26 5 / 2014
This past week, my alma mater graduated its class of 2014. For my fiance and I, this annual rite of passage also marks another year gone by where we have been in a long distance relationship (LDR). For the past three years, since graduating as the class of 2011, we have missed each other’s birthdays, our anniversary, major holidays, minor holidays and most of the days in between. It’s been a long journey.
Year 1: After seeing each other almost every day for 2.5 years, living in each other’s college dorm rooms/apartments and living life as exuberant, annoyingly broke 21-year-olds, the hardest part? Simply not seeing each other every single day. Suddenly, I lost my boyfriend to go on standing weekend adventures with and a best friend to suffer through college life with on the weekdays. Lesson learned: appreciation.
Year 2: It’s still hard after year 1. Now instead of just being heartbreaking while apart, cue in frustration. Why is this happening? Why can’t he/she move to be with me? When is this going to end? And yet…slowly but surely, you find yourself actually enjoying things without your better half. What? You mean I can have fun without him/her? Yes. Life’s looking up. You’re learning how to be apart. And yet, there’s this emotional, bipolar roller coaster you’re attempting to master..but is still spiraling out of control. When you’re finally on your way to see him, your heart races. jumps. and stops. But when those short blissful days close to an end, it’s a depression like you never knew possible. The hardest part? Saying goodbye at the airport terminal. Lesson learned: independence.
Year 3: Adaptation. When I’m with him, I’m _____, fiance. When I’m here, I’m _____, fierce, independent woman. There’s two lives now…who you are with that person, and who you are when you are apart. The hardest part? Kissing goodbye and being in a different world, a different person only a few short hours later. Did I really wake up next to him this morning? That seems like such a world away…that can’t be possible. Lesson learned: to be determined.
09 5 / 2014
I found this AMAZING (almost-brought-me-to-tears-amazing) story on allnurses.com. A story about a mistake made by a nursing student the ramifications of that mistake, our profession’s understanding that “to err is human”, and ultimately her triumph due to her outstanding resilience.
30 4 / 2014
I haven’t posted in a while, mostly because I was busy trying to survive my second semester of nursing school. While procrastinating for finals, I came across an interesting topic: whether or not a patient should lie to his healthcare professional.
There’s lots of reasons why people lie to anyone. It can be a pathological need, a “little white lie”, trying to gain something, trying to protect something, etc. The list can go on and on and on and on….
But what we’re taught as a society is you don’t lie to God, your lawyer and your doctor/nurse. Why? Well I think the first is obvious, the second so they can best help you out of trouble and the third…because your healthcare professional has your best interest at heart and without a complete understanding of your health background, cannot give you the full benefit of their expertise.
So as a student nurse, naturally I’ve always been a huge proponent of telling my healthcare provider everything he/she needs to know. I answer truthfully (yes I drink, no I don’t smoke or do drugs) and shamelessly and I couldn’t understand why patients who are protected by HIPPA wouldn’t naturally do the same.
Until I lied to my nurse practitioner a few months ago. I went in for a fairly routine visit for a fairly routine reason. She asked me the standard questions that needed to be asked and I answered them truthfully…until I didn’t. I knew if I answered truthfully, more questions would be asked and it would open up this can of worms about a topic I didn’t want to dig up from my past and confront.
And that’s when my appreciation for truthfulness from patients deepened. Sometimes, it can be frustrating to know that your patient is lying to you. No one likes to be deceived, even by a stranger. But this taught me to see the situation not as I am being lied to, but rather the patient needed the security of their lie. Maybe it is about a situation they haven’t confronted within themselves yet Maybe it isn’t a situation they can talk about yet, even to a healthcare professional, because they haven’t made peace with it yet. Maybe they haven’t found the courage to embrace that part of their lives yet.
