Still Scared

I don’t want to take them. Okay, no one wants to take them, but I really don’t.

The pressure is on for me to get the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner boards over with. It has been 6 months since I finished my MSN program and all I can do is think about the stuff I didn’t learn.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, my education was unbelievable. I accepted an NP position in a hospital that has never had an ACNP on staff. Can you say a challenge fit for someone with experience? The great thing for me is realizing that my student loan payments (Which come out of the grace period this week!) were worth accumulating. I have definitely been prepared for the trail blazing that is ahead of me. Instead of intimidation and panic that I should be experiencing, I am instead in the midst of a semi-adrenaline, semi-competitive haze (or maybe it is denial!)

Nope, it is definitely excitement.

What the heck am I afraid of then? The details. I am weak with remembering the details. Pharmacology in particular. Cardiology? Scares the shit outta me. If something isn’t broken or gaping I don’t like it so much. Chest pain? Yeah, I am thinking PE, not MI. It is the trauma girl in me. I recently found my feelings of inadequacy eloquently echoed in MadDogMedic’s entry about his paramedic education.

I have come to realize, however, that the adult student fits somewhere on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. There are some who are down at the basic level of ‘Safety’ attempting to keep their head above water, get enough sleep to function, and learn what they must to get by. Survival is the name of the game.

Others (the ones I hate) have their papers done the week they are assigned, and challenge every question they happen to get wrong on an exam because they KNOW they are right. If it isn’t a 4.0, it just isn’t good enough. ‘Actualization’ appears to be their goal, but it is nothing but a shallow farce.

Educational ‘Actualization’ comes not from hours with a book, but with the ability to apply what one has learned at the bedside. The hours of research, ridiculous papers, and ‘busy work’ homework are not just something to be suffered. They are not meant to impart details to remember for eternity. The ultimate goal of higher education is to teach the learner how to learn. Teach the student to respect what they do not know and give them the tools necessary to find the answers they seek. Most importantly, the goal is to humble them into accepting their knowledge gaps and drive them to be ever diligent in searching out answers.

MadDogMedic has yet to realize is that his fear of not knowing makes the good, great. When I dial 911, I do NOT want the highest grade in the class to walk through the door. I want the one who is ever diligent, ever fearful and ever passionate.

Shortly after finishing my training as a flight medic in the Army, I asked a mentor if he still got scared when the mission bell went off.

He looked me square in the eye and said, “Emily, the day you aren’t scared is the day you need to quit.”

I am still scared.