A Fresh Start: I'm Finally a Graduate Nurse

"I will move to New York after graduation, and work as a Trauma Nurse at Bellevue Hospital. I will purchase a Brownstone. (A manifestation from my journal)

I don't think that reality has set in for me that I am officially a Graduate Nurse. My time at Concordia University has finally come to an end; 4-years have come and gone so quickly. While I've taken on many job titles in my time as a young adult, my full-time occupation has always been "Student," and to know that I'm going from Student to Nurse is mind-blowing! It's truly unbelievable! For those of you who have been keeping up with me throughout this journey, whether that be sending an encouraging text message, helping with assignments, praying, or having a glass of wine with me after a stressful exam... THANK YOU! There's no way that I would have been able to make it to this point without your continuous support. While I am saddened that I will not be able to experience a pinning ceremony or walking across the stage, I still find joy in knowing that I made it!


"......It's funny how we make plans, but God always has a different path for us to take!" (@ashleyashlee)

I think that I've kept you all in the dark long enough about this next journey that I will be embarking on, so it's time to spill the beans. As many of you know, it has been my goal to move to New York City (yes the big apple) and work as a Trauma Nurse. There's nothing that I've wanted more than that. I've had so many voices in my ear regarding my decision, "You want to move there right out of school?" "How much money do you have saved up?" "I don't think they're going to help you find housing" "New York is really expensive" "Is someone going with you?" I've learned that you have to be careful who you tell your dreams to because they always think that it's crazy until it happens. Sometimes the magnitude of your dream is too big for small-minded people. So you have to just keep pushing through it. I had things all laid out, in my mind, to move to New York City. I noticed the closer it got to graduating the more difficult it was becoming to figure things out completely. Jobs wanted more years of experience, hospitals wanted specific types of nurses, the distance was too far from where I wanted to live. There were so many opportunities to start out as a travel nurse, with all of that mapped out for me, but was I going to be ready for such a high-stress situation? However, I was determined that no matter what, I would just move there and figure things out as I went along; even if that meant struggling along the way. I always had my CNA license to fall back on until I found a job...... then COVID-19 happened. It's so funny, to me, how we make "plans," but God always has a different path for us to take!


If you've been keeping up with the news, you know that New York City has been ranked as one of the worst states that have been affected by the COVID-19 virus. For me, it's one thing to work at a hospital with positive cases, but to put myself, willingly, in such a deadly situation like hospitals in New York are experiencing... yeah, I couldn't justify that, nor could I put my family through that. God gives protection and covering, but He also tells us to use commonsense. So, unfortunately, my dream of moving to New York City, after graduating, was put on hold. I was discouraged and I kept thinking to myself, "here I go, falling into the cycle of being stuck in Milwaukee;" but I swear it's funny how we make plans, but God ALWAYS has a different path for us to take. Since I would be staying in Milwaukee, my prayer was that God would place me in a position and at a facility that I would be happy at; a place where I could grow. Would that be at my current hospital?


"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way!" Psalms 37:23

If you know me, you know that I've always wanted to go into Trauma/ED nursing. I love the fast pace of things, I love blood and guts. Everything about trauma is ME! So when I got hired as a CNA and then a Nurse Extern, on a Trauma unit, I was ecstatic. I was going to stay on the unit after graduation and I would be there until God told me otherwise; but then the atmosphere changed. Being in the work field or dealing with people period, you know that not everything is always sunshine and flowers. Every place has their flaws, every person has their downfalls, and no one situation is perfect; however, I was noticing that it was becoming harder and harder to get dressed for work in the morning. I was being drained of my love for Nursing before I even had a chance to be out on my own; and when something is draining me that low and I'm losing my passion and desire to help others, then I know that it's time to move around.

"It's in your uncomfortable situations that God will reveal what it is He wants you to do; but you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable to what He's trying to do/tell you."

I was asked time after time whether or not I was going to stay at my current hospital because positions were opening and I could never give a for sure answer because God hadn't given me an answer. Especially since I had to reevaluate things being that New York was clearly out of the question at this point. Truth is, I didn't know what I was going to do. I was uncomfortable. When I started to confide in peers, I was discouraged because I would hear "You shouldn't leave here" "I don't think it would be in your best interest to go somewhere else" "You're in the best hospital there is" Literally, I stopped even engaging in conversations about post-graduation plans because I was tired of the discouraging words.


One thing that I've learned is that you don't become great at your profession because of the facility you work at, but you become great based on your desire to be great. I couldn't grow in an environment where I not only was unhappy but I was starting to become comfortable. Yeah, you get comfortable everywhere you go (if you've been there a long time), but this was different.


If I was going to grow... I had to leave my space of comfort, and that's just what I did!


"Because of her, I didn't fail!" (Ode to my grandmother)

I don't know what the future holds for me. I don't know where I will be 3 months from now, 6 months from now, or even a year from now; but I find joy in knowing that I have come this far and this isn't where God is going to leave me. I am grateful for the prayers of my family, my friends, and most importantly my grandmother, before her transition. It is because of her that I have my being and it is because of her that I was able to make it this far, despite the obstacles and the circumstances that tried to stop me. Everything I do is for her!


I don't believe that I am any less of a great nurse because I wasn't able to follow my dream right away and move to NYC. I don't think that I won't go far in life, because I chose to leave one of the top hospitals in Wisconsin. I just think that it was God's way of telling me, "Not now!" I still have an assignment here in Milwaukee, WI and when the time has come that God and I feel that it is complete I will move on to my next journey.


I’m pleased to announce that I have decided to follow in the footsteps of my grandmother, and have accepted a position at Aurora Mt. Sinai on a Med Surg/Ortho Post-Surgical unit. While I have never wanted to start out on a Med/Surg unit, I felt that this was the best decision to start my career, enhance my skills, and prepare for my dream of Travel Nursing. I have no regret with my decision of leaving my current hospital. I feel that it's not the facility that you work at that makes you a great nurse, it's about what's in your heart that does! My next obstacle is passing the NCLEX, but because I know WHO I AM and WHOSE I AM I know that I will be just fine!

June 1st starts the beginning of a life-long dream of mine..... So, there it is, I'm finally a GRADUATE NURSE! Up next.. MSN


To Bettie Jean,

May you always be with me in spirit and in my heart. I dedicate both my degree and my practice of Nursing to you!




Ashley K Watson, BSN

#BlackNursesMatter




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