‘Forgive me Father, it’s been eight weeks since my last post’.
I never intended for there to be such a hiatus.
It’s just that in January I found out my nursing qualifications have been binned. I worked long and hard for my registration so I wasn’t happy. It’s a long story but basically, my registration was controlled by NSW but recently there was a change and it was suddenly under Federal control. With the change came new rules and anyone who hasn’t worked on the wards for a period of three months in the last ten years has had their registration cancelled.
I wondered what it would take to get it back. A six-week refresher course? I remember when I was a student nurse and the hospital where I was training would advertise in the paper they were running six-week refresher courses for all those who wanted to return to the profession. The ex-nurses would undertake the six-week course at the Nurses’ Education Centre on the grounds of the hospital and be paid to do the course.
I don’t think you’ll be surprised to hear that those six-week refresher courses with wages thrown in no longer exist. They have been replaced with three-year Bachelor of Nursing Degrees – that you pay for. No credits. Not one. No shortcuts either – it’s the full three years or find another career.
So after I digested this news I decided to apply for the three-year degree. At the university where my daughter is a student! And after an interview and handing in my faded HSC results that are so old they have been manually typed, I was accepted.
When Drew came home I said, ‘I won’t be around much any more; I’m going to uni’. He said, ‘What for?’ I said, ‘So you stop asking me to come and work for you’.
‘Oh; well what are you studying?’
‘Aren’t you already a nurse?’
The most exciting thing has been getting a student card. Who knew the benefits! I’ve been flashing it about everywhere. It’s invigorating having a student card; makes you feel so much younger. And the benefits! I’ve now got a student Opal card giving me half-price public transport all over the city, 20% discount off my gym membership, and on Monday nights I can go to the local cinema for just $6.00.
If only I had time to go to the cinema!
Being late to apply, I found out I was accepted into the course at 4pm one afternoon and with it came instructions I had to be at orientation the next morning. From there it’s been a whirlwind of meeting the pre-entry requirements of up-to-date immunisations, obtaining my police record (nothing to brag about there), and completing a first aid course.
Then there were uniform fittings for clinical work, purchasing the textbooks and wondering, ‘What the hell am I doing?’
I was so excited about my student card I failed to absorb just how demanding this full-time degree was going to be. I’m doing five units. Arabella is doing a combined Arts/Law degree and she only has to do four. It’s actually quite difficult keeping five subjects under control; I get head-spins keeping track of all the academic writing assessments, speeches, powerpoint presentations, case-studies, reflection papers, pre-reading and on-line quizzes that are due.
I’m now eight weeks into an 11-week semester. I’m coping…sort of. I’ve crammed my 17-hours/week of face-to-face teaching into three days and am trying to do another 17-hours of independent study during the rest of the week.
Academically, my brain is rusty; it’s like my brain cells packed up and left home long ago. I even failed the maths exam. When the tutor walks in with the exam papers and says, ‘it’s really easy; you won’t have any trouble’, and then you go ahead and fail, you do begin to wonder if you have borderline mental retardation.
Except that maths and I have never got along. We have nothing in common. And to pass this maths exam you had to get 100%. That’s not a typo – you had to get 100% to pass. As I told the lecturer, I have never in my life achieved 100% in a maths exam; probably not even 70%.
I spent a whole Sunday studying for the ‘very easy’ maths exam. And when it was all over I actually thought there was a good chance I’d passed – delusions of grandeur. When the lecturer handed me back my paper he said, ‘You’re going to kick yourself when you see where you went wrong’. And so yes, my shins are black and blue. Because I made errors like writing down the correct answer but failing to write down the unit of measurement. And so I have to do a repeat performance. Here comes another Sunday of maths.
And so I’ve been a wee bit distracted from all things blogging but it was not intentional; I was just ignorant of how much work there was going to be in trying to do five subjects all at the same time.
Thank you to all those who have contacted me making sure I’m all right – I’m perfectly fine if you don’t mind the humiliation of failing a ‘very easy’ maths exam.
I’m looking forward to catching up with you all very soon xx