How I Realized Becoming a Nurse Practitioner Was Right for Me

Do you remember when you decided to become a nurse practitioner?  Or, maybe you are still in the process of deciding where your career path will lead?  When making important decisions like where your career will take you it can be helpful to hear from others in your situation.  That’s why ThriveAP has brought Ashley Prince on board, an undergraduate student with her sights set on becoming an NP.  Here’s what she has to say about her journey.

Hello everyone!  I’m Ashley, a new intern blogger for ThriveAP.  I’m excited to start writing and sharing my journey to becoming a nurse practitioner.

I began college at The Ohio State University as a biochemistry major with a medical school-or-bust attitude.  Towards the end of my second year, though, I had a “quarter life crisis”, if you will.  School that year was extremely rough with incessantly demanding classes, volunteering, the organizations I was involved in, and training for a race.  By finals week, I was bunt out, stressed out, concussed (literally I got a concussion shortly before finals!) and realized that if I wanted to be a doctor, the amount of stress I was under now wouldn’t be anywhere near what I would experience in medical school and residency.  And even after that, when I finish school and start practicing independently around age 30, it might not end.  During shadowing, I saw a lot of doctors sacrifice family time at home and work long, crazy hours to develop their careers.  Personally, I wasn’t willing to make that sacrifice.

So, towards the end of my sophomore year of college, and around the time that I turned 20, I had my quarter life crisis: I no longer wanted the career I thought I wanted, and I had a “well now what” feeling welling up in my gut.  I had always thought I was one of those people who wouldn’t fall off the pre-med track and persevere through medical school and residency.  I probably could get through it all too, if I really wanted.  The problem was, I didn’t want to.

Fortunately, I had come up with a backup plan, just in case this would happen.  I had shadowed a rheumatology nurse practitioner during a previous summer internship, and loved it.  I had seen a lot of jobs in the medical field outside the physician’s world, and the NP was the only other position that I could really see myself thriving in.  She was able to see her own patients, diagnose them, prescribe, order tests, and manage chronic conditions- essentially all the things I wanted to do.  Instead of spending 90% of the appointment typing away on a chart, she actually made eye contact with her patients, talked to them, and got to know how things were holding up for them outside of the exam room.  With this in mind, I started researching how to become a nurse practitioner.  My advisor told me about the Graduate Entry/ Bridge program at OSU, where I could finish my bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and then get a Master’s in Nursing with a nurse practitioner specialty.  I was absolutely elated to find this program, and start to develop a plan on how to get there.

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A lot of my research came from ThriveAP, some from program information sessions, and even more from general searches into other schools with this kind of program.  There are other pathways I can take to accomplish my NP goal, and in future posts I’ll be talking the pros and cons of each and where I think I’m headed.  I don’t expect the graduate education to be easy, but I know in the end it will be worth it.  It’s been about a year since my quarter life crisis, and things are going well.  I’m so much happier about entering nursing than I ever was about an M.D., and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me next!

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