So this morning, as the clock struck 7am….I was DONE with nursing school.
Yes, that’s right…..DONE.
It was surreal as I was walking out of one of my patients room, looking at my watch (because you do that A LOT as a nurse) realizing the time, and having that moment of complete closure and victory.
I. DID. IT.
I stepped into the hallway and looked around to see several girls in uniforms identical to mine. Here were the first year nursing students. They are coming in as I am going out. Fitting. They are getting ready to start their first day on their clinical rotation, occupying all the wall computers to scour the digital charts for any scrap of information that they think will be pertinent to helping care for their “one” patient. Yup……one patient. Last night I had 5. But they are where I was close to 2 years ago. Reality check moment. Really. The sense of accomplishment that I felt in that brief moment of realization and observation…….well, I’m having a hard time putting it into words. I know that it’s not a moment that I’m going to forget any time soon. The really funny part about it was that I knew exactly how they all felt. Nervous, unsure, trying to hide all of their stress and nerves behind an immaculately white uniform, sparingly applied makeup all while hugging several different folders of monotonous paperwork and trying to look confident. Yup. Been there. Done that.
I’ve paid my dues. I’ve done my countless medication sheets and care plans. I’ve waited on my one patient hand and foot. I’ve written out days worth of lab results and why or why not they are abnormal. I’ve now earned the right to sit at the nurses station with the floor nurses and chart. I’ve now earned the right to delegate if the need arises. I have earned the right to care for more than one patient. But mostly, I’ve now earned and acquired knowledge. Knowledge that is going to grow in the years to come to help me care for my patients. Critical thinking skills that are going to blossom, flourish and hone as the years go on in my career.
There are two really big kickers of this day. Two more reasons why I will NEVER forget this day.
First of all this is the second night in a row I’ve worked. On the first night we had a patient straight from post op. She had just come to the floor and was….to put it mildly…..a hot mess. She was 92 had fallen and broken her hip and was not doing so well. Her blood pressure was severely low, her pulse was really high, her breathing was fast, her temperature was elevated, she was combative, her skin looked pale, her eyes were red rimmed……her situation looked dim. My preceptor was having a hard time getting a hold of the doctor and we were doing what we could as nurses, to help this woman out. We took the blankets off of her, called respiratory, got the charge nurse and all put our heads together to see what to do for this poor woman. To make a long story short, we spent quite a large chunk of our shift with her, with allotting time to see the other 4 patients we had. The doctor finally called back, orders were given and she was starting to SLOWLY turn around. By the time I left, my patients future seemed unsure. So you can imagine my pleasant surprise to come back the next night to see that she was on the mend. She was responsive now. She could tell you if she was in pain or if she couldn’t hear you so you could speak louder. She could even crack a freakin’ joke!! WOW!!! And I helped her get there!! (my preceptor and her charge nurse really did most of it, but I contributed what I could) It was the most rewarding thing.
Next kicker, was that I got off work at 715 am, went to Kinko’s to pick up some resumes I had printed off and came back to the hospital to wait for Human resources to open. I then asked if I could speak to the lady that my cover letter was addressed to. She was not in, but she was going to be shortly and I could wait if I wanted. Well…….HECK YEAH I was waiting. And it paid off too……..because I got an interview on the spot! WOOHOO!!!! I was in my dreaded nursing school whites, but hey….I looked professional!!! Even though I despise them……I must admit, as I looked at the newbies coming in…..they did look really professional in their get up. Our get up….potato, potatoe.
Best ending to that chapter in my life.
Now only if the beginning of the next chapter didn’t open with a main sewer line back-up the minute I walked in the door from all this awesomeness, that would have been…..well, awesome.
I’m going to miss all my girls on the floor I just left. They were all great and helped me further my dream. They all have given me something to take with me, nothing material, but just things I witnessed them doing, without them really knowing, that I will take with me and implement into my practice. Thanks girls!