In mid May 2018, I received my offer letter for admission to the Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA) at Walden University. Yes, I am back at it again, and as scary as it may seem, I am just too excited to even think about the scary part. Sure, I have some anxiety over the requirements, courses I have to take, expectations I have to meet, and the planning of my life for the next three years. But time will pass whether I do this or not, so I might as well make it productive and toss achieving a doctorate degree in it.
The most common comment I have received is “you’re crazy.” I am thankful to those who have said it because they recognize the intensity of and commitment to the work involved. However, I am not crazy. There is an intention for this decision and a purpose to this action. It is to display my commitment the healthcare profession; to be in informed contributor; and to guide with a scholar integrity. It comes with a price: higher student loan and less time for everything else in life while I’m in school. It is a one-time work with a lifetime gain. No one can take it away once I have achieved it, and what I’ll do with it is a decision no one can dictate to me.
Now what is it like in the first week of a doctorate program? Walden University has provided enough orientation to get learners off to a good start. It is helpful to know the resources available–and there’s overwhelmingly a lot of them which is a good thing–and to become familiar with Walden’s online learning environment. I am thankful for the experience I had with Capella University because it is big contributor to me feeling comfortable with online learning. Similarly, I gain access to my schoolwork for the next 11 weeks: discussion posts expectations and writing assignments. Now, it is up to me to make a plan and follow through.
So in addition to being a wife, a mother to 2 children and five pets (2 grown dogs and 3 puppies), working full-time as a nurse educator, and building and launching my business in healthcare educational consulting, here is my action plan: plan the next 11 weeks like I was planning a wedding and have a round-table discussion about it with my husband and kids (couldn’t really get the dogs and puppies involved in this one).
- Plot every major event/responsibility on my Google calendar: work hours, business hours, study hours, and workout hours. House chores and time with everyone in the household goes in between all those hours. Yes, I have to skip many (not all) social events with friends and family.
- Every single task and due date jotted, so it allows me to see from a month view what’s due or happening when.
- It is best practice to breakdown the work involved and carve out a time to do it. I have to make appointments with myself to complete portions of the work, particularly related to school and business work.
- Reward myself for every meaningful accomplishment, i.e. be lazy one day because I am ahead with my work.
- Stick to what’s on the calendar: at this point, what I have put on the calendar is what dictates what I have to do and where I need to be.
A final thought that I have told myself: time will pass and I have chosen to let it pass with an accomplishment to gain at the end. What other people have to say is not what’s going to make it happen. What I have put on my calendar is!
It is a pivoting aspect!