Whoever said grad school was easier than undergrad was not in NP school. My program is seriously kicking me in the pants.
I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting. Of course becoming a nurse practitioner would be difficult. It makes perfect sense. I suppose it’s mostly that I wasn’t expecting at all. I worked hard to apply to grad school and really hard to earn a hefty scholarship as well, but my actual coursework was apparently far from the front of my mind.
Now I’m up to my eyes in the most difficult exams of my life with far less time for school than I ever had as an undergrad. My professors give out A’s, B’s, and F’s, which means I’m doing all I can to keep my head above water, praying that somehow I will make passing grades in all my classes.
Although it’s difficult to shake the nagging feeling that failure is within the realm of real possibility, this weekend has been a bit of a breath of fresh air for me. I’m in New Orleans at a conference put on by the National Health Service Corps (those folks who gave me the hefty scholarship), an organization committed to bringing Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, and other clinicians to areas where access to healthcare is extremely limited. The corps is made up of recent graduates of medical, dental, PA and NP schools who have committed to spending a minimum of two years serving in low-income, underserved communities in the US. Over the past forty years over 41,000 clinicians have served in the corps. Currently over 10,000 current NHSC members are providing healthcare to more than 10.5 million people in Health Professional Shortage Areas across the nation.
The weekend has been filled with stories of communities being transformed by committed, dynamic primary care practitioners who are passionate about the underserved. They serve as a powerful reminder that the work I do even now is not about me.
School is still hard and still will be hard for the next couple years. But for now I’m reminded why it’s so important to faithfully persevere. I only pray I can do as much.