The clock is ticking away for graduation day. Seven months to go as of today, and I find myself rattling off words like emesis instead of puke, diaphoresis instead of sweating as well as consulting the dosage on a bottle of Aleve now to correct my former behavior of just jamming a few pills in my mouth to get rid of my headache. I am always furrowing my brow as friends tell me that they don’t feel well and the first words out of my mouth are “so, how long has this been going on?” This is the transformation process.
Heading out of my third semester soon, experiencing clinical rotations with the elderly, babies, mothers, children… I am finding my fit within women and children’s health. Although, I feel I have learned a tremendous amount in clinical rotations dealing with older populations, I’m a kid person. One interest is with Pediatrics, I love the challenges kids throw at you. One minute they don’t want to talk to you, then find out you know all the characters’ names from the Phineas and Ferb cartoon the next, (thank you, Madeline!) then you are the coolest nursing student around and the ice is broken. But, kids are TOUGH. They are honest. You have to be on your game at all times, for which I’ve had lots of practice with my own daughter, so its probably why I can toss a curve ball or two of my own. They probably know more about their disease than you do. If something hurts, they tell you. If you look even slightly unsure with equipment they pick up on that and say to you, “I don’t think you know what you’re doing.” Their honesty is going to make me a better nurse. Their endurance through their illnesses make me stand back in awe. With pediatrics, medication dosages are different, the specialty spans a developmental period that changes monthly and annually, and the stories behind the children I’ve seen… some are emotional and heartbreaking and some are inspiring and refreshing. I’ve seen children struggle with tubes coming out of every orifice bouncing in their cribs ready to play as well as lying there near lifeless. There are lighter cases, then there are the darker cases of children suffering from toxic acute and chronic diseases or even abuse. The past clinical was particularly sensitive to me as I cradled a patient who had once been full of life but now suffered steady seizures, which was being investigated as alleged abuse. How do these nurses do it? I have so much to learn, but the experience has made me more determined to do just that.
Labor and delivery is another specialty that I would love to pursue. Reading EFM strips, comforting mothers and families, preparing them for an amazing change in their lives, whether it be the first or fourth child, I’m right there at the moment no matter how long it takes to get there. All of these tiny people swaddled in the nursery; many are healthy and some need critical care, but overall it was a team-oriented, positive experience. The midwives I encountered were truly advocating for their patients, which sparked my interest in pursuing Midwifery down the line.
My family is looking forward to graduation day more than I can possibly know I’m sure. I have the date in my iPhone already in all caps. My street is planning to have a bash the weekend after I’m “free” to celebrate my coming up from underground into the light again, since I used to be there for neighborhood events before nursing school took over my days and nights. I look back to the first semester, and how I stood there in lab learning how to take a blood pressure, prime tubing or perform an assessment. It’s second nature now, and I am sure that’s how its supposed to be. One more semester after winter break, and I’m on my way to the NCLEX… but for now… let me get this IPOC done.