplish it while still being available for M and his siblings through the season we are in now.

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