Something not a lot of people know about me is that I hold a Master of Nursing degree (MN), with a focus in nursing education. What even less people know, is my MN was completed entirely online while travel nursing in the USA.
In the summer of 2013, I had been accepted to the University of Victoria (UVIC). I had completed the extensive application process and thought I was prepared to begin the program; however, when faced with a start date, I bailed and chose to defer entry until the following year. As with many anticipating students, I was plagued with lots of reasons to delay my start date, but I was only putting off the inevitable. So, when the Spring of 2014 arrived and the mailman delivered the letter, I knew I needed to accept the seat in the program or start fresh with a new application, I chose “the easy route” and accepted!
Unbeknownst to me at the time of accepting my seat at UVIC, I would be faced with multiple obstacles, one of which was my move to the good ole USA. Within 2 months of moving, I started the program, I was still trying to settle my TN Visa working requirements, and I was 2400 miles from home. And now, I was pained with planning a trip to Victoria for a mandatory orientation and prepping to embark on 2 years of an intensive educational experience. Oy vey!
My first classes started that September and my first travel assignment started 5 weeks later. I was already struggling emotionally because of the move away from the only home I had known, I was struggling with adapting to the USA healthcare approach and working nights, and I was struggling with being a student again. On top of all the struggles, I was also commuting long distances via aircraft. I had taken on too much, this was a time when even the simplest tasks were frustrating. Many weeks, I would fly from Indiana to Seattle to work a few shifts in WA, then I would drive to Canada and work a few shifts at my old hospital & visit family. Then I would drive to WA work a few more shifts before flying home for a few days. With all this work and travel when was I supposed to get my studying done? Needless to say, I was a mess and so were my marks. I contemplated over and over if getting my degree was the right thing to do…could I emotionally & financially survive this?
Luckily for me, my second semester went much smoother. I was home, in Indiana, 4 days a week to study and my advisor helped me establish some “ground rules”. I sought out help and submitted all my work through an editor before submitting. And I spent many days never moving from the kitchen table.
I was incredibly lucky to find a friend in the same program, which is a story in itself, and we bonded over the difficulties, struggles, and frustrations. I believe it is important to find someone with a mutual understanding and goal, someone to lean on and share thoughts and experiences with! Without her I think I would have gone crazy! Maybe I still actually did go a little “crazy” at times…
The months and semesters flew by and despite the rough start, I was able to finish my program, find time for both work & school, and manage to squeeze a few vacations into the mix! I am sincerely thankful this experience is behind me and I can write the credentials with pride!
So, in hindsight, I don’t think my path was very easy; however, I did it and lived to tell the tale!
Trudi MN, RN