Thursday, July 11, 2013

Experience of a Nurse Practitioner Student

Prasanna Basnet, 7/11/2013
Today I am here to share the challenges that I am facing as a nurse practitioner student and the efforts that are helping me to overcome those challenges. I am very excited to share that I will be starting my practicum after two months i.e. from September. I have achieved grade A in each course that I have taken and I am expecting to maintain the same grade in the two courses that I am taking right now. Few days ago, I saw a post of a NP student and comment on her post in Facebook Family Nurse Practitioner Networking Group regarding expression of a frustration and anxiety due to heavy NP study load. It made me think that I am not alone in this situation, but there are many other NP students who are feeling like me.  So, I thought why not share my experiences with the other NP students and those who are willing to be a NP to successfully handle study stress through effective planning.
In this mid of my journey to become a NP, despite the fact that I have faced many challenges, ups and downs, I never let them to become a distraction on my commitment to reach my goal. Even though sometimes I feel like I am so tired of studying and I need some break, at the same time I am aware of the truth that no study come without efforts, I started this journey to achieve something what I always dreamed about and I will keep going no matter how much effort I have to put on. I am studying to become a NP because I love nursing profession and to be an advanced practice nurse by advancing my critical thinking skills, but not to replace primary care doctors or for the desire to be working as a doctor. I am determined and every day I am putting my diligent effort so that I can provide quality and affordable care to my patient. Sometimes people try to put me down, underestimate my potential, try to prove that I am not prepared enough to start this journey, but I never get discouraged by their gloomy words. I always try to stay focused on the journey that I started by thinking actions are paramount and words are just word. What I would like to advise to my readers is; ask for suggestion to everyone listen them, but do analyze their word and filter what will work best for you. Keep in mind, every individual is not same so they do not think in the same way as you do. Also, you are a unique individual with your own identity and you only have a key to control your mind and do not let people to dampen your passion to achieve your goal.
Nothing in this world is easy and simple, more you come closure to experience the beauty of life more you will feel complicated. However, you can simplify the complicated things through appropriate planning and setting a definitive goal. Learning to be positive towards your life will give you great courage to simplify the things. I always remember the first day of my NP study when I was overwhelmed by the discussions and assignments that I had to finish in a week for two courses. The transition from the traditional study environment to online study environment was not easy for me; maybe I was not prepared enough to study online. When I logged in my classroom and looked at resources that I had to learn to complete my assignments and discussions, I was perplexed and was unable to concentrate on which task to begin first. I talked to my enrollment advisor and shared my feelings, and then she suggested me to focus on one assignment at a time. Accordingly, I calculated the number of assignments and discussions to finish in a week and divided the days for each task aligning with the submission deadline. For instance, I had two discussion posts that I had to submit by Wednesday and two assignments that I needed to submit by Sunday, I planned to do one discussion post on Monday, another on Tuesday and assignments on Wednesday and Thursday. Till now I am following the same pattern that is enormously helping me to stick on my plan besides my personal commitments and work schedule.  Fortunately I was lost in the beginning and was looking for help, which led me to become more focused and now I know how to handle my study managing my time. Being more specific on every day goal significantly helped me to maintain my grade and retain my knowledge. I believe tomorrow is another day and it will bring new and wonderful opportunities for me. I understand it is very exhausting to always keep on studying, so it is very important to take rest, exercise and eat healthy foods. To have a person who inspires you all the time is also important, without my wonderful husband support, staying focused with my study might not be possible.
Studying to become a NP needs tremendous efforts, passion and of course an attitude/empathy to help people, feel their pain and most importantly listen them. I am using following strategies to minimize the frustration and challenges faced during my study.
1)      Time management and planning for success is very important to achieve goal in anyone life. Think positive, always seek for opportunities to improve your skills, do not hesitate to ask for help, listen and be specific on what you want to achieve in a day and in a year and from a life.
2)      Lack of good sleep can be great barrier to your ability to think and process your knowledge effectively due to poor concentration. Make a regular routine to go to bed.
3)      Eat good calorie diet which supply energy to your brain and increase your ability to think and concentrate with your study. I find myself eating more calorie foods when I am studying hard than the other day.
4)      Sharing your problems with the people whom you can trust can be another strategy to prevent wasting your time and come back to your business soon. Sometimes, even a small thing can make us overwhelmed and we will end up whole day by not finding the solution to get out from that thing. A small suggestion and small support from your family and friends can be a great relief.
5)      Walk for at least 30 minutes in the evening that can be mind refreshing, help to relieve your pain and give energy to focus on your study next day.
6)      Start networking: The changes that you want to see in yourself and people’s life may not always welcome by everyone, but change is inevitable and necessary for growth. It may produce anxiety and fear, but you will get opportunity to listen and share your problem with the people who think like you. For example, Nurse Practitioner Networking group in facebook, being a member of state nurse practitioner group and attending their monthly meeting, opening LinkedIn account, ENP network, etc.
7)      Volunteering: I volunteer in charitable community clinics 2-3 days in a week where people who cannot afford healthcare and who have no means of treating their complicated diseases without their fault. I feel privileged that I am getting this opportunity to help them and at the same time it is another learning opportunity for me and to implement the knowledge that I studying in school into the real settings. I believe success is not how much money you make in a day; it is about how much difference you make in people's life in a day.
8)      Learn to better yourself not to compete and prove that you are intelligent than others. Just keep moving forward with enthusiasm, wisdom, encourage and grace. Return back not to see who are running behind to beat you, but to give other folks the same chances that help you succeed.
“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.”