The first barrier experienced and typical for most nurses wanting to advance their degree was life. The demands of working, marriage, home ownership, raising children, caring for parents, and other social obligations definitely impacted my decision to delay my original five-year academic progression plan. Another and more significant barrier was it became geographically impossible for me to commute to school once my husband and I decided to move back to our hometown, Ellensburg, in Central Washington in 1993. This move put me at least one hundred miles from any universities that offered advanced nursing degrees, and it was the nineties so online and distance learning wasn’t a viable option either.
Since returning to graduate school didn’t occur according to my original timeline, I looked for other professional opportunities to satisfy my desire to become a nurse educator and leader. I volun...
... middle of paper ...
...anced nursing practice and motivates me to continually find ways to make a difference in the populations I serve. Thanks to the support of my family, friends, faculty, and employer, I was able to continue with my professional and academic development, twenty-eight years in the making, despite the demands of life and the challenges of being a rural nurse.
In closing, I encourage those of you who are either in school or planning to attend, whether online or on campus, to participate in your commencement ceremony alongside your cohort. Go all out, this is a big deal! Your personal sacrifice to progress academically at all levels impacts quality and patient safety, and the current and future state of nursing in a positive way; definitely, an achievement worthy of a grand celebration not only for you but your entourage of supporters. Best wishes in your APIN journey!
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