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.


  1. This post spoke to me as one of many with close personal knowledge of these diseases which are genetic and lifestyle induced.

    I find the metaphysical connection as you mentioned heartbreak and loneliness. Also imbalance plays a roll too.

    One of the issues I've noticed is health care disparities and that concerns me.

    Even though it isn't discussed much these days, the lack of trust towards the medical establishment by minorities is something that needs attention. We are losing to many to soon.

    Hearing about your experience makes it real.

    1. Minorities lack of trust towards the medical establishment is a complex issue, rooted in historical, cultural, and economic implications. I wish could easily be solved however, I think the focus for gaining trust should also be placed on the Medical Profession. I think people become frustrated with sticker shock to medicine, the feeling like they are not being listened to, as well as the feeling like medical professional don't understand the whole person being treated outside of the pathological disease process. It's a complex issue and one that I will definitely keep in mind throughout my journey. Great comment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Wow Ann I'm so proud of you! I knew you would make it through nursing school and that you have the character to be a nurse. Unfortunately that lonely I remember from when I worked there summers in a row in a private hospital in New Orleans. I was in high school and learned a lot about how things worked because i was contemplating the medical feel. Yes loneliness in hospital is a terrible thing. As for the 4 reasons why people are there that could be avoided, I'm not at all surprised. Smoking and sugar are the 21st century killers for sure. I've recently taken measures to be stricter about my sugar intake. To put it bluntly I've almost cut it out of my diet daily. I just indulge every now and then. I'm on a weight loss journey to finally shed these kilos that have bound me since coming to Iive in France. I've had to take 25 years of cortisone and that just packs on the pounds. But I'm on my way with 26 pounds down. I'm on a mission and nobody's stopping me. Thanks for sharing your nursing experiences and good luck with all that is to come. I know you can do it! Happy New Year and I wish you much peace, love, health, and wealth this 2016!

    1. Thanks so much Didi. I've only made it through the first semester, there lots more to go, but I'm very happy an excited to be on this journey. I'm so glad to hear about your wellness journey. It's important for all of us regardless of our weight. I also need to make sure that I fuel my body. I have a very bad habit of studying all day w/o eating a proper meal. Happy New Year to you as well and Thanks for all the love and support. Let's make 2016 great.

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