On March 9, 2017, Bethany Selsor, a nurse at Life Care Center of McMinnville, Oregon, received the reward she had been working toward for 15 years – she officially became an RN.
Selsor decided she wanted to become a registered nurse 20 years ago, when she saw a TV special on abuse in nursing homes. She felt inspired to do something about the problem by becoming a nurse.
“I’ve always liked how the body works and how we can fix it,” Selsor said. “I’ve always had a soft spot for older people.”
In 2002, Selsor was living in Chicago with her husband when she had the opportunity to enroll in nursing school. She started on her pre-requisites, and when her husband transferred his job to Connecticut, she had to re-enroll at a new college. Two years later, the couple moved to Sacramento, California, where she had to enroll again.
All the moving meant Selsor had to take or retake several classes. She finally completed her pre-recs and was working toward her bachelor’s degree when the couple moved to Oregon. She was accepted into the nursing program at Chemeketa Community College in Salem (only 75 slots were available for 300 applicants) when her husband suddenly passed away.
The grief was horrible, and Selsor began having ocular migraines, which caused her pain and temporary blindness. After a year of study at Chemeketa, she went to do her skills check on the last day when she was hit by one of these episodes. She wasn’t able to finish the test.
Selsor was working as a licensed practical nurse at Life Care Center of McMinnville at the time, and her co-workers rallied around her.
“All of Life Care was very supportive of me,” Selsor said.
Selsor then tried online courses and passed all the academic requirements. Again, it was time for the skills test. She flew to Texas, but the stress of the assessment set off another ocular migraine, and she couldn’t complete the test.
“I was so determined,” said Selsor. “I was trying so hard to complete it.”
Selsor turned her attention to learning how to combat the eye migraines. She learned breathing and meditation techniques to keep the headaches from disrupting her testing.
In winter 2017, Selsor tried again and was finally able to finish – and pass – the skills test. She has since taken and passed the NCLEX exam, making her officially an RN.
“It’s surreal,” Selsor said. “I’m like, ‘Wow, for the first time in 15 years, I’m not studying.’ It’s a really good feeling to reach my goal.”
Life Care Center of McMinnville held a party for Selsor celebrating her achievement, complete with pizza, cake, balloons and a sharing of her story.