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