nurse graduateHey you,

Congratulations on finishing your BSN! I completely know the excitement and pride you feel at this moment. It makes me smile when I think about it—about you—your hope to be a great nurse, your desire to work in women’s health, your pressing toward graduate school. It’s all so exciting. And that’s amazing.

As you go and pursue your dreams, here are some things I wish you won’t forget on your journey:

Stay encouraged. You are, indeed, embarking on an incredible journey. To be transparent, it’s going to be more than you ever imagined, but it’s also going to get bad – really bad – before it gets good. It may sound difficult to believe, but you’ll actually want to quit nursing, and you’ll think about it quite seriously. How? Why?

Unfortunately, you have to live it and learn it for yourself. As painful as it may be, it will shape you for the better, and you will know when it happens. You will feel the paradigm shift. Remember when you thought saying “never” would come back to bite you? It does. Go with the flow. Parts and areas of nursing work you thought you’d never do? Well, they actually become your passions in many ways.

Stay focused. The thoughts of graduate school that are rolling in your head now…keep feeding them. Again—difficult times but incredible results. You’ll wonder how you’ll ever make it amidst everything else that life brings. But you’ll make it. And then some. Remember what’s important. Always.

Stay open. Remember why you went into nursing.

That reason will keep you going long after everything else fades. What you think is permanent is just a flash, a temporary moment. Always be open to new experiences, new friends, new lessons, new opportunities. You’re going to do things and experience moments that, if I told you now, you really wouldn’t believe. It’s quite amazing, and you’ll have to experience it yourself to understand and fully appreciate it. Just wait!

Stay you. Above all, “to thine own self be true.” Some around you will want to make you conform to the cookie-cutter expectations. Some will help you break the mold and continue to help you find and enhance who you really are. Let go of the conformist-generators and hold fast to the enhancers. Some people will naturally leave you. Others, you will have to cut out and really work to stay away from. It’s worth every painful moment. I promise.

That pin, that piece of paper, those credentials—congratulations on everything they represent. You’ve earned it. Enjoy it. Now, go pack for your move to a new city, a new home, and a new job. And try to squeeze in some NCLEX studying as well as some rest. Yes, take a nap every single day. Considering you have yet to meet the amazing people God gives you, sleep as much as you can. One day you will wonder what you did with all your free time.

I am so proud of you. Take care of yourself.

With Much Anticipation,


Joni Watson, MBA, MSN, RN, OCN, creator of