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

1 comment:

jaime said...

hi! I found your blog - I just applied to an accelerated BSN program here in Carolina that would start in January if I get in. I look forward to reading your blog!