Nursing school, for me, has been very stressful as of late. I am caught up in my classes; I'm getting 10/10 on quizzes; I understand the material; I love the things I'm learning, but I'm so very, very overwhelmed. At times I'm pondering over the enormity of having made the career change, other times I'm pining for some free time to spend alone and with friends (there's no time for anything except school), and mostly I'm just regretful every time I DO spend some time relaxing doing something other than school because it means late nights catching back up and being tired all day from only 5 hours of sleep that night. Nursing school is no joke.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm having a hard time because I'm so much older than the other students. I was in a small group discussion and the students went around asking each other when they had graduated. Most of the answers were 2007. One girl said, "I'm old, I graduated in 2004." Then they finally got to me... 1997. Oh geez. Well, they went into a mini uproar that it was impossible. They asked me to repeat it, to tell them what my age I was, and they still didn't believe it. I guess that's a good thing. One girl concluded that it was because I was asian that I managed to look so young. One girl, still in belief said, "... but the way you act..." Lol, I guess I don't act my age either. I said, "Well, the industry I used to work in is very young. We make video games... we have a lot of toys."
While it made sense in my head, it didn't make any sense to them. In retrospect, it was just some random thought that popped into my head as to why I might act a little younger than my age. Gamers really do have a greater appreciation for toys, such as action figures and model replicas. For me, it's all the arts and crafts and strange dolls that I make.
Luckily, I found another girl my age afterwards to vent with. I wasn't angry, but I was definitely feeling a little out of place. So we talked about feeling old, wishing we were younger when we started nursing school, and the rough times we were having so far. It was really nice to just get it all out there. When we felt well enough to carry on, we packed up our feelings and concluded that we were still younger than some of the other students, and at least we didn't have any kids yet. It's similar to the feeling of having a bear chasing after you and a group of other people. As long as you're not the slowest one, you're okay for now. (I'm just going to have to admit I'm not a very nice person after this...)
Of course, truth be told, a parent with a child would probably draw on superhuman strength and outrun me to get their child out of danger.
But week 3 and 4 has had some highlights too. This week signifies the beginning of a lot of tugging on heart strings. In my readings, there are a lot of true stories about people and their experiences as nurses and patients. Some of these stories are so sad, heart warming, and incredible that I can't help but feel tears well up in my eyes.
In one story, a student nurse goes from being scared and judgmental of her HIV patient to recognizing the patient as a human being with intelligence and bravery much greater than her own. In fact, the patient was formerly a nurse herself. The student nurse sees how others treat the patient so poorly, doing their best to avoid touching her or even to come to the room, and the patient is very lonely and isolated. The student nurse builds up a friendship with this patient and she learns a lot from this experience about how fear and ignorance can cause people to behave in ways that are uncaring and inhumane. She resolves to become a better nurse and to do her best to help other patients in similar situations.
Stories like these give me hope because I want to be that better nurse too. I want to help people and to show them the kind of care and understanding that I would want inside of a hospital. While playing patient during labs, I learned a lot about how easy it is to make a patient feel uncomfortable and degraded.
During a mock-bed bath, I was disturbed by the tub of water passing over my head, and I didn't like how my classmate playfully patted my bum after she turned me to my side. It wasn't respectful, and I hoped that she would never do that to a patient. As for the tub of water, it doesn't take much to make you feel anxious when you're lying on a bed with people doing stuff around you. The act of lying on a bed in a hospital room alone makes one feel very vulnerable. I will take these things into consideration when I'm nursing one day.
I think that part of what makes me so stressed lately is my desire to be a good nurse. I see the importance of every little gesture and act and I become overwhelmed by how easy it is to be a lousy nurse. I suppose every parent feels this way once they have a child. It's so easy to be a lousy parent, and so very hard to be a good one. So, for now, I just do my best. I study hard, I learn (with enthusiasm) all the new tasks of a nurse, and I attempt to take shorter breaks. Oh sweet breaks... there's never enough of them :)
Have a happy week!