This blog will go over my experience and transition from nursing student to Registered Nurse and any other nursing related topics that may come up. Thank you in advance for taking time to read my experience.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

First day of Clinical

The first day of clinical was basically a tour of the hospital, how to use the computer system to chart, getting our student ID badges, and a unit specific tour. Talk about nerves though! Nervous that I was going to be late (even though I lived 5 minutes away), nervous I wasn't going to get along with my clinical group, nervous that my instructor was going to think I was an idiot, nervous about using the computer system and wondering if I'd ever learn how to use it.
     I think I slept for about two hours the night before (and for about 3-4 hours every other night before a morning clinical rotation) but I was bright eyed and bushy tailed for our student orientation. Things went smoothly and it helped that I was familiar with the hospital. That made me feel more comfortable but my group still hadn't met our instructor because she was sick that day.

     Fast forward to the following week and our first day on the unit. My clinical group met at 6:15am and none of us were sure where to go or what to do other than find our instructor. She met up with us at 6:15 (most of us had been there since 6:05) and I realized she went to my church! All I could think then was that she would be harder on me and expect more out of me because she had known me outside of school. I learned quickly she was all about giving all of us the same opportunities (if possible) and helping us in any way she could. After meeting us and giving us our patient assignment for the day she explained that most of our patients would be going to various therapy sessions throughout the day and most had their first session at 8 am. We had to get all of our am care done in about an hour in between the patients eating breakfast! Being brand spanking new to all of this I had no idea how that was ever going to work- doing a head-to-toe assessment, bathing, medication administration on one patient before and after they ate breakfast and definitely before their first therapy session. Honestly worse than that was the fact that none of us wanted to wake our patients up to start one by one we got to our patient's room and found our patients asleep, a few of us had early bird patients who were already awake (we collectively sighed with relief whenever that happened). My patient appeared to be sleeping as I gingerly knocked on the door and began to introduce myself. Turned out my patient was awake! Whew, one thing out of the way.
     The rest of the day went well, I don't think a single one of us felt comfortable and for me that didn't come for a while (and I still am not totally comfortable but I am excited to continue learning and better care for my patients). At the end of the day I knew I still wanted to be a nurse and I was excited to take the next steps in that journey with the help of a great instructor who helped teach us in anyway she could. I couldn't wait until my next time at clinical!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Many Firsts...

  I made it! My FIRST day of nursing school! I was a ball of emotions- scared (or terrified), excited, anxious, happy, sad. At any given moment I felt all of these and more. Terrified- because unlike many others I didn't have a lot of friends that I had gone through pre-reqs with because I was working all the time and I didn't know what was coming next.  Excited- because I knew that this was what I wanted to do and I wanted to get moving forward on it. Anxious- because I had no idea what to expect and I had no control over it. Happy- because I was finally seeing my dream come true. Sad- because I knew that my life was changing and nursing school would become my new life for the next 2 years so I was mourning the loss of what I had gotten used to in the past.
  I walked into class confident that I would do great and that no matter what anyone told me I was going to always get great grades in nursing school, after all this is what I was meant to do. I found the girl I sat with during orientation and who I had talked with over the summer about things like what pants to buy and how nervous I was. (Side note: It helps to have someone like that to talk with who is in the same situation you are. I highly suggest if you aren't close with anyone at first to attempt to make a friend in orientation so you have someone to bounce things off of) It turned out Ashley and I were in for a roller coaster ride over the next few months. Our first class was kind of like every other one except that we were told about nursing, how HCC's program worked and all the ways that you can fail out. (Failing skills check offs; missing too many classes, labs, clinicals or a combination; having below a 75% average on exams, failing clinicals.) We also learned that for our first lab we would be giving each other bed baths! If I remember correctly there wasn't a single person who was happy with the idea. We were allowed to wear swimsuits but even that didn't ease many concerns. (It turned out ok and we laugh about it now) Talk about stress! I was still determined that I was going to do great and that I wouldn't worry about that 75% average because I would have a higher average than that! I dove in head first to my assignments and me being a person who never really studied before (I didn't have to) I learned early how much work this was really going to be, but I still pushed on. I read everything, did questions at the end of the chapters, made sure all my homework was completed, and worked at home to practice any skills I could.
    Our first skills check off was blood pressure and pulse. I practiced on everyone (including kids in my family) during our Labor Day cookout and thought I did pretty good. The morning of the check off I practiced more. My cousin Bobby, fiance (at the time) Tim, and my grandmother (I'll refer to her as Nanny) all let me practice on them before I headed to the school. I did great hearing Bobby and Tim's but for some reason I couldn't get Nanny's at all. I started worrying that I was going to fail my first checkoff because I couldn't hear Nanny's blood pressure. I got to school, still worried, said a prayer and was lucky enough to have one of the 3 guys in my class as my partner. This was lucky because his blood pressure was nice and loud and there was no missing the systolic and diastolic sounds! So I passed my first check off! Our first exam was coming up fast though...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Beginning

      I decided that I wanted to be a nurse at a young age. In going to hospitals with my grandparents and learning more about their heart conditions and how to best care for them I discovered my passion for nursing. Interacting with the nurses at Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland, Washington County, and numerous doctor's offices I increasingly became impressed with how they cared for my grandparents and our family. Fast forward to me finally finishing enough pre-requisites to apply for the Nursing program. In March of 2009 my life changed forever. My husband (who was my fiance at the time) brought the mail in and handed me an envelope from HCC. In it was what I had been waiting for for so long, my acceptance letter to the nursing program! I was so excited I wanted to start right then, pre-reqs were awful for me, I hated having to take many of them because I knew what I wanted. Orientation was not until May so I had some time to calm down and prepare for the hardest schooling I would have to take.
        In the weeks I was waiting for orientation I went through a difficult challenge, my grandfather passed away. He was always my cheerleader and always knew how to pick me up when I was down, he gave the best advice and was the one who taught me about the importance of hard work. I wasn't sure how I could do nursing school without his support because he was my best friend. Yes, I still had my grandmother (who was and is amazing), my parents, my husband, and my best friend but losing Pappy was a huge blow to me and my confidence. On the day we were going to go out shopping for my supplies (white pants, shoes, stethoscope, and all the other fun nursing school items) I was cutting my grandfathers hair for the last time and prepping for his viewing and funeral. I learned a valuable lesson that I still carry with me today- tomorrow is not promised, don't take for granted people and situations instead take advantage if the time you have.
          I made it through orientation, made a good friend and managed to still get all of my supplies and books together in time although I was more nervous than I had ever been. I realized as I received my uniform tops, my books, my sphygmomanometer and things from my mother-in-law (she is an RN) that my dreams were finally coming true. Although I was dealing with the hardest time of my life, I was still managing to be truly happy. Throughout the summer I became increasingly nervous for my first day of class. Finally, it came.