Salimah Jones APRN, FNP-C
I remember the day I told my husband I wanted to go back to school for nursing. He was not thrilled about the idea and convincing him otherwise was not an easy task. The truth is neither of us had any idea what we were getting ourselves into and how our lives would drastically change. He was concerned about the entire process while I was more interested in how it could improve our future.
I admit that I rarely say this, but my husband was correct. The process of going through nursing school was one of the most difficult seasons we ever faced in our relationship. Much so to the point where I thought we surely wouldn’t make it. There was so much anger, sadness, fear, guilt, regret, and uncertainty during that time. Neither of us felt that our needs were being met and it was scary to see the resentment we had developed towards one another.
Fortunately, we were blessed to weather the storm and today our marriage is much stronger. I discovered about halfway through the program that a lot of things needed to change, and once I implemented some key strategies, our marriage drastically improved. I successfully earned my nursing degree and my husband was my biggest cheerleader. Looking back I know that there is no way I could have made it without him. Unfortunately several of my classmates were not so lucky. Many of them went through relationship struggles and several who started the program married were divorced before they even graduated.
If you are wondering if it was all worth it, I’d absolutely say yes it was! My husband was right to be skeptical about the process, but I was also correct in that my nursing career has significantly improved our lives. From job security, to financial security, to the ability to help family and friends in need, I could not imagine doing anything else. The benefits of my nursing career have far outweighed the struggles it took to get to where I am today.
Things would have been much easier for us back then if we were more prepared. We had no clue what to expect, and no game plan to keep our lives in order. Here is a list of 3 nursing school mistakes that almost ruined my marriage, and the strategies I used to turn things around.
#1 Having Unrealistic Expectations
I wanted to work, and go to school, and have a perfect house, and have perfect kids, and be a great mom, and have a happy husband, and have a fun life, and have time to myself, and have time with my family, and look awesome, and feel awesome, and the list goes on and on. The problem was that there was not enough time in the day to do all these things and do them well. It was impossible to achieve the level of perfection I was expecting. Once I accepted the fact that life was going to be hectic until I graduated, things became much less frustrating. Suddenly I had more compassion about all the ways my husband was supporting me rather than worrying about things having to always be perfect.
#2 Being Too Naive About Sacrifices
When my husband expressed his initial concerns about nursing school and how it would affect our family, I should have taken them seriously. Blowing everything off like it was no big deal only made things worse, especially when his concerns turned out to be true. I finally began to acknowledge the challenges that we would inevitably face as a result of me having to devote so much of my time to studying and taking courses. Once we both sat down and had the discussion about what it would take for me to continue in the program, our burdens were suddenly lifted. We both knew what to expect from one another and this made a world of a difference.
#3 Not Having a Family Schedule
When you have so many things going on your life, having a family schedule is essential. It may seem silly to think about scheduling time for your family and/or your significant other, but the truth is if you don’t schedule it, it likely won’t happen. This is the mistake I made initially and it led to many of our relationship struggles early on. Once I began setting aside a simple 1-2 hours of scheduled time during the week to devote to my family, things drastically improved for us. This took away the pressure and guilt I was feeling and my family began to realize that they were still priorities in my life.
Parents and spouses who are considering enrolling in nursing school or any other difficult academic program, should take the time to avoid these common mistakes. You must realize that pursing your career goals takes a lot of sacrifice, and that a family effort is key. Being well prepared will help you maintain the stamina necessary to persevere through all the hard times. In the end, reaching your goal is so much more rewarding when you can share the success with those you love the most.
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About the Author
Hi. I’m Salimah Jones, Family Nurse Practitioner, author, and expert nursing career consultant. As the founder of The Nursing Guide I help aspiring and current nurses achieve success in their nursing careers. I have been in the healthcare field for over 10 years and have extensive experience in nursing education, leadership, and management. I had to overcome tremendous obstacles in my life to get to where I am now. I would love help you on your nursing journey. CLICK HERE to join The Nursing Guide Facebook Group and to connect we me and the other community members.