Hello, all! It has been a few weeks since I last posted on here, because I am certain I have never been this busy before, but I thought I’d take a few minutes to give a little update on what’s been happening. These two years of nursing school life are the most challenging, yet rewarding, experiences of my life so far. As if classes and labs were not enough, we also have started clinicals, and service learning (community service with a learning objective component). I am also working at the Shwartz Center for Performing Arts, where I help to set up and clear the stage before and after performances, and help with backstage work or watch the performances during the show. I have been out and about, meeting new people, going to new places, and trying new things, and I have never felt more alive. Below are two of the required journals that we’ve had to submit this past week, modified to give you a little more of an idea of what this journey has really been like so far.
My home for the next two years!
I went in to my first day of clinical as I do most new things in life—with an open mind and heart, hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst—and overall, I would say it went very well. I was grateful to not only shadow the PCTs and nurses, but also to have them explain each action and even have as much hands-on experience as I am qualified for. Taking a tour and learning about the unit and staff helped me feel a lot more comfortable about the clinical location, and learning about the computer system was also very beneficial. My personal goal was to feel more comfortable and confident about the clinical experience, and I did achieve that goal with the support of my clinical instructor and clinical classmates.
The most positive experience of the day was the patient interview; I enjoyed getting to meet different people and to hear about a patient from their own perspective which reminded me of how similar we all are. I also enjoyed the debriefing/last hour because it was a chance to reflect, share my thoughts, hear other student’s thoughts, and ask any questions for the following week. There was not really a negative experience this week, but I know that as I gain more responsibilities (such as ethical dilemmas, and more immediately, medication and vaccine administration next week!), there will be more that I will be held accountable for. I hope that I will be able to learn and grow from these opportunities instead of allowing the fear of making a mistake hold me back.
The greatest learning experience I hope to have is to become more independent and confident in the performing the technical skills I learn, while balancing this with the care and compassion that a nurse is trusted to provide. I know this this may become stressful at times, and that I will have to take the time to properly prepare for clinicals each week, and give up a lot of other things I may feel like doing. However, I am confident that if I am strong in who I am and what my life is about, then I will be able to put everything aside and give my 100% to my priority: making sure I am doing everything in my power to ensure my patient is taken care of, no matter what the circumstances around me may be.
Emory University Hospital Midtown (at the heart of downtown Atlanta)!
Our service learning project will be at the Gateway homeless shelter for post-hospital recovery patients. The main focus of our group is on my favorite subject in nursing: holistic health. This incorporates spiritual, physical, mental, emotional/social, economic, and environmental health. Our group in particular is assigned the topic of mental health (including positive thinking, brain stimulation, and goal-setting), within which I have personally chosen to focus on positive thinking. Before going, we have been spending a lot of time in class, discussing stereotypes, hopes, and expectations about the homeless community and what our experience may be like, but we won’t know until we go.
What I would like to come out of this experience is for at least one person to take something positive and apply it to their life in a way that will benefit them. My primary focus will be on the SELF, because even when you have nothing else and everything around you in life is a crazy struggle, you will always have yourself. I want to remind them that challenges and struggles are something that everyone goes through because that is a part of life and makes you human, but that you should never lose hope because there is always a choice–always a freedom of thought, of feeling, of belief, of self. I will go over the importance of positive thinking in daily life, simple techniques to avoid negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones, and come up with some sort of interactive activity that can help them get started.
After giving our presentation, we will also be serving food and spending time just getting to know them. Nursing is what I have chosen to devote my life to, and holistic health with positive thinking is how I choose to live my life. The opportunity to combine these two aspects of life is the greatest blessing I could ever have asked for, and I couldn’t be more grateful! I am also very thankful that I have such a wonderful and supportive group; in fact, our entire class of 140 students is already so understanding and encouraging of each other and have already gotten so close in such a short period of time, so I can’t wait to see what the next couple of years will bring!
Since nursing school has taken up so much of my time, I don’t really have time for much else! The good part is that I am truly passionate about nursing, and I see know why every nurse in the past has told me that I would not be able to be a nurse if I didn’t love it. It is inevitable that nursing is a part of oneself, because personal values are such a big part of the nursing profession itself. (I see that even in this section titled, “Other”, I somehow ventured back into nursing talk!) Anyway, I wanted to mention that I somehow still have managed to make adequate time for prayer and working out as often as possible, and even a little time for family, friends, and fun here and there! I also received the great news that my cousin and his wife in Pakistan had a healthy and beautiful baby boy early this morning at 4am, I just LOVE new life and wish them all the best!
In other entirely unrelated news, the government was unable to come a consensus about the national budget, so all government facilities (including national parks and the zoo!) have been shut down until further notice. As if I didn’t have enough complaints about our system and the injustice I see more often than not, now 800,000 people are unable to work and get paid or use the many facilities our tax money goes to because of internal political issues that we really don’t even have a say in. Even if this doesn’t affect me directly right now, I am the People, and I can’t help but be frustrated that our government is not doing their job, which is ensuring that whatever happens is for the best of the People. Unfortunately, all there is to do is hope and pray that they get this all figured out soon!