I will admit, I am nervous! The new job starts next week. For the past three years I have been in school, studying hard and becoming the best nurse ever and the moment of truth is upon us: Can I successfully articulate my education into clinical expertise?
I will be embarking on this leg of my journey as a nurse practitioner in a STD clinic that is a branch of a local health department. Since I am still in the process of completing my doctorate, I will be working roughly about 32 hours a week. But I think I should back peddle a little bit so that you have a clearer picture of how I ended up in this position. I would also like to illustrate how my higher power aligned this opportunity, I still can't believe it myself!
I was applying for positions and as you know I am an FNP. I wanted more than anything to be an internal medicine nurse practitioner (with an HIV specialty) at the local free clinic or at a homeless health care clinic doing outreach work. (I chose family as a specialty because I have a plan to do Doctors Without Borders or Peace Corps when my kids are all grown up). A good foundation would be a position in Internal Medicine or Family Practice. To work in primary care most of the units want 2 years of nursing experience.
You see, I have only been a nurse since 2006. And I only practiced for a year and change. I basically had no nursing experience so to speak. But, I worked in sales for many years...I can sell ice to an Eskimo ;) I was offered a position in 2 units: A neurological specialty and internal medicine. There was just one catch: They wanted me to work five days a week, 8+ hours a day with an occasional Saturday and they couldn't promise me a schedule that was not more than 40 hours weekly. I quickly calculated that I would have to not only meet the learning curve, but I would have to manage the demands of a strenuous schedule, mother my children, manage my household and also work on finishing my doctorate. I could have managed it but, I would be so overwhelmed!
As I was calling to plan my interview for the internal medicine position, I happened to ask the recruiter if there might not be a position in Infectious Disease. She said that she just had a position come across her desk for a nurse practitioner in, you guessed it: Infectious Disease. 32 hours a week, working with STD's, the staff willing to teach a new nurse practitioner the ropes. As a matter of fact, she gave me the phone number of the collaborating physician and encouraged me to call immediately. The MD and I talked on the phone for like an hour! While I was on the phone, she scheduled my interview and a tour of the unit for one week later. When I arrived at the unit, I learned that half of the staff were people I worked with when I was a clinical instructor (I'll have to tell you that story one day as a throwback). Luckily, I had a really good relationship with the staff in clinic and they were excited to find that I was interviewing for the clinician job. A week or so later, I was offered the job!
I know that this position is a narrow application of my skills and my goals as a clinician are so much more loftier than where I am starting out. For now, I believe that this is where I am meant to be! This position is in my area of interest and my new superiors encourage my academic pursuits...They love it that I am working on my doctorate! It is only the beginning :)