Fifth Week

…in which I start, ever so slowly, to come to terms with the fact that I need to slow down (see first week).

All last week, I had a separate window open on my browser, quickly filling up with tabs of awesome articles I wanted to read and share for a Friday Wrap Up. At some point last week, I started to despair that I would never get around to it. And then, just last night, after finishing a clinical reflection paper due Monday, it clicked. I closed all the tabs (like, fifteen of them!!) and breathed a sigh of relief, feeling the weight lift off my shoulders.

Slow down. Let it go.

Five words for the fifth week of nursing school.

I could have used a little voice whispering those words in my ear on Thursday in our first simulation experience. We were interviewing pregnant clients, something I’ve done a million times before, but not as a nurse. And not while being observed by twelve of my peers. Despite the many hours I’ve already spent doing this, I left feeling like a bumbling idiot who hadn’t really made the kind of connection I aspire to make with my clients.

Slow down. Let it go.

And then there was that completely unexpected adrenaline rush that came at the end of the week when we had our introduction to syringes. I imagine that each nursing student has their own moment of truth (or string of moments, maybe), when they realize this thing’s for real. For all the talking, planning, studying, dreaming, worrying, and more studying…that this journey’s destination is not about the knowledge. It’s about the being and doing and how we engage with people every day. It’s about how the knowing sits in our bodies–in our hands and hearts–and how we create that connection with others in some of the most intimate moments of a person’s life.

I couldn’t have imagined one of those moments of truth for me would be the half hour I spent trying to control my trembling hands as I opened that first syringe and needle and injected a fake slab of flesh. I wish I could say that I was an attentive student in that brief half hour intro (especially since I’ll be giving immunizations at a community clinic in just a few short weeks!). But really, all that was racing through my mind was the singular thought: I’m doing this. What?! I’m really doing this! And it was both terrifying and thrilling at the same time.

Of course, I’m well aware that in a few months, weeks even, I’ll probably look back on this post and giggle at how monumental it all felt. That’s okay with me. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the first five weeks, it’s that you have to be able to laugh at yourself to survive this process.

On that note, a final disclosure:

That nursing student from last year was so right. On her list of advice, which she passed on to our pharm professor to read to us, she included this tidbit: Get a haircut after week 5. We all laughed and asked why. “Because you won’t have time to do it before then,” our professor quipped.

Alas, she was right. I am SO looking forward to my haircut today!

On to the second half of the term!

Slow down. Let it go.

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