Thursday, December 31, 2015

What I've Learned In My First Semester of Nursing School

Headache, nausea, and/or confusion is a side effect... for everything.

Honestly, I still can't believe I'm in nursing school. It took 2 years of prerequisites, no vacations, losing my job, but finally, I'm a nursing student. Now that the first semester is over, I'm more confident that I did the right thing and I'm where I should be. That feels good but it's not easy.

Lonely People
I had no idea how lonely so many people are in the hospital. Like most people, I've can only experience life through my experiences, but working as a nurse I'm able to get a small window into the lives of others especially when they are not at their best. I've seen patients die with no one at their bedside to say goodbye. Some patients would rather lie in a hospital bed amongst sickly strangers, than to be lonely at home. That type of loneliness breaks my heart.

The Killers
Just about every patient in the hospital is suffering with 1 of 4 things: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Diabetes ("The Sugar"), Congestive Heart Failure, or Hypertension. Each of those disease can be completely avoided or managed with corrective behavior. The first time I had to assess a COPD patient struggling to breath, struggling to expel sputum from their lungs, on a dedicated oxygen mask BUT still smoked daily truly dumbfounded me. Addiction is a powerful kind of bondage.

The Balance
Early in our lectures, we learned about the importance of vital signs, lab values, and fluids & electrolytes. If any of those things are not within a very specific range, something is very likely wrong with the patient... during clinical, you see those imbalances manifested. $hit gets real on the floor. Everything you learn about in your books is right there in front of you. Balance needs to be restored quickly. Our responsibility as nurses is to: help restore that balance for our patients but it's not easy. They're so many moving pieces.

And what about your balance? Our expertise as a professional? Our personal values when caring for a criminal or a rapist? Our ability to set priorities with compassion.

I knew nursing school was going to be a lot of work and so far so good. More than ever, I've come to realize just how delicate life is.

Take time to Love each other and Laugh at yourself because Life is a temporary situation waiting to fall apart.


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