Birth Professionals

Reflections on the decision to go back to school

Fall semester started this week.  I am starting ANOTHER year of nursing school.  I am trying to remember back to when I began this journy in January 2008. Would I have started nursing school if I knew I would be a student in 2016? I can’t tell you its been easy to have minimal income this long, but for me nursing school wasn’t about getting a job, it was about fulfilling a mission — to improve the safety of pregnancy and birth. I would probably have signed up for nursing school anyway.

In this final year of my schooling I look at the extent of my skills and the focus of my work and I am in awe of the things that can be accomplished with hard work and good luck. I am wraping up a meta-analysis on waterbirth which includes a systematic review of the policies surrounding waterbirth.  I am primary investigator in a mixed-methods study to assess the value of certain exclusions in waterbirth policies to help midwives and hosptials set evidence based standards for practice.  I am training the next generation of nurses. AND the big news…I am a funded researcher for my dissertation project examinng the associations between hosptial resources and maternal mortality.

So this is my reflection today — in 2008 I had a goal.  When I reflected on the goal I saw obstacles, sacrifices, and challenges.  I’m not superhuman, and charging in didn’t make all the obstacles and challenges go away.  But taking “small bites” allowed me to focus on the places where I have control and be prepared to take advantage of opportunitites. Being willing to be present allowed me to build a network that introduced the opportunitites I needed. Being willing to learn allowed me to build a strong set of skills. Not dwelling on the things that didn’t work (mine’s not a cinerella story, everything doesn’t work perfect in the end) allowed me to stay alert for new paths to follow toward the goal.

What are you going to do today to take a “small bite” out of the challenges that stand between you and your goal?

Jennifer Vanderlaan (Author)