A mini-reflection series to celebrate the final five days of my undergraduate nursing program. Each day I’ll share both a high and low of the last 15 months…because, let’s be honest, an accelerated nursing program is not always easy. That said, it’s been a year of incredible growth and learning, and I’m ready to bring some closure to this stage of my journey and clear the space for the learning and growth that lies ahead in the next two years as a graduate student in nurse-midwifery.
The Low: Giving up my doula practice and the connection to what brought me to nursing school.
This was a really tough decision, but one that I never doubted, especially after school started. As much as I wanted to be that nursing student who had her stuff together 100% of the time, that was pretty much the first thing I had to let go of as soon as school started. Although passing my doula practice on was sad, and I was definitely missing being involved in the doula community for the 15+ months I went without attending a birth, it was also good for me to expand my mind.
The High: Being exposed to the power of nursing care in a variety of contexts I’d never considered before.
Not working or volunteering gave me the ability to really delve into my experience as a student…and I was surprised by how much I loved experiences that I really had no understanding of prior to starting nursing school. Med-surg nursing, for example…although it’s not what I would want to do full-time, I learned so much by observing the compassionate care that these nurses offer for patients. Med-surg is often seen as the bread and butter of nursing practice, the default position many nurses look for after graduation. While I would argue that that’s not necessarily true anymore…and I wish there were waaaay more emphasis on community-based nursing in our program, there is something to be said for the skills I gained in my med-surg rotation. No matter how someone presents to you, whether as a post-op patient after gallbladder surgery, as a patient coping with COPD, or as a patient about to give birth, nurses are there. This recent article really hit it home for me how much nurses do…and how much better I now understand how vital nurses are to health care in general.