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5 Things I Regret Not Knowing Before Entering Nursing School
If you happen to pass by this article and decides to see what’s inside, (maybe if you are a current nursing student, already an RN, someone who aspires to enter nursing school someday, or just a regular and an avid reader of random articles here in Read Cash), thank you in advance.
Also, if you ever got the chance to read the article I made about myself (Introduction, Coz Why Not?), you may have the slightest idea that I am an incoming 2nd year nursing student this upcoming school year, so please do not doubt or think I’m bold enough to write stuffs about “NURSING” because this will literally just be about my nursing school experience (just a small disclaimer) because I am one from the thousands of apprentices of Grandma Nightingale. Now let’s get started, shall we?
The title speaks literally of what you are about to read. Now I admit I am not one of those ‘role model’ type of student who are straight A’s and those who are aiming for the Dean’s List or something. I am just a regular student from a private institution here in Bacolod City where I am currently enrolled in.
About two years ago, when I was in 11th Grade, I was in total dilemma as I was stuck between taking up either Foreign Language, Journalism or Nursing (but definitely at first, Nursing was the 3rd option for me) after I took the admission exam from a very well-known public university in Iloilo City where I was eligible to take up the first two courses I initially put as my 2nd and 3rd option (aside from Nursing which I chose as the 1st one and I was not included on the official cut off score since I missed that 3 damn points).
I lied to myself, really. I was not 100% sure about taking up nursing after all. I always thought I knew the struggle of nursing students as I had a few senior friends and a few relative that shared some of their most bizarre and toughest experiences both when they were still studying Nursing and after they worked as Registered Nurses (RNs). I was totally wrong because after finishing my 1st year in nursing school, I realized:
Number 1: ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY IS DEFINITELY THE MOST ESSENTIAL FOUNDATION FOR THE UPCOMING MORE SUBJECTS.
I heard a lot about “Anatomy and Physiology” from my Biology II teacher when I was in Senior High School. He told us in class that this is the most important part in starting our Nursing journey after graduating from high school. I didn’t really paid attention at that moment so I was “slightly” culture shocked by the amount of contents, worksheets and softcopies of books and references our professors are feeding us, especially on an online class setting. I knew the basics but I didn’t know we’ll go deeper on each of the body systems the human body ever has. Now I knew why he warned us about going ‘deeper’ because Anatomy and Physiology, thank goodness, is definitely the most beneficial subject I ever took. It definitely helped me during health assessments, online return demonstrations and even when I am self-studying and looking up diseases that may be linked to a certain abnormality of the human body.
Number 2: NURSING REQUIRES SO MUCH PATIENCE.
Student nurses and professional nurses are well-known and are trained to be patient and kind towards their patients and their families (at least that’s what we learned from our professors). Not only on speaking, administering medicines and performing procedures to patients, but also on studying. Nursing requires so much brain cells to work and if you may think you don’t have enough of those, and even patience, you might as well get your acts together and think why you started in the first place.
As for me, I am a very impatient person in general so I won’t deny, I’ve struggled for a few months after entering the first semester of classes last 2020, thinking “why am I even here?” I tend to wake up late, I enter my online class meeting late and I also “intentionally” don’t enter some online classes because I thought I was simply “bored” and “tired” of everything. I didn’t know I was completely doing the wrong stuffs I didn’t really thought I am capable of doing before I entered nursing school. That killed my own willingness to learn and my grades slowly dropped from almost 90+ down to the dreadful 70+ I never knew I could even have my whole life as a consistent achiever (but luckily I got myself together and rose up again to a “more” satisfying grades that I could).
Number 3: SLEEPLESS NIGHTS AND BREAKDOWNS DOESN’T END THERE.
Nursing will never be on its most interesting peak without your continuous sleepless nights studying (or even procrastinating) and constantly breaking down. Don’t be surprised. Almost every day of your life as a student nurse, you’ll end up finding yourself sitting, zoning out and slowly losing your own self to the moment. You think taking up Nursing is the worst decision you’ve ever made at some point of your journey. Trust me, I’ve been there, I’ve done that. Nursing is challenging and for me as a certified procrastinator and a crammer, I only had a few breakdowns just because of the never-ending worksheets that worth me over a hundred points and deadlines at 11:59PM but most of the time, you’ll going to just postpone your breakdowns because you still have a lot of stuffs to do. It’s okay to feel horrible sometimes. You just need to find enough reasons how to continue doing what you’re working with. You are doing great as long as you don’t completely quit.
Number 4: GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.
I am guilty for doing a little too hard in order to survive even just a semester. One random day, I decided to slightly take a step back from my study table, look on a broader perspective on that very room and realized I have been working without even knowing where I was going to. I look dumb, really. As I take a look at myself in the mirror, I barely even recognized myself anymore. I was working and studying through my notes so hard that I forgot about working a little more on myself. I literally lost weight and my parents have been telling me I’m going to be the patient first before I could even get to become a nurse. They’re absolutely right. Taking a little break from time to time isn’t too bad after all. You need to lessen what your mind bears sometimes and release some happy hormones. Maybe your favorite hobby or a cup of coffee can help.
Number 5: GRADES ARE NOT REALLY THE DEFINITION OF HOW WELL YOU PERFORM ON THE ACTUAL SETTING.
Grades are how you get after being rated by your professor depending on the quality of what you submit as required by the school curriculum. Your grades may be your steppingstone in order to level up but in general, your inner knowledge on how to deal with certain situations as a student nurse is what the real deal is. You may be good at answering those long situation-based essays but how sure are you that you can attend correctly to your patient on the actual hospital setting? I am guilty about this at the 1st semester of classes but after adjusting myself from the setup of classes and the professor’s standards, I completely got the hang of it. I researched more on the 2nd semester and dived deeper on some patient’s condition I might face along the way. I only realized how self-study and properly studied personal knowledge gets me on top of the game, when I constantly got questioned by my Clinical Instructors about a certain abnormality of a patient’s condition after a neurological assessment and she remarked how I got the answer right among all of my classmates. See? Your answers on your paper doesn’t guarantee you’ll also get it right the first time you’re exposed to the actual setting, and clearly the knowledge your professors are giving you are still not enough and you have to be hungry for knowledge every time. Of course you are allowed to make subtle mistakes but a 2nd error means you are not putting what you learn from your brain down to your inner soul as a student nurse.
Nursing is fun, they said. Yes, it is. Fun but challenging. Although COVID-19 has slightly affected us and how we get the knowledge we need, we still have the same goal and that is to continue learning. I, too, has still a lot of things that I am still clueless about and I am (as being described by some of my friends) hungry for knowledge, studious and diligent about nursing stuffs. Although I am really not… most of the time but I still try my best because I know now that getting into this path will never be a smooth sail towards success.