What I did not expect was the other wonderful benefits of enhancing my education!
First was the personal growth. I learned how to learn again. I was like a sponge absorbing a wonderful new body of knowledge. After having five children in less than six years, which took up most of my time, I was ready for a new challenge. Each course helped me grow more confident in my abilities. By the time I graduated I had a huge new dose of self-esteem.
Second was the professional growth. To this day I still use the networking skills I learned in graduate school. I made the connection between political action and nursing at the bedside. I became much more active in our professional organizations. I learned to stand up for nursing and help others understand the contribution we make to society. I learned to integrate the “essence” of nursing into the public image of nursing. These are just a few of the ways I grew professionally.
Finally, I grew clinically. Back in the ’70’s, Marquette required that all graduates have a master’s degree in nursing. Then you could choose a functional area. What a complete difference in my practice. All the clinical classes brought a whole new level of understanding of pathophysiology. The courses in nursing diagnosis and theory gave me a deeper basis for my philosophy and practice. Margarett Schleintz’s course in Human Behavior and Nursing Intervention brought the body, mind and spirit connection to a whole new level. This learning made my practice so much more satisfying. It also helped me tremendously as a director of nursing. I was able to help create an environment in which nurses could practice as professionals because I understood the “essence.”
I made the right decision! Going back to school was not easy, but nothing that is worthwhile ever is!
Kaye Lillesand, RN, MSN