Soo how did I end up getting a job I love so much? Looking back, it all started from several events that I considered failures. Way before graduation, I was already looking up NP schools and pediatric programs. It was my end goal and I eagerly (mostly naively) wanted to start as soon as possible. I applied to an acute care pediatric NP Master’s program in December of my senior year. I attended one other informational session, but did I end up only applying to one school? Yes…Probably wouldn’t recommend it if you want to start right away. However, I was stubborn and slightly cockier than I should have been at the time. I’ll have another post later on for how to stand out as a candidate!
In January, I started my senior clinical in the PICU. While it was almost entirely luck that I got this placement, it was the first crucial step of my journey. At the end of January, I was notified about a grad school admission interview to be held in early February. I thought it went well. I vividly remember my dad taking me and going to Angelo’s afterwards to celebrate. I was also doing everything possible to get my first nursing job and went to the hospital career fair in March. At the end of March, I was notified that I was wait listed once again. All I could do was work on getting hired and wait some more. After clinical was over in April, I emailed the PICU nursing supervisor, who I came to know, about a potential job opportunity following graduation. She requested my resume and the process started from there. I spent most of April applying to new grad positions and the finally found out I was admitted to my dream grad program. Then came graduation and I eventually took the NCLEX on June 24. This was a lot later than many of my peers and I unfortunately got all 265 questions. It was awful and I cried the whole day…will have a post later on about how to pass.
On my birthday (July 17), I got my official offer email for a PICU new grad position to begin in early August. Again, this was later than many of my peers. but I was willing to wait as long as possible to get a job I truly wanted. It is hard to get a new grad job in pediatrics unless you have connections such as being a tech on a peds floor. I started orientation, was making new friends, and then reality hit. I started class in early September and together with ICU orientation, I started to crumble. Emotionally and physically, I was spent. I had never been a nurse before, let alone an ICU nurse taking care of critically ill children. I was a nursing aid (patient care assistant to be exact) during my senior year, but it was in adult oncology and hardly prepared me. I started to fail at both work and school. I cried every day. I began to think I was so dumb because I wasn’t doing well in orientation and barely passed my first few exams.
I had several meetings at work about my slow progress and along with some family issues, made the decision to drop out of my dream program in early October. Not only was I devasted and embarrassed, but I then began struggling more at work. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I felt alone and ashamed. I worked too hard to not be in grad school and to be getting fired from my first job. Failure? Yeah, I thought so. All around I was a failure. I couldn’t stop crying when the manager told me I wasn’t going to continue with orientation. I thought I would never work in pediatrics again…Fortunately, since she thought I was a “good enough” nurse (coupled with her kindness), she helped me to get another job at the children’s hospital and told me to reapply in two years. I ended up starting my dream job on a pediatric general care floor in November, where I still am, and where I have met some amazing people. It was a 40-hour night position that allowed me to gain a strong foundation as a nurse. I restarted the grad program (and at this point switched to the DNP option) the following fall. My current nursing manager is also incredible and allowed me to decrease my hours to 28 once I started school.
That leads me to the moral of the story that the “sun will rise in the morning” Despite what I thought was a double failure, it ended up being what was best for me. If you don’t pass the NCLEX on the first try, don’t get into a grad program right away, get rejected from job interviews, or get fired from your first job like me, don’t give up. Everything that happens to you makes you who you are. As cliché as it is, everything happens for a reason. Just remember, “I never lose. I either win or I learn.” -Nelson Mandela