So, what’s nursing school like? {addendum}

Upon re-reading yesterday’s post, I realized it may strike some as a bit “Debbie Downer.” That was not my intention at all…but there is truth to the fact that it’s a bit of a roller coaster.

That said, today was most definitely an up-day. I had the opportunity to shadow a FNP who works at my clinical site this term. Today she was seeing patients in the clinic’s mobile van, which travels to various places in the city, providing care to low-income and uninsured patients. The majority of this morning’s patients were Spanish speakers, so it was a wonderful chance to practice my own translation skills, even if I wasn’t actively interpreting.

My favorite moment came when a patient asked about the meaning of some test results that had come back for her. Despite running several patients behind, the FNP took time and care in explaining what exactly the test measured and what the range of scores meant. It was such a simple thing, really, just two or three minutes to explain. But when the FNP finished, the patient teared up. The FNP thought maybe the patient misunderstood her explanation and thought she was actually ill.

The FNP took a deep breath and was about to explain again when the patient said, in halting English, “No, it’s just…thank you for taking the time to explain to me. None of my previous doctors ever took the time to explain anything, just ten minutes in and out. They never saw me as a person with feelings. Here, I feel like a human being.”

We all, the FNP, the interpreter, and I, all started tearing up in that moment. It was such a poignant reminder of why we’re here, why we’re doing this work, why we’re called to nursing. We’re here to be there for people in both the pivotal and ordinary moments of their lives, to help them make sense of their bodies and their health, and to help them feel empowered to bring their whole selves to the conversation of health and wellness. We don’t treat illnesses, we work with people to help them heal themselves.

Just another day in nursing school.

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