Whoever the person, whatever the reason, this is just yet another example of why nursing, with its immovable statutes of acceptance and care, is as much an art as a science. When all the trigger alerts in our science-trained brains tells us the individual in front of us is brazenly lying about a piece of their health history, we need to find the soulful artist in us all to embrace the patient’s decision, imbue an environment of trust, and hope that one day, that person will have found the strength and resolution to confront their problems and be okay with honesty about the truth.
02 2 / 2014
One very important life skill I learned in nursing school is that to be an effective nurse (and mother, wife, daughter, friend, co-worker, etc.) the nurse has to first take care of all her own physical, psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual needs.
I have always felt like this seemed selfish and thus, irrelevant and illogical in a caring profession but it’s true.
It’s like what they say in safety briefs before fights take off: “We never expect an altitude change but in the event of one, put on your oxygen mask first before assisting children or others.” You can’t be a good and caring provider if you are not your best possible self. As a nurse, it is vital to be at your holistically healthiest so you can be the best patient advocate, care provider, and nurse possible.
And that’s how, as a nursing student, I really got into crafting. I never liked crafts and art projects because I stink at it. I am not an artsy person at all. But I’ve grown to love it since starting nursing school because it is my therapeutic outlet to exercise some creativity and use the right side of my brain once in a while!
So no matter who you are, go out there, find your therapeutic outlet, and take care of yourself because you need to make sure all your needs are taken care of before you can take care of the needs of others.
19 12 / 2013
A lot of people have asked me what I’ve learned in my first semester of nursing school. The answer: I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned how to have therapeutic patient interactions, disease processes, etc. But here are the top things I’ve learned directly & indirectly from my first semester of nursing school and would like to pass on:
1) Follow your bliss. And I will support you. Find what makes you inherently happy. Not what will make your parents happy or your teacher or your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/fiance happy. And support others in their journey to happiness. If being a lawyer is your bliss, I will buy you lattes while you pour over law books in the library. If being a nurse is your bliss, I will be your practice simulation patient. If being an astronaut is your bliss, I will take you to every space museum I can.
Rationale: This is an indirect one. Somewhere in the middle of the semester, I realized that I had evolved from feeling like I wanted to be a nurse to knowing I wanted to be a nurse. I grew up with parents who were responsible but narrow-minded when it came to cultural conservatism. Having worked & studied in a major that did not make me happy but made them happy, I now know exactly how much of a difference it makes when you pursue what makes you happy. Thanks to the indescribable support from others, I am now able to follow my bliss and on my way to become a nurse. Now, my example is with careers. But really, follow your bliss and support others in all endeavors. Pursuing and marrying the love of their life. Backpacking through Europe. Writing a novel. Competing in a triathlon. Dancing for the Rockettes.
2) Evaluate what is important. This is basic nursing philosophy. We triage our patients and each patient’s unique needs. Airway, Breathing & Circulation. It’s the same in life. Know what is important to you: in the short AND long run. Sometimes this means doing the mature and responsible thing (aka not going out partying the night before an exam) while other times, it means to do the complete opposite: go and embrace the seemingly “irresponsible” option and live life to the fullest. And also keeping in mind that certain experiences that are not traditionally important (i.e. going on a spontaneous road trip across America with friends over Christmas break) can become important if they have an expiration date (you are young and have less responsibilities, someone is terminally ill, etc.)
Rationale: I used to work with a doctor who told me the first thing he did after graduating medical school & completing his residency with hundreds of thousands of dollars of education debt…was to take a $10,000 personal loan and vacation for three months in Hawaii. He had worked hard, he knew he was going to earn his reward back, he knew he probably wouldn’t have another chance (or his youth) to do something like that again, and it was the craziest thing he had ever done…but 20 years later, he still thinks it was one of the best decisions of his life.
