I can't believe it's time for midterms, this half of my first semester as a nursing instructor has flown by. Just yesterday in our post-clinical conference, one of my students exclaimed, "Wow, we really ARE learning stuff!" I was so proud of them, because I know she's right. But I am also surprised at how much I am learning from them, too. Things I have forgotten recently, like why I went into nursing in the first place.
As I was grading one of my student's management plans (which they all hate doing, by the way), I read something that brought tears to my eyes. She wrote in the self evaluation portion about what she had done during her day on the nursing unit. She shared, " I believe I made my patient feel good about herself. She was very happy to have her hair washed and change into clean underwear and a new gown. I also helped my patient change the batteries in her CD player, which she was very happy about." It made me realize that when you've been a nurse for a long time, you sometimes forget that the most simple things we do for our patients, we sometimes take for granted. Now I have to say since I had my second child, I don't always have the time to wash my own hair daily, but if I couldn't do it because I was too sick or tired to get out of bed it would be incredibly dehumanizing. This young nurse was able to give back to her patient the basic desire to feel fresh and presentable. Nurses every day do these simple tasks, and probably don't even think twice about it.
The students' excitement about performing simple tasks like starting IVs and administering injections always makes me smile. Their lack of cynicism is like a breath of fresh air. It comes to me at a time when I need it the most- as I have seriously wonder if I am suffering from what so many nurses experience: compassion fatigue.
My student went on to write: "Another thing I did was sit down and talk to my patient. I just asked her to tell me about herself. She told me lots of information that I would have NEVER gotten from her chart. She actually opened up to me and cried about her problems with her ex-husband. This was very rewarding to me, because this is why I became a nurse. I really want to help people..."
You know what, my dear student? That is why I became a nurse, too. Thanks for the reminder.