September 29, 2008

Orientation Day for RN Program


955,000 miles, almost 500 months and 15,500 days after I became a LPN, I'm finally a student nurse again. I'm getting my associates degree in nursing so I can sit for state boards and work as a registered nurse.

The new vibrant colorful textbooks decorate the kitchen table and a quick peek into several reveal that they are written in English and the information is not all Greek! (Click photo for close-up).

These are my study guides for the first quarter of my RN program at Bohecker College! Almost $855.00 and about 55 pounds of dry weight to lug from class to class. "They aren't heavy...They're my BOOKS!"
The magic number 55 cheered loudly again today! Cars with 55 in the license plates surrounded me as I traveled the two miles to school. The president of Bohecker College announced that after our class graduates, Bohecker College will have graduated 455 nurses (LPN and RN's). And, my drive-through lunch came to $5.05. As if I need more affirmation!

Orientation was scheduled for 8:30 a.m., but I was saying good-morning to the college landscapers by 8:15. Not surprisingly, I was one of the first student nurses to arrive. Almost 25 other students trickled in for the next 45 minutes. But absolutely no one wore a bigger smile than I did! (Our class has more students (55?), but we are divided up into different orientation days.)

The crispy morning air seemed perfect for my first day although early fog caused some schools in the county to open a couple hours late. On the whiteboard at the front on the room the words blazed out at me. "Welcome RN Students".

Orientation included a welcome to several students who were returning after finishing the LPN course to complete the RN program. As I glanced around the room full of LPN's, I looked to see if there was anyone I knew or had worked with but all were strangers with almost no expression on their sleepy faces. The young man next to me looked way to young to be a nurse. He shivered in the cool classroom. The young lady on the other side said she'd been working as a LPN for a year but there was no shine in her eyes.
she was already tired? Most of the class agreed with the admissions director that the main reason for advancing their education is to make more money.

My numbers-minded husband has put together some figures, but my goal when I'm an RN is to work WHERE I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. For too many years I've been an observer in the team-making process of care-giving when my abilities and experience could have been used if the letters after my name had been different. I feel like I've been walking behind the horse in the parade, cleaning up the mess even as I listened and learned along the way.

Yep. At the golden age of 58, I will be the oldest, wisest and most grandmotherly student in the school. (That's not to say the smartest.) Hubby advises to choose my study partners carefully because, he says, many will be coming to me for advice. I'm not convinced of that, but do hope to have the same opportunity to learn as if it was my first year on the job!

Much of the orientation time was spent listening to motivational speakers urging students to not give up and keep their goals in front of them at all times. "You'll want to throw your books at the wall and give up. You'll have excuses to call off. Kids will get sick. Cars will break down. You will be tempted to give up!".

I wanted to raise my hand high and argue.

"Not me! I've looked forward to this year for 38 years. See me smile! Nothing you offer will beat me down! BRING IT ON!

My smile didn't fade as I signed my name to a $800+ bill for my books! My smile didn't fade as I lugged the pile of textbooks to my car in several trips. My smile didn't fade when my uniform fitting was about at least 6 sizes larger than the first time I was a student nurse! My smile didn't fade when I noticed that I was older then most of the administration and ALL of the students in my class

My smile will glow in the dark tonight as I snuggle next to hubby Jim who must take some credit for directing me on the path! Jim's faith in me is unwavering!. His belief in my dreams and gentle nudges to keep me focused on the goal are priceless! He has promised to "hold the ladder" and I am sure he will not only hold the ladder but build a bridge if I need it.

After orientation today as I was loading the trunk with boxes of books, another student stopped to say hi. He asked why I had waited so long to get my RN. My reply...

"I finally have a husband who believes in me and wouldn't let me give up my dream."

I'm also appreciative that my sons are grown, educated and supportive.

By the way, I started a new website to keep a 'living diary" of my 14-month program, but most of the postings will also be carried here. That site is listed on the left with my other websites.

Tale Care on the Journey,




Katy said...

Way to go, Mama Linda!

I'm excited that you're pursuing your long-lived dream and I wish you the best of luck. As a fellow math-hater, I say good job finding a program where you don't have to take a lot of awful, impossible math classes. Woohoo!

I'm proud of you. :)


Anonymous said...

Horray!!! So excited and happy for you Linda! And we all KNOW that you definitely deserve a bigger "seat at the table" so to speak- this will be your ticket in! So proud of you! -Buffy

Linda Meikle said...

Thanks Katy and Buffy for your votes of confidence! The only reason I'm going back to school NOW is because (as Katy said), they didn't force me to take Algebra as a prerequisite (actually none).

Buffy puts it better than I did - a bigger "seat at the table".

I posted the article on and have several positive replies over there from RN's who were LPN's and went back to school. They say I'll never regret it!

Linda Meikle said...

...PS...and over 800 nurses have read the article at

woohoo - as Katy says!