Thanks for writing this article, Stephanie. If this helps at all; I went back and got my Masters when I was 45, alone, just lost both my parents in the same year and my best friend the following. I sat at my kitchen table Christmas Eve. hating my life because what I knew my normal life to be had now become nothing. My job had shut down due to an FDA issue (which I was making in the high six figures), I owned a home by myself, and now I just had to put my cat down two days before Christmas after 14 years as my dearest companion. Like you, change is like no other when you feel compelled to take a different path even though the world around you screams “WTF?” and even those closest to you, whom you thought would applaud you, scorn you in ways they don’t even know.
Just know that all those younger students you may sit around now that seem to catch on to chemistry or anything related to schooling might be book smart or even just plain smart. But, what you will see when you become a nurse is how much better you are with people because you are older than “just out of college” and that your understanding of what people go through or have been through in life are now part of all your learned experiences. School at a latter age changed my life; I became all that I wanted to be and I didn’t give a damn what others thought or said. And now, every time I speak about my field (Health Care Ethics), I am proud of myself in ways I couldn’t have been 20 years ago. I understand the world is a multi-layered, complex, and often cruel place to be and yet I there are those moments that I see the most knee-dropping things that make me cry because with age comes not only wisdom but empathy. You will find yourself connecting with your patients better based on your shared experiences and that will make you a better nurse; something healthcare needs so badly. Nurses are often in the shadows, doing all the work others won’t but they do it because they care about the patients; at least the good ones do. Yep; there will be those dopey nurses that sit or stand at that station complaining about someone’s call button that you will decide to respond to because of your maturity in how you think, feel, and act due to your own experiences and knowledge outside of those chemistry books. Keep on keeping, girl. The road less traveled is ALWAYS the best in my book.
DAFarnin (Health Care Ethicist)