We are a couple of weeks into the program now and I am already feeling overwhelmed on many levels.
First there is the adjustment for my family. They have been used to having me available to them pretty much 24/7 so this is a drastic change to have me in class 10 hours a day and studying the rest of my waking hours. I can’t rescue them when they forget to take something to school, I can’t drive on field trips, I can’t drop in the classroom to hear their presentations, I can’t even pick them up at the end of the school day; they have to walk home or go to the after-school program. It has been the hardest for Rose, she is 11 and still wants me to be present at everything. Pat and Joe at 18 and 16, are liking the forced independence. And now that Brian is working 50 miles away, he is less available too. I am struggling with this part too, I feel guilty about being pulled away, I miss the hangout time with them. Then there are the logistics to adjust to, arranging rides (thankfully Pat has his license now) scheduling appointments for the few hours I have open, getting dinner on the table, the laundry done and the dog hair vacuumed. Even though the kids have always helped with chores, they are having to be more responsible. I know it is good for them but it is still hard. We set up a dinner schedule for the summer, each of us will make dinner one night a week during the week. We did this before and it worked pretty well. Rose is going to do all the laundry for the summer, (for pay) and Pat is going to do the schlepping of people to and from their activities. Joe is working off his new keyboard purchase by painting the remainder of the exterior of the house. Pat is also getting ready to go off to college in August so he has lots of organizing and sorting of a lifetime of possessions to do and packing.
Then there is the adjustment to the amount of work that is involved in a 1 year nursing program. We are in class many hours both lectures and labs, in a few weeks we will start clinical rotations, we have reading, homework assignments, papers, presentations, and practice to do. I took a few evenings off last week to attend Pat’s senior concert (he played a piano solo and I was so proud) and his senior awards ceremony (he received several) and Rose’s girl scout bridging ceremony and our mother daughter book club. It was worth going to all those events (I can’t give everything up) but I feel like I am already behind in the work. We have already had a test and we have another one tomorrow, they come fast and furious, thankfully I got an A on the first one!
Then the adjustment into our new role as nurses. I feel like we are being initiated into a club or society. There is new vocabulary of course, but there are also new ways of interacting with people. There is a whole socialization aspect to becoming a nurse that I hadn’t really thought about before. Also we are all feeling a little overwhelmed with the responsibility for our patients lives, especially now when we are so new to the work and are feeling pretty incompetent. Of course we are being supervised, but the reality of the seriousness and complexity of the job is beginning to dawn on us.
Well it is back to studying for tomorrow’s exam.