Best wishes to former New Jersey school nurse Kristy Agresta, MSN, APN, FNP-C. She is leaving “home” for new beginnings as a nurse practitioner in a family practice and part-time faculty at a local college. Good luck on your next step in nursing Kristy and thank you for sharing your perspectives piece in The Relentless School Nurse blog.
Saying Goodbye to the House That Built Me
Close your eyes and imagine the first time you felt truly at home. The images that are generally expected to come to mind do not always include a charming blue cottage with a white picket fence surrounding it. Sometimes it is not even a physical space. Home is not always a place that materialy exists but a feeling of security, belonging and community that is built over time, brick by brick.
The foundation of my nursing career began during the most vulnerable period of my life as I attempted to sift through the wreckage that remained. My sister, the nurse I have always aspired to become, had recently passed away. I began school nursing ignorantly thinking of the speciality as a starter house, a stepping stone, a temporary comfort measure before I was ready for a “real job,” or so I believed. Like many others, I had no idea what the school nurse profession actually demanded, the potential that it held, how it would propel my career, and how it would become my very own home.
Through the good, the bad and the ugly, the decision to become a school nurse has been one of the most profound decisions I have ever made. It is as a school nurse that I have had the honor and privilege of caring for and getting to know students and their families. It within this profession that I met my best friend and a mentor I know I can count on for life. I have had the opportunity to publish articles, speak at state and local conferences, participate in grant writing, implement health programming, advocate for the students and community, and so much more than I ever could have imagined. I learned that we all have the power to effect change. It was during this time, perhaps most importantly, I learned that being a nurse was what I was born to do.
It is said that practice makes perfect. I beg to differ. Each day following the submission of my letter of resignation, I imagined how I would say goodbye to the career I loved and the institution that made me the nurse I am. Still, as the door closes for the final time, I feel a grateful solace for school nursing, the house that built me.
Now that it is time to reap the benefits that I have sown to become a nurse practitioner, the why to what I have worked so hard for all of these years, all I can think of is how can I possibly be leaving? The only comfort I can find is that I know one thing. As Bon Jovi once sang “who says you cant go home?” As I drive away for the very last time, I feel a pride in how far I have come and how much further I can go.
Bio: Kristy Agresta, MSN, APN, FNP-C graduated from Rutgers University College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science and school nurse and health educator certifications in 2015. She graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University Masters of Science and Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Program in August 2021. She is currently employed as a healthcare practitioner within a family practice. She is also teaching nursing classes at Eastwick College.
Kristy has published articles, spoke at state and local conferences, and participate in grant writing. She has written, contributed, and published articles on various topics in Education Weekly, NJEA Review, and NASN School Nurse. In 2019, Kristy was awarded the prestigious Rutgers University College of Nursing Rising Star Alumni Award alongside Department of Health Commissioner Ms. Judith M. Persichilli.