Thursday, May 16, 2013

One year under (LB: first year)

This first year of nursing has been a whirlwind. I have learned an incredible amount so far in my classes and my clinicals. One of the greatest things I have realized, too, is that not only have I learned so much but also I am able to apply it to everyday life and my clinical experiences very quickly and accurately. I know that I had been worried in the beginning thinking, “How am I ever going to learn all this information, facts, and tips and be able to apply at the drop of a hat when it is most important?” It is so exciting though when I realized, “Hey, I do actually know what I am talking about and I see why what we are learning in class is so crucial and this is how it is applied”. I also want to note how much I have grown to respect the medical professionals that teach and help us every day. I knew that they had to know a lot but just the sheer volume and importance of everything is overwhelming at times. I really have grown to respect my professors, too because I realize that they not only had to learn all the same information that we are having to learn, but they are having to keep up with the latest research to keep up safe and updated. They have to relearn things that they had come to take for granted and they have to learn how best to teach this information. Being a teacher and presenting information that one has learned and taken for granted is very difficult and I have a lot of respect towards them for that.

One thing that I am very excited for in this upcoming year is interacting more with the public. We have been practicing and researching so much in our lab and watching tutorials and being taught how to interact with other people but I cannot wait to actually experience it. We were able to enjoy the simulation lab on campus recently with our top-of-the-line mannequins and that was very exciting to get closer to what real life will be like. We learn all these basics in safety and medication information but to actually see it all pieced together was something else. I just cannot wait to actually see everything applied at once.

Congratulations to the IUSON Bloomington Class of 2013!

On behalf of the IUSON Alumni Committee, congratulations! As we start a new chapter in our lives, let us not forget where we began to learn to be a nurse. Best wishes to all the graduates! --I.M. (third year)

In the End (RS: third year; Class of 2013)

The day has finally arrived! Today, I completed my last day of Capstone and therefore ended my career as an IU nursing student. As I write this, I cannot seem to find the words to express what I am feeling, but I will do my best. I am proud, ecstatic, and relieved, but I am also feeling nostalgic.

As I was leaving at the end of the day and walking down the halls of Bloomington Hospital for the very last time, hundreds of memories flooded my brain at once. I remembered being terrified of taking patients’ vital signs the first few days I spent at the hospital and asking the nurse to go in the rooms with me “just to make sure I was doing everything correctly”.  I remembered setting up an IV piggyback for the first time and spilling the medication on the floor right in front of my instructor and my patient. I can even still remember what medication it was. (Avelox, just in case you were wondering…)

I remembered exchanging stories of success and misfortunate with fellow nursing students, sometimes laughing at each other’s mistakes while other times congratulating each other on a job well done. I remembered the look of relief on multiple patients’ faces and the words of gratitude they expressed towards me for doing something for them as simple as helping them bathe and change their gowns. I remembered laughing and joking with my patients and their families and sharing in their happiness when they found out they could go home. I remembered comforting a family member of a dying patient during a shift on critical care and letting her know that grieving is normal and okay. I remembered being her shoulder to cry on, literally, as she came to terms with her loved one’s prognosis. I remembered the moment I realized what nursing truly means and being frightened, empowered, and exhilarated all at once.

Nursing is giving yourself entirely to people you hardly know. It is missing your lunch break because you are feeding your patient who cannot feed herself. It is missing your bathroom break because you are assisting your patient with using the restroom. Nursing is thinking about your patients long after your shift has ended and wondering how they are doing.  Nursing is accepting that every person is different, in good ways and in bad ways, but treating them the same. It is seeing someone in distress or in pain and feeling absolutely helpless but compelled to do something to help anyway. Nursing is mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding work that goes unappreciated by many but is praised repeatedly by those who do value the work nurses do. Nursing is the most intimate profession-you see some people in their weakest states of mind, body, and spirit, while you see others at their strongest. It is the profession I am proud to say I have chosen to make my life’s work.

As I reflect upon all of the memories I have made while in the IU School of Nursing, I realize with great joy how far I have come since those first days when getting vital signs and practicing injections on gel pads were intimidating tasks. My classmates and I have grown so much, and we could not be more ready to move on to the next phase of our lives. We could stick around here for a while longer and make more memories, but we would cease to grow. The time has come for us to see what we can learn from the real world.
Thank you, IUSON, for enabling us to grow as individuals, team members, and professionals and for making our time here so unforgettable.

“I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experience behind him.”-Eleanor Roosevelt