A high-heel loving gal and her trusty sidekick…
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Great Grad School Adventure (mega-long post)

As you may or may not have caught on in my previous post, I applied for Grad School recently. Yikes! It was an adventure applying, as you are about to read...

First, I have been thinking about returning to school for my Master's in Nursing for a while now, but only really seriously considering it for the past month or so. It's a big decision! I LOVE what I'm doing right now with my job, so wasn't really sure if I wanted to rock my whole world by completely changing my job.

A side note, for those of you who don't know: I would become an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) with my new fancy-schmancy degree. This is essentially a step down from the doctor (although don't say this to certain uppity NP's - they don't care for that description. They apparently also do not care for being called "Mid-Level Providers." Whatever. I could care less.) Anywho, the ARNP does many things. In our practice, she gets to see and assess patients, order chemo and various other drugs, triage calls, run around like a chicken-with-her-head-cut-off, be given every crap assignment and case load possible, fill in for the docs and catch all their mistakes, dictate on visits, etc., etc., etc. Can you see the dilemma I faced in deciding whether all this stress is actually worth it?!?! However, my employer will pay for this, and guarantee me a job when I'm done... Hmmm.

SO. Going back to a month-or-so ago. I'm saying to myself, "hmmm, you know Katie, I bet in about 2-3 years, you might not be so excited about your job anymore. In fact, knowing you (and I think I do), I would wager that you'll be kinda bored and ready for something a bit more challenging." So I start looking into things, talking with our NP's here, checking out programs around the state, etc. And, shockingly, for the first time in my life, I legitimately consider becoming a HUSKY! Ew, crazy! So I start ordering transcripts from the MANY schools I've attended because I know this can take a while (this is key later in the story)... And just as soon as I decide that UW's program is the best one, they drop a bomb on me - they are changing their program! No longer is a Master's degree enough, now they want everyone to get a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice. Or Dumb Nursing Program. Something like that.) This means an extra year of school (at least), and when you graduate you get to do the exact same job as the Master's nurse. Dumb, right? Yeah. Turns out, WSU tells me the same thing. WTF.

So, now I'm getting annoyed. Because my Top 2 choices aren't saying what I want to hear. So I am forced to turn to Choice #3, Gonzaga. More expensive. Not as established. BUT they have one thing going for them - they wouldn't make me attend an extra year of school for no good reason.
However, Gonzaga's website is terrible I come to find out. Like, no online application, very few details, hard to find someone to contact. Stupid. So I email the contact person about 4 times, and call her office leaving her voicemails, to find out important questions like "Where are your applications?" And "Can I have one?" And "When is it due????" FINALLY, after about 3 weeks of no answer, we are at approximately August 27th. And I get an email. With an application attached. And it says, by the way, spring applications are due September 1st.

Wait, what? Come again? (that's what she said...)

Part of the application is to gather 2 recommendations. Plus write a professional vita (aka a resume except they only want to know about accomplishments/published articles/etc. - I had none of note). OH YEAH, you also have to take a test. The MAT (Miller's Analogy Test) to be specific. In case you haven't heard of this shit-show, it's a completely outdated way to evaluate your critical thinking skills by giving you an hour to complete 120 analogies. FML.

So I call Gonzaga, because they've given me about 5 days' notice to finish all this. And I'm pretty sure I can do the application itself, including essays. And I have a few awesome colleagues who are willing to write me a recommendation with only 3 days' notice. And thank god I already ordered all those transcripts!!! But this test? Can I maybe do it after September 1st and still turn in my application? Turns out the answer to this question is "hell no, don't even bother if that's the case." Wow. Thanks. Awesome.

So I get squeezed in and get a test date. For August 31st. At 6pm. Pushing it much? :)

And I take the test. It is exactly as awful as you would think. But I get an indecipherable score, and my application is complete.

Cue about 3am Thursday morning (I am planning to drop the app off at lunch on Thurs.) I wake up with fluids coming out of every orifice in my body. I am basically on my death bed. And I'm not going to make the G-D deadline!!!! Argh!

Thankfully, I have nice friends. And they rescued my application and turned it in. And brought me crackers and every flavor of Gatorade known to man.

So that is the story. And now, we wait.


Laurie said...

1. Awesomely long post. Love it.
2. PLEASE promise me you will wear that exact uniform including the nurse's hat when you do become an ARNP (? ANRP? CRAP?)
3. Never ever consider being a Husky. No Matter What.
4. Gonzaga needs to get w the 21st century. Geez the Cougs have an awesome website. You basically do NOT ever need to speak with a human.
5. Proud of you for continuing to challenge yourself.
6. You will be the greatest NRP (or whatevs you are going to title yourself) ever. I imagine you'll be running the place in no time.
7. Analogies are for the birds