Tomorrow Erik and I will travel to Oslo to meet with the Helsepersonnelnemda (the Health Personnel independent appeals board) who will review both my nursing and midwife license applications for the last time.
It is a long awaited day. This process began in October 2010, when I sent in pages and pages of documentation of my transcripts from my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, along with long letters from my advisors and department chairs, explaining what topics were covered in each course, and how many hours and weeks were spent in each course and in every area of clinical practice.
This process was repeated again in February 2011, after SAFH (the folk who review these applications) concluded (after 4 months of contemplating their belly button) that I had a two year degree in nursing and not a four year degree. More papers, more letters, more documents.
And we repeated this process a third time in August 2011, when they decided a second time that my nursing degree was not thorough enough, and I needed more training in psychiatry and medical/surgical nursing. (Yes folks. . . I want to work as a midwife. This does not matter to them).
It was only after an article appeared in the local paper in November 2011, featuring my case and the long process, that SAFH quickly responded—with two decisions this time—the first time they even bothered to consider my midwife application. They denied both applications, stating again that I needed more training for a nursing license, and claiming that I since I didn’t document any of the patients I had seen as a midwife student, I could not be licensed as a midwife.
In January 2011 I sent in 45 pages documenting the over 800 patients I saw as a student midwife, clearly labeling how each patient fell into each category—prenatal, postpartum, high risk, birth, newborn. SAFH’s response, in February 2011, was essentially “there’s no way to prove these are real, as they don’t look official”. No letter from them stating “this looks like a lot of patients—could you somehow verify them.” No contacting my advisor or the chair of the midwifery department, despite offers from them both in the numerous documents they prepared on my behalf. It was almost as if they said “Shit. This is a lot of paperwork that we don’t want to deal with. Let’s just send it on to the appeals board. That’s what they are there for.”
So, on to the appeals board we go. An independent appeals board, or so they say, and so we hope. More documents, more paperwork, more verification, more last minute panicky emails to my advisors, and several sob sessions on our living room couch, wondering what the fuck I was thinking getting myself into in this kind of situation.
I am not going to be so arrogant or so naive as to think that everything I learned in American nursing/medical training translates directly and smoothly to nursing and midwifery care in Norway. I acknowledge that some training time would be both valuable and justifiably required. But to go back and enroll myself in a university again for both degrees, and ask for credit on classes I’ve taken? I just might be so arrogant as to say “I’m not going there.”
Tomorrow is a big day. The appeals board decision will likely make those final hurdles clear—just how high they are, how many more, and how far away the finish line is. And then the toughest decision of them all: is it all worth it at the finish line? Do I even bother finishing this race? Or will I decide, “you know. . . I was prepared for a 100m hurdle race, I could suffer through a 400m hurdle race, but I will never do the steeplechase. I’ve got better things to do in life than run around this track a dozen times, jump over barriers and land in water on the other side, and end up soaking wet and exhausted at the end”.