Tag Archives: nursing school

Countdown to Graduation

Do these people look excited, or what?

Today we had our class photo done. We all dressed up nicely, according to tradition (the ASN program has traditionally worn white, but thru the years when the nursing profession abandoned the starched whites, we moved to black and white), and met in the misty drizzle on the main campus. The school will hang this portrait in the hall along with all the other graduating classes, dating back to the early 1900s. Well, not THIS photo…. but the actual portrait where we all look very serious, very happy, and very…. NURSELIKE. 🙂

In just a little over a week, we will all be graduate nurses…. I can hardly believe it!

Of course, there is the NCLEX to worry about, but I’m going to put that giant dark cloud on the back burner for just a week or so and enjoy this time. It’s GRADUATION TIME!!!!

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Impostor Syndrome

One of these things is not like the other….

Last week in class, when we were going over what the next few months had in store for us, my instructor brought up a very good point.

We are all impostors.

Or at least, we feel like we are. I had no idea, but Impostor Syndrome is a very real thing… and there are people living it every day. Walking through life feeling like they do not belong there, that at any minute someone is going to figure them out for the fake that they are. They feel as if they have tricked the world into believing they are smart, and competent, and good at what they do – when the reality is they lack a whole lot of self confidence!

I can’t imagine that there are many senior nursing students that do NOT feel this way. If you are one of those people who are just naturally awesome and able to conquer the world, then rock on. I am not one of those people. I spend a lot of time freaking out that I have somehow managed to pass all the tests by some sort of fluke of nature, and I’ve managed to just slide through clinical without someone figuring out that I am a complete and total fraud. Eventually someone will wise up when I ask the wrong question, or do the wrong thing… and they will kick me out.

How in the hell have I made it to the end of this?!

The really scary realization is that I am going to be expected to get a JOB and WORK?! AS A NURSE?! How is that supposed to happen? Will I miraculously have all the knowledge I need in the next three months?

Rationally, I know that I have worked hard and that is how I have gotten to where I am. I do take comfort in my instructors reassuring me that we are BEGINNERS. We are NOVICE nurses. We will not be expected to go out and save the world. So why do we expect that out of ourselves?

So take comfort, fellow Nursing Impostors. We will be ok. We are where we are supposed to be. We have made it this far not by luck or chance or happenstance, but because we have worked our asses off for it. We are going to be nurses, and damned good ones at that – because that is what we have been called to do. We will ask stupid questions and we will do the wrong thing, but such is life on a perpetual learning curve. I have that much figured out already. No one can truly be an expert in the field of nursing, because medicine and technology are evolving faster than we can perfect our skills.

Maybe one day I will wake up and I will no longer be an Impostor. Until then, I will continue to “fake it ’til I make it” and trust in those people who have mentored me along the way. I have some great teachers and mentors paving the way for me… and they believe in me, even if most days I don’t believe in myself. Yet. 🙂

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The Countdown


The countdown is on!

I’ve neglected this blog over the past few months. I’ll be honest. I was checked out. For the first time in what seems like an eternity, I was able to relax and enjoy my summer vacation. I spent great time with my friends and family, traveled to awesome places, and created a lot of memories. It was nice to be able to put school on the back burner, even if it was only for a short time. And it really did fly by –

I started back to school yesterday. It’s funny how easy it was for me to slip back into nursing student mode. I thought I would have a hard time getting back into the swing of things… but it was like I never left. I think the countdown helped.

The first thing we went over in class on our first day back? How many days we had left until we graduated. Funny enough no one had counted it out yet… I think that we are all still in denial that we have made it this far and can see that light at the end of the tunnel. The number of days left on the calendar was 115. Today it was 114. Tomorrow it will be 113. Before you know it this whole experience will be over and done with and just another blip on my life radar. I have mixed feelings about that. 🙂

I have lots to blog about, and I can’t wait to share this last semester in this journey with you all. It has been a wild ride so far!

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Freedom of Religion

During the very first semester of nursing school, we were drilled up one side and down the other with culture. Cultures, religions, beliefs, practices…all of the things that our patients might have that make them different from *us* (in the general sense). We learned all the different rituals we might come across in medicine, all the varying forms of “bad juju” and how to get rid of them, and not only that – but we were taught just how important it was to put our own bias and judgement aside in order to better serve our patients.

So that was four semesters ago.

I have worked in three different hospitals. I have taken care of all kinds of people… Africans, Mexicans, Koreans. I have taken care of all different social classes….the homeless. The rich. Through all of these rotations, I have never felt “far away” culturally from any of my patients. They were all embracers of Western Medicine. Even with language barriers, we had a common theme that connected us – medicine – and the will to get better.

Recently, I had my first run in with a patient that went against everything *I* believe… not only as a person of faith, but as a (student) nurse. My patient refused life saving treatment… and I’m not talking something that would affect their quality of life (like chemotherapy), or something that may or may not have been beneficial. They refused actual life saving treatment because it was against their religious beliefs.

So here I am, a student nurse… and I am taking care of a patient who is actively DYING in front of me.

You never really know how you are going to feel about something like this until you are actively put in this situation. I had thought about it before, and we had ALL talked about it before….but here I was face to face with it. Reading the chart, I had to literally have an inner discourse with myself… Because I knew I would be dealing with family…. and tough questions. How could I take care of this patient without letting my own beliefs cloud my care? I started having flashbacks to my fundamental instructors… 🙂

I think it was my inner dialogue that saved me…. because I did what I was put in that hospital to do. Which was take care of my patient. So instead of treating this woman’s disease… I remembered what nurses are here to do. What our job description truly is. We aren’t doctors… who I see as the “mechanics”. They are the ones solving the problems. They fix what is broken. Nurses take care of our patients. Nurses treat the whole patient, not the disease. And that is what I did that day… I swallowed my own opinions and I simply took care of my patient. I made her comfortable. I held her hand when the pain was unbearable. I warmed her when she was cold. These are the only things that could truly be done for her at this point in *her* journey….

