After a truly amazing clinical experience this summer, one that has transformed me from a student into a baby nurse (pending one big exam), I am less than a week away from graduating this program. Not only did I learn so many new physical tasks of nursing and become a thousand times more independent, but I confirmed where my heart truly lies in nursing. I’ve never felt so inspired. I worked with some truly wonderful nurses all summer who have all given me a little something of the nurse I hope to be. I’ve come to know so many children who while trying hard to get well are also busy being happy children who ride bikes in the hallways when they can. I’ve learned that the true doctors and nurses to these kiddos are their parents who take care of them always, and whose hugs, kisses, and dedication are truly the best medicine. It has been a complete privilege to learn to be a nurse here and I’m so sad to leave (even temporarily).
I’m not just saying goodbye to my unit, I’m saying goodbye to the 63 other people in my cohort who have gone on this crazy journey with me. While I’m absolutely sure that I will keep many of these friendships for life, it’s still a little sad to all go our separate ways, some of us moving out-of-state or on to graduate programs. Going through this program was…transformational. We are not the same people we were 15 months ago. We are nurses (or will officially be nurses very soon) and that has become a part of our identities unlike anything we’ve ever done before. I recently read an article about how difficult it is to come home after traveling to other countries around the world. You feel like it has changed who you are and how you see the world, but other people outside of that trip don’t necessarily know that. That’s a little how I feel about nursing school. Nobody but the wonderful people I went through this with can exactly relate to that feeling of being different than I was 15 months ago. Every one of my comrades are going to be amazing nurses and I have loved experiencing this with them!
Finally, I’m left with thank yous! Thank you to the patients and parents who put their trust in me and for teaching me how to be a nurse by doing. Thank you to my awesome nursing preceptor who went above and beyond to help me learn and was always so patient and supportive. Thank you to all the other staff members who have worked with me and taught me lessons along the way. Thank you to the faculty who have quietly offered a constant reassurance that I can do this even when I felt like I couldn’t, and thank you for squishing and melding my brain so that I can think like a nurse. Thank you to all of my family and friends who encouraged me when I decided to change my life mid-stream and go to nursing school and who have loved and supported me through it. Lastly, thank you fellow nursing comrades for studying with me for endless hours, laughing and crying with me through mishaps and stress, and for just getting through this with me. We did it!