What is a Nurse Practitioner?

April, 1993

For some reason, I have been sick often this past winter with four colds, gastrointestinal virus, and bronchitis. I was only able to go skiing once in Vermont even though we had tons of snow. Things are going fairly well as a visiting nurse, although I have been assigned to three different districts, and had my office desk relocated five times in eight months. Finally, I’m the solo nurse in a beautiful rural area. I had to switch supervisors, which has been difficult because the two I have now complain constantly, but I’m trying to adjust.

I decided to take a music theory course at the local community college with three others from the church choir. I had fun writing four part harmony to a favorite poem called God of the Heights by Amy Carmichael, missionary to India, 1867-1951. Amy was an amazing single lady who the Lord used to rescue child prostitutes from the Hindu temples and start an orphanage for the rescued children. Even though she was disabled the last 20 years of her life, she wrote many books from her sick bed while in almost constant pain.

God of the heights, austere, inspiring, Thy Word hath come to me. Oh, let no selfish aims conspiring, Distract my soul from Thee. Loosen me from things of time; Strengthen me for steadfast climb.

The temporal would bind my spirit, Father be Thou my stay. Show me what flesh cannot inherit, Stored for another day, Be transparent things of time, Looking through you I would climb.

Now by Thy grace my spirit chooseth, Treasure that shall abide, The great Unseen I know endureth, My footsteps shall not slide, Not for me the things of time, God of mountains, I will climb!

May, 1994

During my annual evaluation with the director of the visiting nurses, she asked what career goal I had for the next year? I replied that I was considering getting a Master’s degree, but wasn’t sure what I should I get it in. I asked if she had any suggestions? She said, “I think you would make a wonderful Nurse Practitioner (NP).”  I never heard of a Nurse Practitioner, so I asked her to describe the role to me. She said a NP receives advanced training through a Master’s degree program and is taught how to diagnose and treat common conditions, much like a Family Practice physician does. NPs can also specialize in pediatrics, adults, geriatrics, critical care, psychiatry, gynecology, etc. She told me of several excellent NP programs in my state to investigate.

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

July, 1994

After much prayer, I have decided to go to graduate school for my Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) as an Adult Nurse Practitioner if I get accepted. I have spoken with several NPs who are currently employed and it sounds like a great career! My salary would also increase, so hopefully I won’t need to work two jobs to make ends meet. Many of them have private practices or work in MD offices. I can’t believe how motivated I feel about it!

I applied to the State University last week and received permission to take a 3 hour evening class in Nursing Issues this fall. I won’t learn if I am accepted into the program until April, 1995, but they will allow me to take 6 hours of credits prior to matriculating. The Visiting Nurse Association where I currently work will reimburse me the tuition up to two classes a semester as long as I get an A or B grade in the course. It will probably take me 4-5 years doing it this way part time while working full time during the day, so I’m trusting the Lord to give me strength.

For my spring semester course, I might be able to go to the Dominican Republic for two weeks in January and study trans-cultural nursing. The only holdup is that I am short three days of vacation time between Christmas and New Year’s. It is so good to leave it with the Lord and see if He opens the door or not.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Reflection

And so I began to work on my MSN at the age of 39 after being out of school for 19 years! I was thankful there were others in my class who were older than me along with a few younger ones. It was a long hard pull over the next four years, and I nearly dropped out which I will tell more about in future posts. I am thankful I became a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) rather than an Adult NP as I originally planned. I was much more marketable as a FNP than ANP when I graduated since I could provide care for all ages of people from birth to death. I worked as a NP for the next 15 years. I recouped the cost of my graduate school education the first year out with my doubled salary, so it was a good decision financially also.

Here is an interesting time line about how Nurse Practitioners began in 1965. https://www.aanp.org/about-aanp/historical-timeline The reason I had never heard of NPs was that the physicians in the midwestern state where I received my BSN blocked NP programs  for many years, because they did not want them taking away physician jobs from them. Since then, most physicians specialize  and so they welcome NPs, expecially in the Family Practice role.

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