In the fall of 2010, I left my academic position at VUSN and moved into practice. Some of you who will read this are former FNP students and may be surprised. Here are my reasons:
- After 17 years on the FNP faculty, it was time for a change. I believe in listening to the little voice in your head that says “time to go”. It spoke to me in the early 90s when I left the Emergency Department environment after 18 years. Basically it says: “You have done all you can here, changed all you can, said everything that needed to be said; what’s next?”
- I always wanted to go back into practice, and I was lucky enough to be able to start part time in 2009 with a new group within the Practice area of VUSN. VUSN has partnered with Metro Nashville Public Schools to open Family Health Centers for teachers, staff and their families. This worked out ideally for me, but I was VERY nervous about practicing again (former students may laugh, but it had been awhile since I managed chronic illnesses). Our patients all have insurance and most are interested in their health. Quite a departure from previous practice sites at the Domestic Violence Shelter and Vine Hill; but I felt as though I had “done my time” in underserved areas. I increased my days in practice until I was able to work full time in practice.
- I wanted a less stressful job as I approached retirement. Preparing lectures, being creative about courses, placing students in clinical sites had become more difficult and less rewarding to me. Also, as the Doctor of Nursing Practice and PhD programs became the center of VUSN education, I didn’t have the required degree, or the inclination or energy to work on one – since my goal was less stress!
So, there you are. Am I happy? You betcha! I work 3 10-hour days a week, a 4 hour Saturday clinic about every other month, and work with great people, both professional and patients. I have found out that teachers are much like nurses: they work hard, take work home, miss meals, and don’t have time to go to the bathroom, just like us! I have learned about the culture of teachers and public education from the inside out; more than I learned listening to my son-the-teacher (10+ years in Metro).
In future posts, I’d like to discuss some of the things I think are important to current students and new grads about transition to practice. We talked about it throughout the FNP program, but now I have a different prospective. I’d also like to discuss health care programs and current situations, but don’t know if I can restrain myself, much less sound coherent! Here’s hoping it’ll be interesting and timely.