Why do I have to justify my choices?

I am studying to be a Registered Practical Nurse. It’s a two-year college program, and so far, I’ve been doing really well. I’ve managed to make honours for the first three semesters and I hope to do the same for the fourth. My ultimate goal is to graduate with distinction. That being said, this is not an easy program. The workload is tough and the standards can be quite brutal at times; being registered with the College of Nurses of Ontario is a real achievement, and my school wants their graduates to succeed. So what is my problem? I’m tired of seeing my classmates treat the idea of being an RPN as somehow less appealing than being an RN. According to the RPNAO website,

“RPNs work anywhere that health care is provided‚ in hospitals, homes for the aged, nursing homes, retirement homes, public health units, community nursing agencies, clinics, private practice, industry, schools, child care centres, and children’s camps. Many RPNs complete post-graduate education for critical care skills used in the operating rooms, dialysis, emergency and intensive care. RPN practice can be autonomous and RPNs are valued members of the health care team.”

There are certain aspects of care that are beyond the scope of practice of an RPN, but in today’s health care system, RPNs are being utilized in more and more areas. And yet, many of my classmates speak of our program as merely a stepping-stone to an RN university-bridging program. Because of my academic achievement, I am constantly being asked about what university I plan on going to or what bridging program I have applied for. And I get funny looks when I say none. I then feel like I need to justify my choice to ‘settle’ as an RPN. I am proud to be in my program and I will be absolutely thrilled once I get my PN licence. I appreciate the work of both types of nurses, but I am happy where I am. What is wrong with that?

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