I had the awesome privilege of being able to speak to an Associate RN class on my experience with nursing, burn out, self- care and Reiki the other day. As I stood in front of the class and reflected on my 21 years of experience it struck me how easy it had been to just go along with the motions of every- day life and let the memories fade away.
As I drove home from that day I thought back to nursing school~ I made a couple of really long lasting friendships from those long study days…shout out to Robin and Kim!! I also still have close contact with 2 amazing instructors who touched my life in many ways…shout out to Terry and Lynn… I recalled the excitement of imagining being a “real nurse” and the fear of not knowing all I needed to know. In fact I was sooooo green that on my first day of clinical I walked into a male patients room and the side rails of his bed were up, and his urinal was hanging off the side rail….now I was green…very green…. I picked up the urinal and asked him if he would like me to fill his water jug!! Yup..I thought the urinal was a water jug~~~ for real… that man laughed so hard and I didn’t know why…after his hysterical laughter he says, “oh my you really are a brand new student nurse aren’t you…honey, I piss in this jug!” lol. I have learned a lot since then!! lol
I remember the pride of the pinning ceremony and of graduation…wearing my professional nurse uniform (white dress with white hose and white shoes and yes a white cap) to my first day of work J. I have very fond memories of my nursing preceptor Laverne~ who treated me so kindly and taught me so much about being a professional, caring nurse.
I have had the privilege of working in many different settings and with many different patient populations, medsurg, post op ortho, homecare/hospice, emergency room….I can say the ER is my favorite as it gives you the variety of cases that are different every day and the rush of a trauma or an MI…being able to intervene and really save someone’s life is amazing!!
What I shared with that class the other day again cemented for me that patient care is not just about all the technical things we know how to do and love to do….it’s about touching someone’s life in a positive way…I often times forget that and that is when burnout hits me the hardest…The patient does not give 2 hoots that you can read their EKG and intervene, or that you can start their IV, draw their blood, hang their medications, dress their wounds or collect evidence from every orifice known to man!!! They only care that you, the nurse, gives 2 hoots that they are there…that your eyes and face convey to them that you are listening to them, caring that they are in pain, offer them a warm blanket and a hand to hold…now I’m not saying our nursing skills are not important, because we all know if we do not perform those skills well the patient will notice! But we could mess up every skill we have and if we have sat with that patient for 10 min, held their hand or given them a warm blanket and a warm smile…they think we are the best nurse on the planet!! I don’t know about you but my thank you cards from patients NEVER mention my awesome skills…but they always mention the warm blanket and the caring smile.
Here’s to remembering your early years as a student…a new nurse…and why you love nursing…take some time to think back to those early days…it’s a fun recall J