There are seven weeks left in the quarter. Which also means there are seven weeks left in this school year. Which is, um, INSANE. Looking back, I remember just how unfamiliar everything started out, how nervous I was, how overwhelmed and exhausted I felt again and again and how I lost control and my personal life fell apart. Whew. It has been quite a year.
It has been tough. But that's not surprising-- everyone said it would be. That's pretty much ALL I was expecting from this year. What is surprising is how much I am actually enjoying this year. I remember this one night before I started my program. I was having dinner at my parents' house and my sister asked what I was most excited about. I couldn't come up with anything. I had nothing, NOTHING that I could point to as to why I was about to put myself through an intensely hard year. Nothing!
So when I am sitting in class listening to a guest lecturer who is the foremost expert in their field, or when I'm in clinical and I'm able to answer every question the nurse throws at me, or when I chat with fellow classmates and realize how great they are and how much we've been through together, or when I'm researching jobs or networking with current nurses who know graduates from my program that have gone on to do awesome stuff, I get pretty amazed to realize how good a fit my program is and how excited I am to be going into this field.
My classmates and I have come so far already. I remember back in June that clinical seemed so daunting-- and we were still only doing 8 hour shifts back then! I was so nervous about giving bed baths and changing linens. Oh my God, oh my God WHICH SHEET GOES ON TOP?? I would forget to bring in half the stuff I would need to use and I would get all flustered and red in the face and start dropping things because I was so embarassed. I was nervous about trying to help the nurses and I felt like I really wasn't that helpful. Which, looking back at the tiny pocketfull of skills I had learned, I probably wasn't.
By the end of November I was taking care of 3 patients largely on my own. Med calculations, IV bags and pumps, dressing changes, straight caths, ostomy care, feeding tubes, NG suction, sub q and intramuscular injections. We learned it all in such a brief amount of time.
And now we're in the last quarter. My half of the class is in Labor & Birth and Community Health which feels pretty, well, cush compared to Med-Surg and Peds/Psych. It feels like the year is winding down and everybody is starting to pat themselves and each other on the back for making it. It's not over yet, but we're in the home stretch.
I can see the finish line. I can also see the gigantic hurdle after it (the NCLEX) and the two long races I'll have to run (2 MORE years of Nurse Practitioner training) after that. But for now I'll focus on crossing that line and celebrating making through this crazy one-year nursing program.