I thought getting my license would make me feel better. More security. More proud of myself. More sure of what I'm doing. Well, it's only been a day, really. But things aren't as great as I imagined they would be, yet.
So I'm finally a registered nurse in the state of Massachusetts - what I've aspired to be for the past four years. Seeing role model nurses in the world's top medical institutions pushed me to be the best nurse that I could be, to do research to the best of my ability, to attend conferences, to stay updated on nursing informatics here and there, to secure a job before I graduated so that I could start work immediately after graduating and receiving my license. Man. I was so wrong. Nothing worked out how I had hoped. Everything is wrong. Nothing is in the right place. I mean, I'm happy and all. I'm alive and functional and can wake up every morning doing what I want, for the most part. But a part of me is still unhappy and unsatisfied. And I don't say this in a moping, whining way. There's just more for me to achieve and I don't think I'll be 90% happy until I achieve those things.
Nursing. I started looking at residency programs before senior year even started. A tip to senior year nursing students - while the process for applying to new grad programs seems to be in transition and is formalizing and tightening up a lot more, it's still iffy to navigate sometimes. Almost 100% of the time I found a program that sounded promising, I couldn't even apply because I didn't know where to apply or what the time frames for applying were. I tried to keep track of them, call departments, and follow up. But even these weren't as helpful as I had hoped when a handful of HR employees were rude and standoffish, didn't know they had a program themselves, or merely told me to apply under Clinical Nurse I positions. It wasn't very helpful.
Then I started presenting at different places and with the help of a mentor, was promised that if I did well at one presentation in front of a respected group at the hospital, I would surely land a job. Well, I nailed it. I got my presentation together, practiced my speech with my roommate critiquing me over Skype, bought a new suit, drove to Boston, and presented. My mom even made native food pertaining to my presentation on Vietnam for the people there. Unfortunately, the right people weren't present at my presentation, and the ones that were didn't care. So that didn't work out.
So I looked to alternative ways to get my foot in the door. I started networking like crazy. What started off as going to events to meet people who, by chance, ended up being nurse leaders and directors at their respective institutions later turned desperate as I found emails of random nurse directors and emailed them on a whim. My research mentors even tried to connect me with their circle of acquaintances. I wanted to badly to secure a job before graduation, and for me to start working as soon as I got out. My family would be so happy; and I would be so happy. None of this happened.
All my leads either led to a dead end, or are still continuing to a God-knows-where destination.
This past senior year, particularly the second semester, were the worst and best months of my life. I had fun - I was on a great dance team that held great parties; my course load wasn't too much; somehow I was managing work, play, classes, and social life at the same time. It was hard, going to classes and clinicals during the week, practicing three times a week at night, and going out on weekends, staying out late, waking up early, working long shifts, and coming home to do it all over again. There was so much expectation and so much I didn't want to miss out on, so I wanted to make sure I did all of it. I think I did, as best as I could, but it wasn't without struggle, stress, lack of sleep, and periodic breakdowns.
I continued to apply to whatever positions wherever I was interested, mainly in Massachusetts and California. But no results were promising, as I still wasn't licensed yet.
Well, now I've passed and I'm registered. But I still don't have a job. And this last month has been miserable, between studying, taking an administrative assistant position in an office, x-ing out friends and a social life to study, and occasionally working for my aunt as a receptionist at her nail salon, studying and working at the same time while knowing my friends were moved in to their new places, starting work, earning real money, and getting somewhere with their lives. I felt awful. Nothing anybody said could drive away the insecurity and weight I put on myself from all of this. Nobody could comfort me and I wouldn't listen to anybody.
I am jobless in the RN department, but I am hopeful. I am license and have a great resume. I am confident in myself and am sure that any institution that takes me will be lucky to have me because I am ambitious, driven, tenacious, but practical and passionate at the same time. I am confident in myself and know that even if i can't handle the pressure sometimes, which is expected as an entry level nurse, i have the adequate support systems to help me do so. And I know who to turn to. I've had marvelous mentors and honest, level-headed friends. And I think I can make it through with them.