3) Accept everyone. Don’t be judgmental. I’ll admit, I’m definitely still working on this. It’s really, really, really, really hard. In nursing school we learned to practice cultural competency. This includes language barriers, religious differences, sexual orientation preferences, etc. It’s not about being “politically correct”. It’s about loving every human being you encounter and recognizing that they are a unique individual, deserving of utmost respect and care. Understand that culture is more than just ethnicity or race, hometown, spirituality, or professional affiliation. Culture is the individual’s cumulative and unreplicable experiences that define who that person is, their self-image, self-esteem, and self-worth. Understand that EVERYONE’s culture can and will be slightly different from others’ and to love, accept and at least try to acknowledge it.
Rationale: Just as there is no right or wrong opinion, there is no right or wrong way to live a life. What one person deems worthless may be exactly what gives another person meaning in their lives. What is important to one person may be irrelevant to another. So instead of arguing or judging someone for values that you don’t agree with, see this as an opportunity to learn, keep an open mind, heart, and soul, and embrace in the beauty of the individuality of humanity.
I know nothing about life, I don’t have kids and I’m too young to really give advice. But if I were to try to pass on any pearls of wisdom I’ve gained in my young 23 years to someone much younger who I care about and love deeply…this is my silent public letter to you. I know what it’s like to feel alone, to feel unloved, unimportant and unsupported from the people you expect the most from. If you ever feel that way, just remember lesson #1: Find your bliss. Follow it. Whatever it is. And I will always, always, support you.
That’s a promise.
04 12 / 2013
I realize that this post has absolutely nothing to do with nursing school but I’m putting it up anyways.
I was sitting on the subway earlier today and I heard two high school kids discuss what topics they were choosing to write for an English class essay they had to write with the prompt “what dictates respect?” That’s a great prompt and I’ve been thinking about it all day. A lot of excellent traits command respect but I think one of my pet peeves is actually what kills my respect for someone faster than anything else: LAZINESS. I can’t stand people who are lazy. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being lazy on the weekends, a day off, birthday, holidays, vacations, etc. In fact, that’s the PERFECT time for good R&R. What drives me crazy is when people are lazy with their DAILY LIVES. I’m talking about the person who’s “on break” for the third time in an hour, grabbing his 27th coffee of the day. I’m also talking about the student who doesn’t study (if you are a full time student, STUDYING is your FULL TIME JOB). But nothing rubs me the wrong way than a person who is lazy about just doing things essential to living life.
The person who grabs a taxi every day to class because he doesn’t want to “deal with walking”. The person who has her laundry sent out to a service because she doesn’t want to “deal with laundry”. The person who gets groceries delivered because she doesn’t want to “deal with groceries”. I get it if these people are super high-powered, $750/hour earning-potential executives who work more hours in a week than most people do in a pay period and barely have enough time to maintain personal hygiene and minimal sleep as it is. I get it. But these specific examples come from people I ACTUALLY KNOW. Full-time students like myself, are young (late teens to mid-twenties), healthy, and live in NYC. What has happened to our society that this Generation Y is so LAZY to “deal with things”, things that are very essential to daily life, that they’d rather throw money at every situation? When were we taught to believe that WALKING, doing your own laundry, and buying your own groceries is something we just shouldn’t need to “deal with” in our lives?
It sickens me every time I hear these examples and no matter how much I respected these people before, I can never look at them with the same respect I have before.
No matter what a person’s personal criteria for respect is, RESPECT IS EARNED. EARN IT. How can you earn someone’s respect when you are too lazy to work for it? And even worse, how can you earn someone’s respect when you are too lazy to even take care of basic necessities for yourself?!
WAKE UP GENERATION Y! Just because we were given more comforts and convenience of daily living than any previous generation does not mean we should embrace it to a ridiculous extent and forget how to take care of ourselves. If our forefathers were as lazy as we are in this generation, I can guarantee it wouldn’t even be possible to be this lazy today. See the possibility of having laundry dry-cleaned, chauffeured in a cab everywhere you go, and fresh groceries delivered to your doorstep as an occasional PRIVILEGE to be INDULGED in and not a substitution for daily living.