Returning to Nursing School After 15 Years

I have not always had the desire to return to school. The mere thought of spending countless hours studying, writing research papers, and the stress of preparing for exams caused me to feel uneasy. Not to mention, did I really want to disrupt my comfortable routine of working, spending time with my family and friends, and pretty much doing whatever I felt like doing in my spare time? My husband, our dogs, and I live on a beautiful lake in South Carolina, so seven to eight months out of the year, that usually means swimming and boating. I also love taking naps, so would I have to give those up for continuing my education? These are the questions that ran through my mind for years when I began to consider going back to school. Still, I kept thinking about pursuing my Master’s degree and my longing of becoming a family nurse practitioner began to override my averseness to change.

I really had little doubt that if I were accepted into the program and I put my all into it, I would be successful. I decided I would take one step at a time and start by just applying to the program in which I was most interested, Loyola University New Orleans. Not only does Loyola’s program have an excellent reputation, but also its Jesuit values and beliefs parallel my own. To my excitement (and relief!), I was accepted into Loyola’s online MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner program. My acceptance into the program gave my determination a boost and made me want to do whatever it takes to be a successful graduate student and then becoming a family nurse practitioner who provides primary care to the medically underserved.

Fast forward to today. I will have been a nurse for fifteen years this coming June. I am also in my second semester of Loyola’s MSN-FNP online program. Thus far, becoming a graduate nursing student has been nothing short of one of my best decisions. It is not easy, nor should it be, but I am learning so much and savoring the experience, challenges and all. I feel I am becoming better by the week at time management, so I am able to learn as much as I can while still enjoying the things that bring me happiness. I have definitely had to make changes and adjustments since life can be busy, but with the flexibility of online education, I can dedicate time for my coursework when it is convenient for me.

Although it has been years since I was a full-time undergrad, my experience as a nurse has already served me well in graduate nursing school. Along with my assigned readings, experience has helped me to be an informative contributor in discussion board threads. Discussion boards for each course provide a means for online conversations, which enable students to interact and learn from each other. By providing professional references along with examples from our own work experiences, we post current, thought-provoking information. I feel participation in discussions significantly contributes to my learning in combination with interaction with Loyola’s exceptional instructors and studying course material.

I am thrilled I made the decision to go back to school after fifteen years, despite initially feeling hesitant to take the leap toward making my career goal a reality. I am confident Loyola’s online MSN-FNP program is preparing me well for my future role as a family nurse practitioner. The strength of the program together with my drive to succeed will empower me to be the best nurse practitioner I can be, hopefully making my loved ones, my instructors, and myself incredibly proud.

About the Author

My name is Lindsey White. I am from Leesville, South Carolina and I have been a nurse for 14.5 years. After graduating with my BSN from Clemson University, I worked in two intensive care units for a total of eight years where I developed a solid foundation for my nursing career. I then transitioned to the heart catheterization and electrophysiology labs at the same hospital before my husband’s job promotion moved us from Charleston to the Columbia area.