The final push to the end
Damara Hutchins | Highlands TodayAlthough I've recently attended my own graduation ceremony to become a Registered Nurse, I'm not really finished with school. In fact, as I type this, my class actually has 27 more days until our pinning when our instructors will declare us officially ready to attempt our state boards.
Published: May 19, 2012
Published: May 19, 2012
Until this date, we have to complete online assignments, proficiency tests and 120 hours of clinical time in real hospitals working with nurses who teach us and guide us in our final days as students.
For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to spend this time in an emergency room. I was lacking in certain skills, like I.V. insertions, that I thought I could learn fast in the emergency department.
Boy was I right!
Let me tell you something about I.V. lines: there are some people who can do them well and then there are those who can stick a garden hose through a straw and make it look easy. I can only hope that, one day, I can at least become proficient enough so that I have all my supplies ready when I need them instead of groping around for that one thing I left on the cart in the hall.
Aside from I.V.s, I have learned that gloves are your friends and it never hurts to pack your pockets with lots of alcohol pads.
One thing I can't believe is how nice everyone has been. The nurses and doctors and all the other staff have been wonderful. They may make funny faces behind my back, but I'm too busy being overwhelmed and bewildered to know it. When I'm not tripping over my own shadow in the emergency room, I'm consumed with other nursing class assignments, studying or in my chemistry class that I am also taking this semester.
You may wonder if I have time for anything else right now and that answer would be "NO!" I don't have time for my family, my friends, my favorite things and barely enough time for a good night's sleep.
Heck, I almost don't have time to write this column.
My friend Tonya and I like to check-in with each other on Facebook. People may mistakenly think that, because we post something in an update, we are loafing around with nothing to do. In reality, we are taking sanity breaks from online testing marathons. Yesterday alone I answered over 600 questions in preparation for an upcoming comprehensive test.
After that many questions, if someone asked me my name, I'd probably say, "You sound concerned. Would you like a warm blanket?" If I were offered a snack, I'd say, "Broccoli is a source of calcium for someone who is lactose intolerant. Take iron supplements with orange juice. Stay away from aged cheeses, organ meats and wines if you're taking MAOIs because that is bad for some reason."
Nursing students are pumped with so much information it is like we are on constant mental overload. Dumping syndrome is something people with gastric bypass surgery can experience, but it is also something that happens to the brain of a nursing student. You start packing in facts and figures and deleting birthdays, addresses and phone numbers.
I'm just hoping my family will remember me when it is over. Until then, don't get too dehydrated over the next month. You never know who might have to start your I.V. in the ER.