The good and the bad of leaving home 

I’m off to my next assignment soon. Not heading far, as I’ve mentioned. It’s not at home, but it’s close enough to home that my mother is pleased as punch and is already planning visits. Other than pushing my start date back a smidge, it’s not been much that’s made me more worried than normal about beginning a new assignment. Except… 

One of the things I’m distressed/worried/wondering about is how my appearance will be received. My hair is natural and colored plus I’m proudly sporting a nose ring that I have no plans on removing any time soon. Will that cause issues? 

There’s talk of the appearance of the nurse affecting care, or the patient’s  perception of the nurse’s ability to provide care. I’ll save this topic for another post, but where I stand on that is if I treat you with the dignity, respect, and care you deserve, what does a nose ring and hair color have to do with it? 

This brings me around to the topic that’s been brewing in my head since I’ve been home. 

The Good and the Bad of leaving (and coming) home. 

Many new travelers struggle with leaving the first few times. One of the biggest issues travelers face is homesickness. You’re somewhere totally new with people who don’t know you or what your capable of doing a different routine than what you’re probably used to from home. Add to that being in a new city all a lone and you run the risk of spiraling into depression and succumbing to homesickness. Most people quit if it gets too bad. I’ve always loved being on the road so it’s never been too big of deal to up and leave. I battle the anxiety of a new routine, but have learned to remember what I’m capable of and that makes the first few weeks easier to get through. 

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been traveling for three years, and while I like being home, I find it exceedingly difficult. I’ve been examining why and settled on the conclusion that I’ve changed so much that being home reminds me how much. 

Some of the changes are great. I recognize my worth, I know what I can take on without getting overwhelmed, I know what I won’t tolerate, and I know I’m a good helper. I’m a good nurse. Even when I’m anxious about so many things, I know that. I also know I can be an independent person who goes out and explores without needing someone else there with me. 

Some of the changes haven’t been so good. I’ve grown impatient with others, I’ve fallen into some habits that aren’t healthy (physically or spiritually), I’ve developed a potty mouth 😳, and another of other things that I don’t feel comfortable splashing over my blog today. And let’s not talk about my backsliding as a women of God. Everything has consequences 

It’s also tough on relationships, traveling. I find it easier to move on than take a chance when dating is the way it is currently. It’s hard coming home and seeing everyone in solid relationships, having babies when not sure it’ll ever happen for me. Side note: I’ve wondering how my mother would do arranging a marriage for me. Hm… 

Working at home gets tough because I see clearly what needs changed and I can’t tolerate when I see how poorly the staff is treated by those high in leadership. Church is tough too because they know how I was before and I feel like I’m struggling too much to pretend I have it together like I used to. When you’re out in the world that’s when the test of who you’ll be is given. Who am I right now? Human. Admittedly, I know God can use everything and I need to let Him led. I’m still learning. 

Traveling has helped me become someone better and different. That’s what happens when you’re on the move. Am I where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing? Yes, I believe that in spite of the struggles I battle against on many levels. I’m stronger in too many ways and I feel like more strength (as a nurse, as a woman, as a Christian) are coming. 

Leaving and coming home is an experience every time. And while I’d much rather stay on the road, everyone has to come home to rest. 

Travel on, Road Warrior 

A PhD for me? 

It’s been two weeks since my doctoral interview at University of Pennsylvania and about a week or so remains until I hear whether I’ve been accepted. I figure now is a good time to sort through some of my thoughts related to study and my perceptions/worries/goals. So hold tight while I sift through it all, okay? 

I have an interesting personality at times. Spontaneous, adventurous, anxious, curious, daring, and determined. So I can go from raring to go to ultra cautious in seconds. 

Deciding to apply to school was equal parts spontaneous and long thought out (ish). 

A former professor/colleague has been prompting me to go back to school since I finished my masters and when I’d been teaching the tenure track required the terminal degree (PhD or DNP for nursing). It was something I knew I needed to do, but wasn’t committed to the idea of the intense time and research requited just yet. I mean, I was still trying to figure out how to be a good teacher! 

I put in an inquiry about the school just prior to deciding to step away from teaching for a while. That meant I received countless open house invitations that I deleted without a thought. Why even consider it now? I’m not teaching and the thought of a dissertation made me ill.  

A funny thing happened as my travel career continued. Someone would ask me if I planned on doing traveling for long. I’ll save my reply to that for a other post, but in essence it lead to me discussing my plans and hopes for the future. 

School kept coming up. Or more specifically, my desire to do work in sexual education came up. 

My desire is twofold: self-efficacy for both young teenage girls who have experienced a pregnancy and women who are coming out of the sex trade industry. 

We do a real disservice to young girls when it comes to sexual health. Shoot, we do a disservice to adolescents in general. I’ll not proceed into a rant here, but I firmly believe there’s a way to introduce sexual education to kids in conjunction with faith. Acknowledging sin, faith, hormones, temptation, and education is vital and important. As to the other portion, there’s a group of people who are lost. Being forced to engage in sexual activity against your will can damage you in ways people don’t understand. Where’s the help? Spiritually, emotionally, physically? There’s so many good programs and bridging the gap for people in these situations is huge. 

It became obvious to me that taking a research approach was going to make seeing where I could help easier. 

An email popped up in my inbox a few months ago for Penn’s Open house and I was actually already going to be off and close to home. RSVP and I’m there! I was blown away by what Penn could offer. A prestigious institution that would equip me with the tools Id need to make my desires clear…

If I could get in 

GRE taking, application, stomach churning interview process. I’m at the point where I’m not even sure what I want to happen. 

Cons or uncertainties

  1. Giving up traveling for a minimum of 3 years
  2. Battling anxiety of trying to make it through school
  3. Paper writing including my dissertation 
  4. And Philly winters 😑

Pros 

  1. Being in and graduating from (because I’ll graduate even if it kills me) a prestigious program
  2. Having an excellent mentoring program in my study and in general 
  3. Not being financially in debt 
  4. Having options in my career 

I keep telling myself that it’s okay if I don’t get in because it’s another year I’ll have the fortune of avoiding winter. I’d be lying if I say I won’t cry if I’m rejected. 

So here I am. On the cusp of trying to determine the next steps in my career, wondering if it’s the next best step for me. I’m hoping I get in and am successful. I’ll figure out the rest of the path after that, eh? God seems to be leading me somewhere if I’ll listen closely. 

So PhD? Maybe