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: Getting through the less than helpful assignments
There’s no skirting around the truth, friends: you will complete assignments that make you roll your eyes. You’ll reflect on the clinical judgment model more times than you think possible. You’ll wonder, as you write the umpteenth paper, why it all matters, and who cares about APA format anyway? To be sure, there will be a few helpful assignments…but you’ll learn how to figure out which ones are helpful and which ones aren’t. Maybe you’ll be like me and join the curriculum committee and try to help offer feedback on some of those assignments. But regardless…like in any program, there will be busywork.
The High: The brilliant aha moments that literally take your breath away
Somehow, often fairly late in the game, things start coming together. Random lab values that you were told you don’t need to memorize (but then later discover in clinical you DO need to memorize) start to make sense in the context of a patient’s story. You’ll have moments of intense connection, of incredible synergy, moments that release oxytocin and endorphins and all the happy hormones that leave you feeling so blissful you can hardly stand it. You’ll marvel at how lucky you are to be privileged enough to care for others, even as a student. You’ll encounter a few of those “favorite patients” (I know, I know, we don’t have favorites…except, we kinda do), the ones that your heart aches for when they receive the diagnosis they knew in their hearts they already had. Your heart will ache when you’re there for the birth of their much-desired second daughter…when they climb out of bed to the bathroom for the first time post-op…as you wheel them downstairs and out the front doors to be discharged home.
Your heart will ache with a fullness you didn’t know possible. Your heart will overflow with the richness of the human experience, this journey we’re all on through health and wellness. You’ll savor the moments in which you feel like you made a difference, even if it was as simple as a warm blanket. These brilliant aha moments will take your breath away, make you pause, make you grateful for your health, your body, your life. They’ll re-center you in the here and now. They’ll serve as the nourishment you need to continue on your path as a nurse and healer.