An Amazing Second Act

get-attachment-17“There’s A Sense of Fearlessness About Following Your Dreams In Your Forties.”

I love this story and hope it inspires you!

Beth Schroeder’s trajectory from banking executive, stay-at-home mom, and law firm employee to registered nurse is not for the faint of heart. Roadblocks included not one but two heart attacks, a shattered kneecap, resulting in a week long hospital stay, and rejection (from Nursing School that is).

These roadblocks may have crumbled some but not for this mother of three teens who wasn’t giving up on her dream. Her Dad, who was a doctor, encouraged her to follow in his footsteps but Schroeder decided she would stay far away from that field and earned a BA and an MA in Economics. She worked in banking for eight years and left her Vice President position for a stint in commercial real estate.

When she had her third child, she opted out of the workforce and enjoyed staying home with her children and becoming a serial volunteer. Having experienced both the working mom and stay-at-home lifestyle she has positive feelings for both choices. After 8 years out of the workforce, she took a position at a law firm writing hospital appeals.

The work conjured those old but suppressed feelings, Schroeder was a candy striper as a teen, and six words popped into her head, “I want to be a nurse.”

She started taking prerequisite courses and another, albeit unwelcome sign occurred. Schroeder had a heart attack at 36 years old. Initial reaction from the doctors was that her symptoms were panic attacks.

A nurse on duty whispered in her ear: “Don’t leave this hospital until they figure out what’s wrong with you.”

Schroeder was more committed than ever to follow her dream. Six years later, Schroeder experienced another heart attack. One year later, a home accident resulted in a shattered kneecap requiring major surgery and a one week hospital stay.

She was in debilitating pain but found solace in a kind nurse who held her hand until the pain subsided – another sign to follow her dream.

“I decided then and there that I was going to do what I always wanted to do,” said Schroeder.

So a little rejection, despite a 4.0 GPA, from the nursing program she applied to wasn’t going to stand in her way. She applied again and was admitted. Looking back she says it was the hardest thing she’s ever done and credits the incredible support she received from her husband and friends.

“I love people, I love to laugh and there is nothing like holding someone’s hand when they are sick,” shared Schroeder. “I had an ‘angel’ when I was hospitalized and I want to be that ‘angel’ for my patients.”

“I’m the mom of three teens, I figure I can do anything,” added Schroeder. “Showing my kids the hard work required to meet a personal goal has been an extra bonus.”

Of being a newly minted nurse at 49, Schroeder laughs and responds, “There’s nothing like a female middle age returnee in the workforce, I saw it in my old law firm. Give them the work and they get it done.”

 

 

 

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