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Honored Advisor

Is "why" important?

This question has been giving me some headaches lately..."Why?" 

For some reason, it seems that the academic skills class I am taking on campus at a different college this summer is fixated, at least so far, on why we want to enter health professions. 

I get a sense that this is a matter for a lot of my fellow students of having had a very sick family member, and their attachment to the people who helped in that situation.  While I underestnad that emotional draw, it is not necessarily the best indicator of a well thought-out choice to me.  For my instructor, it was a little girl who played nurse, teenager volunteering in the hospital and then getting to realize her "dream" to become a nurse in the armed forces. 

From what I understand in talking with one of my nurse-mentor friends, most of the younger nurses he sees have a strong financial incentive/orientation for entering the profession...they see it as a secure paycheck.  He says that compassion seems lacking in many of these...and I think I am mroe oriented towards compassionate care than I would have been 20 or 30 years ago. 

I've had to answer this question once on our course discussion board, and it's cropped up again as a major portion of the first paper, which is due in a couple of weeks.  I am asking myself this morning why "Why?" has to be answered again and again. 

Motivation is a very private and complex  thing to me in so many ways...I remember answering this in the winter, when soilbabe asked me why I'd do nursing school at my age, and maybe I need to go back and print that discussion out for reference.  I don't have a sick family member to point to as a reason, but I do want to be ready when the situation does develop...since it is inevitable.  I do want a career path that has so many options in it, compared to teaching, and that offers a decent return for my time,, but money is not my primary objective.  Maybe my reason is complex, and maybe it is so simple in the final analysis, I have trouble verbalizing it. 

The other part that gets me in this class is the repeated question of where I "see myself" in 5, 10, or 20 years.  Maybe this is meant mostly for younger students, but I have to answer this one, too.  My dead honest reply is that I have no idea where I will be in the future...because my past has taught me that while plans are one thing, life can be a totally different "other" reality. 

I know that most people end up working in something other than what they thought they would. or even what they majored in in college.  I decided to turn these questions to my favorite friendly advisors this morning.  I know a lot of us are in farming because we married farmers, or grew up farming with our families, or both.  Many of you have additional job responsibilities outside the farm.  Did you give a lot of thougth to why you chose that line of work, or did it just sort of happen? 

Can you say easily "why" you are doing what you do? 

Do you have plans that stretch out many years in advance, or have you learned, as I have,  to point yourself in a general direction and then see where life takes you? 

TIA for any insights...I think all this repetitious introspection is just a little too much.  I am very interested in what I am learning, and enjoy helping people.  I see myself in two years being a young nurse in an old body, with a lifetime of experience to give me some perspective on things.  That does not sound like such a bad thing to me, do you think?   

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11 Replies
Veteran Contributor

Re: Is "why" important?

Something  that I was told a long time ago:  There is never an adequate answer to the question "WHY".

 

My life was certainly not "planned". I laugh at people that think they have that much control.  Or young parents that think they have their children "scheduled". Yea right.  Life happens, or words to that effect............ Smiley Happy    I never planned to farm, or even live in the country, it all happend when I started a teaching job in a small rural town and you marry a local farmer.  Who ever thought I'd do THAT? I was a city girl.  The day I learned to drive a tractor was the first day I had ever even stood next to a tractor, I'd never seen one up that close! I never planned to be widowed, I never planned to start my own business, necessity changes everything.  I have never been that goal oriented that I wasn't flexible when things changed, and I'd simply go off in an alternate direction.  I never planned to be born into the family I was born into and that alone forms so much of your life and thoughts and direction. So, the why of where I am in life right now, seems to boil down to more of "the journey" rather than the plan part of living. The important part is, I'm happy, I'm not wishing I was at some other point living another persons life.  So, asking you "why" are you going into nursing, is sort of pointless to me. Because the why of it will change as time goes on anyway because we are always evolving ourselves.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Is "why" important?

Honestly, Rusty, Mike was NOT going to farm when we got married, and only decided to when his father became diasbled with a heart problem, two years into our marriage.  I had almost forgotten that part...we got into buying this place by a very circuitous route, too.  Now that I think back on it, we weren't going to have any children, either.  He was a railroad man, and I was going to be a schoolteacher, thinking I'd eventually probably be a principal. 

Your reply is almost precisely what I find myself thinking when I sit and try to type out an answer to these redundant inquiry...I cannot force myself to make up some passionate response that I feel would be disingenuous.  This decision feels right to me in a way that is hard to explain, so I am getting sort of tired of having to repeatedly explain it. 

Is it okay at fifty-five to say, "I want to do it to see if I can?  Does my brain still work well enough?  So that I will be able to care for my husband and myself as we age, to know when someone is rendering proper care, and when they are phoning it in?" 

I found myself feeling like a stranger in a foreign land when LG took sick last fall, and that was when I was listening to a team of vets talk about a dog...what if that had been a team of physicians talking about Mike?  I realized then how precious littlle I knew about anyone or anything being sick..even though I had been elected to step in and learn certain skills to take care of some of Mike's elderly relatives a couple of  times.  Then, they were OLD people; now we are approaching that phase of life.   

Getting away to study medicine then, with my children so small and dependent, was not an option.  Now it is on my beaten path, and in this computer era, literally right in my lap(top).  I finally have the time and the inclination...the stars have aligned, and I am feeling the gravitational pull to this profession.  Isn't that enough? 

As for where I will be in the future, your reply is right on point, too.  I want to just type,"Who the hell knows?" 

I will be wherever I am then,  doing whatever I need to do to provide, survive, and hopefully succeed.  The details, I have found, supply themselves.  This is the perspective I mention...that when you turn and look back on enough of a lifeitme, you realize how little your will was exercised all along.  We are way past Plan B by now, far further down the alphabet, right?

