I am a second year nursing student here at Marion Technical College. Looking back now, I can remember all of the days I was anxious to start in the program and anxious to get pulled off that wait list. I remember all of the times I was thinking “I just can’t wait to get started!” The truth is, it feels like it’s only been a few months between now and then, but it’s been three years! Starting out, I was not aware of what I was getting myself in to. Nursing starts out a blur, not knowing what direction you may be going at any point in time. I know that many of you hear the rumble around campus from past nursing students, or current nursing students and it may seem like the impossible task to complete the program. It takes organization, dedication, punctuality, compassion and did I mention organization? Every single day is a new learning experience. You learn the health care aspects of nursing but you also learn a lot about yourself. I have learned a lot about who I want to be as a nurse and a lot about what my patients expect and deserve when it comes to their personal care.
The best aspect of nursing is being able to put the skills you have learned to use at clinical. My clinical experience is an amazing experience in itself and it is something that I look forward to every week. It may not always be sunshine and daisies, like waking up at 4:30 a.m., but its two days a week that I get to take a break from the normal study routine and actually put the things I have been taught to the test. It is a pretty awesome experience to go from working on a mannequin that shows no expression or feedback to working on a real live person that is able to let me know how they feel their care is being handled. It is of course sometimes very nerve wrecking but I can’t describe what it feels like to be able to take a skill I have learned In the classroom and successfully carry that skill out in the real world. I feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when I am able to achieve success with my skills but of course there are times when that doesn’t always happen and I need some guidance. The instructors that I have worked with and am working with now always strive to make me work my hardest. It is an experience (a palm sweating and faint feeling experience) in itself feeling the pressure from an instructor to work your hardest to figure out how to fix what you may have not done so well. There are times when I may have felt like my temperature rose to 110 degrees from the pressure but it has never been for a reason other than to ensure my success. Many experiences have led me to knowing that my education has turned out what I wanted it to be. I am in the right spot and all of the hard work I have put in is for a great reason. In the nursing program, there are many times when you doubt if you are in the right spot or on the right pathway. There are times when you wonder if all of the hard work, clinical work and stress are worth it. You begin to think if all of the lecture hours and sleepless nights are what you signed up for. The very truth of the matter is, it is. I am a true believer that when you push yourself to the absolute limits and you give something all that you’ve got, you will succeed. So if it is the nursing program that you’re working towards, or some other program, push yourself. Do everything you possibly can to achieve your goal, because one day when you are on the floor at that hospital as a new grad, or working in your job of choice, you will know it has all been worth it. My last piece of advice? Make sure you take that last summer off before you start into the program, and definitely enjoy it! Nursing school means taking your life and removing yourself from most aspects of it for two years…line up your support system!