… and this was her journey. Not mine. My only hope is that my presence provided some comfort to her and to her family during my time with her.

That is being a nurse.

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The Wall.

All nursing students get to this point eventually.  If you are a student nurse, and you aren’t there yet – don’t worry, it’s coming.  What is the inevitable plight of which I speak? The wall.  That proverbial wall that you hit full force because you never saw it coming, and it knocks you flat on your ass.  The last thing you want to do is stand up and run at it again.  I hit that wall this week.  I’m pretty sure I have permanent head injuries as a result….

Last week was our spring break.  Let me tell you, it was glorious.  I think that this has probably been the first break that we have had so far in my nursing career where I didn’t have something huge looming over me: a paper, a project, an exam.  We had NOTHING waiting for us the week that we got back to class… so for an entire week I was able to completely let go of school.  And let it go I did.  I actually joked with my friends that I was off the “nursing clock”.  For one week I walked away from medicine… and it was BRILLIANT.  I can’t tell you all the ways that I needed that one week to myself.  I caught up on all the TV shows that have been rotting away on my DVR, I went to the movies with my husband, I carted children to and from soccer and other activities with reckless abandon.  It was wonderful.

Then reality hit.  I had to go back.  Dammit.

This week has been a struggle for me, I’ll be honest.  I am over school.  Remember when you were getting ready to graduate from high school and you had a diagnosed case of “senioritis”?  Yeah, I’m there right now.  I’m tired of the busy writing of “clinical reflections”, I’m tired of waking up at 5am for no pay, I’m tired of stressing out.  We are far enough into the semester where we are actually starting to wrap up loose ends now.  My last week of clinical was this week.  We can see the end of the road.  The final exam is starting to rear it’s ugly head.

This time of the year is the PITS.  It’s so close to being over, but yet – it’s not.  Actually, the hardest stuff is still waiting in the wings.

The hardest thing of all is to know that we are so so close to being done with all of this.  I can SEE graduation…

There have even been a handful of moments this week where I have thought to myself: “WHY AM I DOING THIS TO MYSELF?”

There is only one possible solution to hitting the wall.  You get up, you dust yourself off, and you climb over it.  Dig your heels in and GET IT DONE.

I’ll be an RN soon, and then it will all be worth it. 🙂

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Where I want to work…

When you start working in the hospitals… on the floors, here and there… you start to get a sense of where you “belong”.  There are so many places, so many specialities.  And I will admit, there is something special about every place I have worked. I truly adore Med/Surg.  I love seeing so much.  Learning so much.  Taking care of post op patients give you so many opportunities to learn new things and use all your handy dandy nursing interventions.  However, back over the summer I worked a term at the local Children’s Hospital (on a med/surg floor, actually!)  and my time there was so special.  There is something to be said of feeling a sense of “belonging” in your work.  I find it funny because when I started nursing school the last thing I ever thought I would want to do was work with children.  But it took me less than 6 weeks to change my mind.

Maybe it has something to do with being on the other side.  I am the mother to an asthmatic, and I have spent many an hour playing the “worried mom” role by a hospital bed, watching my kid get breathing treatment after breathing treatment.  I have had the good nurses, and I have had the bad nurses in these situations…. and they make a difference.  Pediatrics isn’t just about patient care. It’s about FAMILY care.  That worried mom is your biggest ally and your biggest enemy at the same time.  She can be the greatest source of help and information – or she can be your greatest pain in the ass if you don’t play your cards right.  It’s a balancing act. But I have been that worried mom – so maybe it’s why when I had a mom that lashed out over the summer, or the mom that was less than enthusiastic about having a “student” nurse…. I understood where they were coming from.  I had been there in their shoes.

I had some of the most remarkable experiences working in Pediatrics this summer. I really did. I saw how a nurse can be that fine strand that holds that worried mom together.  I was that nurse this summer…. and it was easy for me.  I fell into a pattern of hugging families, of loving these kids that weren’t mine that I only cared for for two days at a time (in clinical, that was our shift).  I saw so many sad things…. but these sad things inspired me.  To be a better nurse.  To be what these families needed.  To be a bright light.

I know it sounds completely corny.  Believe me, it sounds corny even to me.  But when I left that floor on my last day of clinical – I felt overwhelming sadness.  I never expected to love it like I did (like I do!!).  I really didn’t.  I figured with three kids at home – why would I want to go to work every day and take care of MORE kids? 🙂

I know I will work in pediatrics again.  I know it, because it is what I am *meant* to do.  I am a pediatric nurse in the making!!

I have an incredible opportunity on the horizon.  On Monday I have a job interview at that same hospital…. for a tech position.  A tech’s work isn’t glamorous.  It’s hard work, for little pay.  But for me? It’s an opportunity to get back in there and take care of these kids.  I spend all my time working on adults now, and while they are fascinating… the work doesn’t have that same *spark* for me. 🙂  Bring on the kiddos.

So, wish me luck. I need my pediatrics fix to tide me over until I can get in there as an RN. 🙂

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Med/Surg and Mentors

Today was my first day of Med/Surg. Or, as it’s called in my program – “Adult I”. I don’t have much to say about class yet because today was just a mish mash of syllabus and a little lecture. Things kick in for real next week. 🙂

I did volunteer today to be a “mentor” to a first semester student. I really wish I had had a mentor to answer all my questions and ease some of my fears back when I started – so maybe I’ll be able to do that for some other poor innocent soul starting out on this journey.

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