Roots + Wings: Post-grad

Empathy, compassion, curiosity, and a desire to grow in my quest to find new answers for medical treatment and diagnostic questions I didn’t even know existed: these are what fuel me. That, and a passion for the tiny humans, of course (as my badge reel says). ••• For the next year, I won’t be wearing a red scrub top like my peers in the IUH Ball ED or navy blue as in the St. V Peyton Manning NICU, nor will I be wearing a badge with the coveted red “RN” tag hanging below my name and photo. Instead, I have the distinct privilege of taking what I’ve learned in my nursing school clinical experiences and lectures, as well as the knowledge I’ve gained in the emergency department as a patient care assistant & in the neonatal intensive care unit as a researcher, to the other side of the world. Over the course of the next 12 months, I will be quite literally making my own version of what it means to be a registered nurse committed to the advancement of her profession.

While I have been wrestling with how exactly this life transition is going to happen and whether or not I would pass my boards [the NCLEX-RN exam]— and yes, I did!— I’ve realized in the short span of a month since graduation that perhaps I’m not supposed to follow my “safe” or “automatic” next life step. While working three 12-hour night shifts per week assuming primary nursing care of critically ill newborns in the largest level IV NICU in the state still sounds like a challenging but oh-so-rewarding dream, I know that I need to fill my own cup before I can pour into others. Being a part of FA research fills my cup. Don’t worry— I still plan on being the best neonatal health care provider I can be when I return to the states. This is just the beginning. Perhaps I’ll be able to take the 21 years of life I’ve grown in Muncie and spread my wings more than ever over the next single year in Melbourne, and I believe it will be exactly what I need to begin my professional career.

As I’ve felt the relief this week of passing the most important test in my life thus far, and as I’ve slowly checked off the vital Aussie-to-do list:

Official acceptance agreements [✔️]

Visa application [✔️]

Flight booked [ ]

Apartment lease signed [ ]

…I’ve been reflecting on how I got here and what dream I can dream next. One thing is for certain: my cloud nine is completely different than anyone else’s, so it’s only natural that my post-grad plans include cultural immersion in big city livin’, developing my nurse-scientist skills, and hopefully some happy feet + baby feet. It’s time to use my roots to find my wings. 85 days to the big move; I’m ready. 😌

—Hannah Lily, BSN, RN 👩🏼‍⚕️👣🌇🧬

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