Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nursing school reflections: Preceptorship

As nursing school is quickly coming to an end, I have had many thoughts. Some contradictory, most positive. The thoughts that follow occurred in the past 72 hours as I completed my preceptorship - the last of my clinicals in nursing school.

I worked Saturday and Sunday nights, and went straight to school Monday morning for a 12 hour day. Needless to say, it was pretty exhausting. But I learned a few things.

I love oncology. Like, really love it. Not the cancer part. But the part about getting to know your patients, and walking with them through a difficult period. Supporting them and caring for them and with them. Loving them. And taking care of them after the battle is complete. One way or another.

I really like working nights. As much as I am not a night person. I am a "J can we go to bed" at 9pm kind of a person. Not so much of a "party til 3am" kind of a person. Sleeping in the day is pretty tough (although Sunday, I had Benadryl to thank), and I think J misses me at bedtime. :) But I sorta like being awake in the wee hours of the morning. When patients finally fall asleep and the floor is quiet. It's like your kids finally fell asleep. It's a sigh of relief and accomplishment, for them mostly. And you get to really talk to your patients. I got to know them. And their families. And we were there when they were sick at 0300. That is a humbling thing.

I love the nurses on the oncology floor. They have such hearts for their patients. They love their job. And they love each other. They are friends. And they welcomed me into their little night group of nurses so quickly. One girl told me about "NOTY Moments" (pronounced 'naughty moments'). Nurse Of The Year. AKA - when you screw up. She was a new grad RN. Since January. And she encouraged me (in a funny way) by telling me some of her NOTY moments. She made me laugh countless times. And my preceptor. She was and is an incredible nurse. Thank you Jeanne for the greatest experience in such a fast 60 hours.

I can't believe the next time I will take care of patients in my scrubs will be when I am a nurse (Lord-willing). When it's me that's taking care of them. That is terrifying and exciting, overwhelming and humbling all at the same time. The terrifying part comes through most frequently at this point. But once I'm there, how often I am humbled by my patients and nurses.

I thought about these things as I drove to the hospital and prayed that God would keep my hands safe, and my patients safe, and that He would bless each night and each relationship encounter I had, and that I would learn and grow and be humbled and encouraged by encouraging others.

And today, as I put my house back together (thanks for not letting it fall too apart, hun) and played with my pups and layed outside a bit and enjoyed my Jamba Juice my sweet husband brought me for lunch (thank you babe. I love you so much), I continued to contemplate these things. 

And I realized, I am so incredibly blessed to be doing what I am doing.
To be in the position where people allow me to take their lives in my hands. That is a truly humbling thing.
To be healthy and able to work, when so many aren't.
To be young enough to be able to stay awake for 24 hours at a time (although not ideal) without too much of a headache. And then sleep for 8 hours and get back to life. 

On that note, it is time for me to get ready and head to school for my final class of nursing school.

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