Attaining a Master’s degree in Nursing requires a great deal of focus and coordinated effort. It also requires that the student’s personal and professional goals be aligned, as the Master’s degree in Nursing is really the ultimate expression of this alignment: a student whose personal values and aims do not reflect the professional aims represented by the Master’s in Nursing is a student who is likely to be pulled in two different directions at once. Unless the ultimate aims converge, divergence will result—and that is why it is so important that a nursing student reflect upon how his or her personal and professional goals correlate. This paper will serve as a professional development plan: it will give some background on my personal history, my professional accomplishments, my future aspirations, while also identifying my academic interests and my goals for my Walden educational experience.
Personal and Professional Goals
It has always been my goal to be a nurse. Even though I started out in the industry as a secretary, it was not long before I was actually enrolled in nursing school, pursuing my dream. Recently, I applied for the Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program at Walden University because I felt naturally drawn to the idea of serving the elderly population. Perhaps having spent so much time caring for my elderly parents over the past few years had warmed me to the idea. Whatever it was, I knew after reading the description of this program online that I could identify with Walden’s mission—of serving “a diverse community of career professionals with the opportunity to transform themselves as scholar-practitioners so that they can effect positive social change” (Walden, 2018). My own background in nursing in the 21st century had instilled in me a similar mission: specifically, I wanted to be able to manage the care of acutely and critically ill patients, collaborate with a multidisciplinary team, provide continuity of care, education, positive interaction and be a constant presence on the units, helping nurses, patients, and families. Making that happen is my new professional goal.
My personal and professional goals intersect with my academic interests in that I want to help make nurses better and I want to help make patients better. I want to be able to give families the peace of mind they seek and have a right to, no matter what situation their loved ones are in. Health care is about facing facts—not alone but together, being there for one another; showing support, empathy, sympathy and true quality of care. Specialized learning and the attainment of a graduate degree will help me to meet my career and personal life goals, which have brought me to this point in time where I feel the need to continue to develop my academic career and use that development to further my professional career.
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I want my education and nursing experience to merge even more closely so that I become a true beacon—a veteran nurse who has the educational experience required to guide other nurses and serve as an example to others.
Educational Background and Research Proficiency
In 1996, I began my work in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) as a secretary. I worked weekend nights to supplement my income and to help support my three children. A divorce, a lack of funds, and a job shift to the Nurse Recruitment Office kept me from pursuing my dream—which was to go to nursing school. However, after receiving some encouragement from other nurses and from my new husband, whom I married in 2001 (and who also happened to be an RN in the CVICU), I finally decided to go for it. After all, by then my youngest daughter was a junior in high school and I could at least begin taking pre-req’s to get them out of the way. Fast forward ten years and I was graduating with an Associate Degree in Nursing. That same year (2011) I began my career as a new graduate nurse in the CVICU where I had first worked as a secretary in the 1990s. A lot of the same nurses were still there and I was excited about returning—but I did not feel like the reception I got was as warm as I anticipated. I left there the following year and took a position in the CVICU where I currently work.
I wanted to continue my education. I began taking online classes so as to complete my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. Ten months later, I accomplished the task—while working full time on nightshift, tending to my husband and children, and celebrating the birth of my first grandchild—not to mention also taking care of my elderly parents.
I worked the bedsides for four years before accepting a position as Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). However, the CNS position required the hire to have a Master’s of Science in Nursing, which I did not have. The job description was changed to allow me to land the position and the title given me was Clinical Educator—Cardiovascular Services. While the new position allowed me to do everything I loved, from being involved with new nurses to helping patients to providing educative experiences to helping develop Cardio Services programs and to positively impact patient outcomes—it was still felt that I should pursue my MSN. Thus, in 2017, I set out to continue….....
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