Even though this is my first post on the JHUSON blog board, the Accelerated Class of 2013 has already overcome four weeks of class, two clinical rotations, two exams, a skills sign off for vital signs and wound care with no reported sprained ankles in our Dansko shoes!
To sum up my past six weeks as a Hopkins nursing student and a new Baltimorean, here is a small compilation of musings –
1. Baltimore is a vibrant city. Its diverse neighborhoods and distinct culture make it a very laid back alternative to the hubbub of DC. With its variety of festivals, museums and events, Charm City is a blast. The nursing gang and I have already checked out two Orioles games in Camden Yard, the National Aquarium, an Italian Festival, Art in the Harbor, Book Fest, and more! While Baltimore may get a bad rap from the outside world, I can 100% promise you it is more than worth the visit. And if that doesn’t entice you – just think of the crab cakes…
2. Living in East Baltimore highlights the lack of food availability. My neighborhood is a food dessert, an area with a lack of access to fresh food and groceries. There is a small market called the Northeast Market, though it predominately only has prepared foods and fried chicken (not to say it isn’t delicious!). The lack of walking access to grocery stores has prompted my friends and I to venture and test stores in other neighborhoods. Safeway in Canton, Trader Joe’s in Towson, Wegman’s in Hunt Valley, and the big city farmer’s market under the I83 overpass. While it is fun to explore new places, it is hard without a vehicle to access these stores. I can only imagine the great difficulty for families in East Baltimore who have to rely on challenging public transportation.
3. One of our required first semester classes, Professional Role Development, really highlights the need to provide quality care and patient safety. My professor (a nurse-midwife!!) uses multiple ways to express the need for nurses, doctors and medical providers to communicate. Teamwork and collaboration is not an option – it is essential to providing the best care. As students of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, we are going to have to lead the way for a new structure of communication between all levels of healthcare. In the spring, students from each school (Nursing, Medicine, Public Health) will be participating in a joint venture to begin the conversations of future teamwork. How do we work best together? What are the most effective ways to prevent medical errors through open communication?
4. Accelerated programs are stressful. The shear amount of information that is given to me in a day is unlike what I have ever faced. My undergraduate experience was filled with thousands of other students in my boat. I could blend in. Here, it isn’t so. I feel like at any moment I could be called out on my skills, especially in the clinical setting. I need to be able to retain the information and skills to be competent as a nurse, and eventually as a midwife. I have an immense appreciation for the clinical skills and experiences of my classmates.
5. Friends and family mean the world. Before arriving in Baltimore, I was so nervous about making new friends. Little did I know the intense community that would arise from being in the School of Nursing. With 160ish in my cohort taking the same classes and stressing about the same things – I was immediately supported. From my professors to my classmates, I have truly found a unique place of comfortable almost 7 hours from my North Country home. Though I may not always have the time to call my family – I know that their support means the world to me. Friends and family can help us wade through anything – even learning how to change bedpans and dressing wounds!
Hope this was a good introduction to life a new Hopkins nurse and a Marylander – cheers!
P.S. The title is from Hairspray’s “Good Morning Baltimore” song – check it outtt!