Naturally we talked about nursing; 5 nurses together of COURSE we talked about nursing. Here I was thinking I am the only diploma nurse left on the planet, yet two of my closes friends in nursing school have also not completed their BSN either. One is 30 credits shy of her degree, the other has only taken 2 courses. I am just about 1/2 way through. The other two each have masters degrees; one is a director of nursing, the other is a nurse practitioner (she went back for that after she got tired of attending meetings as a Clinical Spec.). Of the remaining two, one is still a staff nurse in the ICU, and like me did her share of being a manager. The other works in Quality.
The others were floored but excited that I want to teach, and were full of encouragement. I never thought I was very smart in nursing school, but it turns out I just never studied. Imagine that! My classmates, I discovered, thought I was brilliant cause I didn't crack the books. Turns out the actual "being a nurse" part of nursing school was easy for me, and I took to it like a duck to water; guess I was something of a nurse savant.
Regardless of our education since graduation, we all agreed that we wouldn't have traded it for all the 4 year degrees in the world. We learned the art and science of nursing by taking care of patients 24 hours per week, and preparing for at least 2 hours before every clinical the night before by reviewing labs, nurses notes, meds, care plans and meeting our patients. For us diploma dinosaurs, critical thinking is something that was developed over the years, not crammed into a four year course.
Anyway, it was great that after 30-odd years a group of friends who "grew up" with each other fit right back together without skipping a beat. Naturally, we scheduled two more get-togethers sans spouses before we said goodbye.
Renewing old friendships: priceles.