Almost a year ago to date I attended new student orientation as a very anxious and excited new student. I peppered the students going into their final term with lots of questions and eagerly awaited the first day of this program. Today, I was one of the “seasoned” students who was answering new student questions. I have less than 100 days until graduation. Approximately 300 clinical hours, 1 skills lab, 1 simulation, a few other random things and a test (that shall not be named) stand between me and those magical letters R.N. after my name. I think my greatest learning is yet to come this summer but today’s reminder of where I started got me thinking.
A student asked me today if it feels like last year’s orientation felt like forever ago or a blink and my answer was both. This program has absolutely flown by but I don’t feel like the same person I was when I started it so it also feels long that way. I’ve stretched and mushed my brain with new knowledge until it was coming out of my ears. My heart has constantly been full…hearing a refugee’s story, caring for a patient in a vulnerable moment, or just feeling so much passion for this work. I’ve picked up this new language that is nursing. I’ve incorporated so much into my definition of nursing. Teaching. Being present. Holding space. Translating. Safe guarding. Nursing is so much more than I initially envisioned and it really is forever evolving, especially right now.
I’ve seen qualities and habits in peers, faculty, nursing preceptors and other staff that I took to heart and so badly want to enact in my practice. A teacher who can push while empowering. A nurse who is never to busy to make a real introduction and give a patient a warm cloth to wash their face first thing in the morning. A peer who oozes warmth and embodies calm even when she feels anything but. I’ve even learned to appreciate the equally important lesson of seeing behaviors I’d rather avoid and finding a voice of advocacy even as “just” a student nurse.
I’ve had days that have pushed me to tears and made me question whether or not I could succeed. I’ve also had days that I’ve walked away knowing I did something well and feeling on top of the world. Mostly, I’ve had days in between with a few ups and downs all rolled into one. Relying on caring, amazing future nurse friends for love and support, or turning to faculty for feedback and guidance has made the difference. I’m seriously privileged and thankful to be surrounded by such wonderful people all the time.
I would not say I feel wise in general. I still feel fumbly and like the nursing student almost baby nurse that I am. But I do feel wiser than I did a year ago, and I definitely feel changed. To all the new students I met during orientation and those I didn’t, get ready for a crazy, amazing, mind stretching, heart growing, stressful, fun, wonderful ride! Be flexible, be open minded, be ready for anything. Cheers!