Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pas de deux

With finals, ATI, vacation and other things looming over me, I never really posted the secondary part to my last entry regarding a professor's hurtful (and in my opinion, quite ignorant) words.

Nursing school offers a banquet of stress to feast upon in as many helpings as you can handle. It's a day-to-day of self-esteem bashing at the hands of instructors, preceptors, doctors and whoever else just happens to fall a little higher on the hierarchy than yourself. You either learn quickly that most of it is minutiae that shouldn't even register on your radar or, you spend a lot of time crying in bathroom stalls, your car, hell, maybe even in front of the offender in the wide, jarring space of public. There is a middle ground and I like to think that those are the people that end up as excellent nurses. Come in too hardened and you're already jaded in a profession that, far as I can tell, chews up even the best and brightest at some point. Start too soft and even the easy punches will leave dents that leave minimal chance of recovery. The days can be long, tiring, frustrating with only occasional small victories. Those small bites of why you've chosen nursing have to sustain the overeager appetite each student has. We all long to help people, but like anything else, it's the little dance of balance to get it right. There are some things that simply can't be taught.

I think Not Nurse Ratched said it best here about developing a thick skin as a nurse and the worry that writing about the absolute sucktastic days of nursing school & beyond possibly dissauding someone from choosing nursing as a career. I'm glad that I read nursing blogs voraciously before starting school; there were some things I was prepared for and others that I never could have expected. In my regular life, I'm a confident, assertive person. I have healthcare experience so it wasn't a total foreign land I was entering. And for the most part, I've done well in my classes and clinical with positive feedback. Even with all that, I almost folded in half in the aftermath of my last entry.

Thankfully, two days later, I received a clinical evaluation from an instructor that cemented my feet clearly back into nursing ground and gave me some reassurance that I wasn't a total failure who'd been falsely building up my own hopes. It was so good that I took a picture of the best comment and looked at it before my last exam. Because it was one of my little victories.

In my school, when given any oral (informal) or written (formal) dressing down, we are given an opportunity to write a rebuttal that is part of our nursing file. Since I felt this particular incident of ridicule was completely baseless and uncalled for when addressed to a mass audience, I opted to write the rebuttal along with several other students. I mainly wrote how I felt that the dismal grades of one test does not measure my worth as a future nurse; rather that my compassion, competent care and technical skill in the clinical setting reflect my ability. Of course, didactic material is important, but, again, it goes to the balance above, because I am that one in the middle, trying to find my way and make sense of it all. I haven't heard any comments so far over my break and hope it quietly dies down. My rebuttal wasn't an attempt to fan the flames, but to give myself the voice that is stifled a good majority of the time just by the virtue of being a student nurse.

How very Breakfast Club of me.

Posted via web from somnambulant's posterous

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, damned if you don't. - Eleanor Roosevelt


Ordinarily, I stray from bleeding my heart and feelings out in public. I'm ultra-careful because if my identity were uncovered, it would likely bring about unpleasant ramifications at school. Plus, I consider myself a bit of a stoic and really don't enjoy my more vulnerable moments on display. If I'm honest, that holds me back quite a bit in blog writing. In my world, there is a fine line between a brave show of human emotion vs. oversharing.

But I digress.

The above quote ran through my head all through today. I'm an Eleanor Roosevelt fan; I'd totally be her BFF any day. Again with the digression. Though I can't go into specifics, today was wicked from the start. And as a nursing student really starting to feel my transition into a nurse, I handle it because nursing school has been good for my inner control freak. Before the end of my day spent embracing the semper gumby motto, myself and a few classmates were told a great deal of hurtful, damaging things by one of our more respected professors. It was one of those moments where the words are said, they hang in the air for a moment and settle with a thud. The bell has been rung and it can never be taken back.

I will always ask for constructive criticism because I want to learn the correct way of doing things while a student, while it's proper to ask questions. But, if there is every any question of my professionalism, integrity or compassion as a nurse-to-be, we definitely have a problem. I believe that people often say things in haste, under pressure and when emotions are running high. We've all been there and it's human, There is a point where I can brush it off, because somewhere at some point, someone has been gracious enough to offer me the same courtesy.

