There are two ways to look at nursing school. Either you’re enduring it, or you made it, graduated and subsequently blocked out any memory you had of it. If you’re in the former category, you’ve learned that surviving the intensity of nursing school requires a well-balanced combination of self-reflection, hand washing and bonding with fellow students over carb-heavy meals (and maybe a bottle or four of wine).
Throughout all the ups (truly helping a patient) and downs (smelling C. diff) of nursing school, one of the most inspirational and comforting parts of the experience is the knowledge that all nurses, new and old, have at some point had the same responses that you, Terrified Nursing Student, are now having. Even the most seasoned instructor (who now laughs at everything, fears nothing and has her stethoscope practically indented into her neck) was once a student who sweated through her scrubs and could only offer a terrified, wide-eyed stare during clinical.
The shared sentiments of this career reassure students that not only are they not alone, but that perhaps feeling the mix of panic (What did you just say his blood pressure was?!) and excitement (My bed bath didn’t cause anybody bodily harm!) is a necessary rite of passage to join the amazing community of nursing.
Here are the top 10 sentiments of nursing students.
1. Nausea. (Oh. My. God. That. Smell.)
2. Frustration. (HOW do you pronounce and/or spell sphygmomanometer?)
3. Excitement. (I finally did that correctly!)
4. Anticipation. (Graduation cannot come soon enough.)
5. Self-doubt. (Ummm, on a scale of 1 to 10, how wrong am I right now?)
6. Confusion. (Wait, what did they just teach us?)
7. Curiosity. (Uhh, why is that wet?)
8. Happiness. (I made a difference to my patient.)
9. Frostbite. (Why is it so damn cold on this floor?)
10. Pride. (I’m becoming a nurse!)
Molly Rose Hershman is currently a student in the Accelerated BSN program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions School of Nursing. Her writing can be found on several nursing websites and on her personal blog, The Awkward Times of MRH.