Thanks for the insights.  You reaffirm my inclinations and give me new inspiration.  It is really all about control, isn't it?  I gave up on thinking I was the pilot of this plane a looonnnngggg time ago...am just holding onto my seat for now. 

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Is "why" important?

Kay, I too went back to school a few years ago. I picked up certification in special education. I could see in the near future the school would deem "home economics" as not important and cut the program. I love doing what I am doing and this year the board/administration has done just that. I will be teaching special ed next year. Not exactly my first choice, but not my last choice either.

 

I have often said ";Best laid plans go awry". I too see life as a journey not as a destination. There are so many things that get in the way of plans that need to be addressed. People who are totally goal oriented with a set plan for the rest of their lives have a hard time stepping back and punting. Those of us who are older, have learned to do this by necessity.

 

My plans at 18 have not come to fruition. I have accomplished some of the things I had planned, but others I have not. do I feel bad for not doing those, Not really. I am where I am by choices I made and unforseen things that happened. If you were 18 ;and just starting out it might be a little different. The medical advances that have developed in the last decade is enough to want to learn more about medicine. My mother was a nurse, and when she retired she was falling behind in the technology area, but noone could beat her on patient care. She did her training 11 1/2 months a year for 3 years. Lots of time with patients learning patient care.

 

As for "why" what is wrong with because I wanted too, or because I wanted to learn more about medicine. I have been learning things my whole life and this is a field that I know I can do well and with compassion and passion and I didn't know much about this field.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Is "why" important?

I can see where you are coming from.This class sounds like it should be required for students coming out of high school instead of including people, like you, with a lot of life experience. I'm surprised you weren't able to get the class waived. You can always answer the question with questioning why you even need the class when your life is the result of similar classwork.Smiley WinkThat would be a typical college student's answer. Smiley Very Happy

My life is full of twists and turns, just like almost everyone's. I've learned that it is better to be flexible than rigid, but know my boundaries of standing ground too. It is a balancing act of retaining your being or allowing it to be manipulated by someone else.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Is "why" important?

I love a challenge. 

 

But, serviously Smiley Wink I would go back to the response you gave me months ago, then look through some of your posts recently including this thread and you will see a common thread....you have plenty of grist to mill.  I saw a lot in your posts that could make a great essay....I am guessing that there is no right or wrong.....

 

Be a sport and give them what they are looking for....they know that the profession is physically demanding, mentally draining (after all, you will deal with death and life and sick children and sad lonely people who are scared) and you may even find that it will be spiritually rewarding....

 

Sometimes when they keep pushing you on the question "Why?" it begins to feel like you are having to justify yourself rather than just being respected as an adult that can make a decision.

 

 

 

 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Is "why" important?

Tried to get back to the old site on BBerry today, while away fform home, and couldn't find the Yellow Brick Road. 

I have to say, though, you last paragraph pretty much sums up how I am feeling about this.  I am grown, I have made a decision, and I am tired of justifying it to the same teacher twice in one week, I suppose. 

For forty years now, Mike has said on a pretty much daily basis, "Honey, you don't have to justify yourself to me, just DO it!" 

I know this comes from having to fairly well beg for acceptance of anything I wanted to do as a kid growing up...you couldn't do anything in our house without a good-enough reason.  I can hear my mother now, talking about what everyone "accomplished" today.  Life was one big chore, not a process, but a product. 

Even sports were not games in our community.  Hard to explain that if you haven't lived that way, and no need to explain it if you have. 

 

I just want to do something because it is something I WANT to do now. That is why I learned stained glass crafting, just to create things I love to look at.  It's why I wanted to earn my black belt in TKD, just because I wanted to feel powerful instead of powerless. 

Both ended up having practical effects, such as covering windows that needed privacy screening, or lowering my blood pressure, but that is not WHY I did either one.  Why was "because it is something I want to do"...not for producing some definite product, but to enjoy the process - in my life.   

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Honored Advisor

Re: Is "why" important?

Thanks for the insights...your position on having a second hand of cards to deal professionally is part of  this thing, too.  Somewhere, I gathered that a one-trick pony is not going to win many shows.  having many talents or different sets of skills is not a bad thing, do you think? 

Read my reply to soilbabe below on the "because I want to" position.

 

I have just set aside the practice quiz for my A&P II class, which the instructor finally made an attempt to help me with accessing on Monday...long story there, and I am too tired to tell it tonight.  I was peeved for sure with sitting and waiting for an e-mail reply from him for four days.  Let's just say his boss was able to get him to answer PDQ....

I hit a 95% on the first practice, and will study for two more days before taking the real quiz.  Evidently, I do have some talent for this...and it is rewarding to simply learn something new. 

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Frequent Contributor

a tad off subject but

my wife is an RN and I feel certain that about 5 percent of nursing is learned in Nursing School and the other 95 percent is learned on the floor.  There is such a thing..... as the old saying goes...  "knowing just enough to be dangerous"

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Honored Advisor

Re: a tad off subject but

Probably a fairly accurate observation, as it seems is in most professions.  I know it applied to teaching/ed school, and there is hardly an ag school that completely prepares us for farming, is there?

That said, the price of obtaining entry to the opportunity for completing the 95% that is experience is first completing the 5% that is the schooling.  At least with nursing, a lot of the program is hands-on, clinical work, and not just abstract book/lecture/test learning.  This was another factor in my decision-making process, since as I age, I realize that I learn better by doing than just by reading and listening now.   

I know I am coming to this part of the process late in life, but I am where I am.  I know that I will be a 56-year-old student nurse, rather than a registered nurse the same age, with 30 years or more of professional chops.  I trust those who are training me not to turn me loose until they are sure I am ready, and I comprehend fully the rationale behind only doing what one is quailifed and legally-licensed to do.   

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