Even so, I have been dreading school each day for a solid month and it just became exponentially worse.

Posted via web from somnambulant's posterous

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


It's a blurry picture, but it's moments like this that make it worth getting up so early to get to clinicals. I love my city.

Sent from zee iPhone

Posted via email from somnambulant's posterous

Ah, life.

I've been spending the last few months trying to wrap my head around the speed at which my nursing program moves as well as trying to properly write how I feel. This has had me peering into this little white box often. Sometimes I'm overwhelmed, others I'm exhausted. Sometimes I just have no clue what to say. It's daunting to be an ex-wannabe writer struggling to find the proper words.

Then, like an amazing little beacon on the horizon, came all these microblogging/social media/whatever sites where I can post a picture or a few words more frequently and not feel like I''m dragging my feet.

Having my shiny new iPhone helps a lot too. I'm in love.

So, stayed tuned for more some point I will write something longer about some experiences I've had. Suffice to say, I'm still here and feeling more like a real nurse everyday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Getting by

Dear Student Nurses of the World,

Settle around while Momma Somnambulant tells you a little story.

If you haven't heard the phrase already, one day, someone will tell you that nurses "eat their young". And then you'll think about it for a minute or awhile and decide either: 1) Bring it on, betch or 2) Oh, dear [deity of your choice], please please PLEASE let that never happen to me. But somehow, you will prepare yourself (you think) and almost absolutely at some point, it will happen.

Now that you know, allow me to paint a picture: you've been working with some really receptive and amazing nurses And then, one day, it happens. Some burned out, condescending mega-snatch who realized somewhere along the way that she hates her work and maybe even her life is informed she's having a student for the day and only sees an indentured servant/dumping ground for all her angst. You're treated badly and not in the "wahhhhh I'm going to stomp my feet because my nurse didn't give me warm fuzzies" kind of way. More like the nurse making fun of you in front of patients kind of way. Or giving you her grunt work and chuckling with the staff about it at the nurses' station kind of way.

And, if you're like a certain smart-mouthed student nurse who blogs, you'll momentarily go to a happy place where you lay into this douchecake with hurricane-force f-bombs and excellently timed insults. Then she cries. It's awesome and beautiful. Eventually, you have to come back to reality and go to the next ri-damn-diculous thing you're asked to do.

But, sadly, such is the way of nursing school (unless someone gets really out of line, of course). So, you get through the day (or days, in this storyteller's case), talk shit with your classmates over a drink or four, and hopefully come home to someone who loves you (and who has had the foresight to get ice cream after reading your enraged and expletive-filled texts).

Most importantly, you tuck it into the back of your head for some horrible and hectic shift years from now when you're handed a student nurse. You remember being there and try to be the nurse you wish you'd had on a day that it would have meant so much.

There's your lesson for the day. Use it as you will.


P.S. One side effect of this whole ordeal is a greater appreciation for my friends who are nurses, both in my daily life and who blog as well as those nurses at clinicals who have patiently sacrificed a lot of their time to let me learn and try new things.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ah, and so it goes

I'm sucking at updating due to some medical junk (I'm fine, thanks) and school (I'm fine, thanks).

But, I can tell you 2 things:

  1. I am now of firm belief that when student nurses study fluids, electrolytes and acid-base balance, we should not be held liable for any fits of lunacy unleashed on each other, our families, friends or the community at large. I have one hell of an exam coming my way tomorrow and I've got to be honest: I've had a lack of sleep, a lot of coffee, about 100 pages of reading on this material and I'm feeling kind of dangerous, ya'll.
  2. I drew the lucky stick today and had a chronic paineur (abdominal pain) as my patient. 34yo w/some ridiculous meds and a nasty smoking habit that had him wandering the (nonsmoking) campus. His already too-lenient pain management doctor was debating giving him the boot for leaving AMA. He thought calling me sweetie would win the "gimme some meds" game. I just couldn't keep myself away from his room from all that charm just oozing down the hall, calling my name.
I have some catching up to do - don't worry, kittens. It's coming soon.