1. Section Editor(s): Palatnik, AnneMarie MSN, APN, ACNS-BC

Article Content

I'm sure many of you have seen the back-to-school TV commercial with the dad happily running around the office supply store singing, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," and the children standing there dreading every bit of the experience. I think they've been using the same commercial since 1996, but it still makes me laugh every time I see it.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

This year, that commercial has special meaning because I'm going back to school for my doctorate in nursing practice. While I truly consider myself to be a lifelong learner, it's been more than 20 years since I completed my master's degree. I feel like both the dad and the children in the commercial. I'm so excited to be embarking on this journey, but I'm anxious, actually more fearful, of all of the changes in the delivery of education since I completed my master's degree. Let's face it, the last time I was in school there was no world wide web and I was still typing my papers on a typewriter.1


Professionally, I feel that this is what I need to do to have the biggest impact on positive patient outcomes at this point in my career. My journey aligns with recommendations 5 and 6 in the Institute of Medicine's Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report: double the number of nurses with a doctorate degree by 2020 and ensure that nurses engage in lifelong learning.2 I don't just want to talk about the future of nursing, I want to be the future of nursing. I've coerced about 15 colleagues into taking this journey with me and we formed our own cohort. Some might say misery loves company, but I think that I've been very strategic in planning my own support system.


Personally, the timing couldn't be better. Last year we, I mean my husband, earned a doctorate degree in educational leadership. I say we because this was a 7-year journey that our entire family took. This had such an impact on all of us, that I swore I'd never put our children through another doctorate degree. But timing is everything. We're sending our youngest child off to college. That means there'll be no more coaching her softball team, no more music boosters, no more PTA, no more attending musicals or concerts, and no more driving her to piano and guitar lessons. Her activities were definitely like having a part-time job. While I'll miss terribly our mother-daughter time together, I think that I've found a very productive distraction to fill those many hours.


I'm telling you this because if I can do it after all of these years, then so can you. I've always told my children, believe in yourself and go after your dreams until they become your reality. You can go back to school and complete that next degree.


Until the next time, be healthy, be happy, be great advocates for your patients, and get back to school!


AnneMarie Palatnik, MSN, APN, ACNS-BC

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.



1. A Little History of the World Wide Web. [Context Link]


2. The Institute of Medicine. Initiative on the Future of Nursing. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. [Context Link]