Ask any nurse what their fondest memories of nursing school are and you’ll surely get mixed answers, ranging from horror stories, inspiring moments, crazy all-nighters, nerve-wracking exams, and most hated professors. Nursing school will teach you a new definition for ‘fondest memory’ and will change how you perceive things until you see life from nurse-colored glasses.
Because nursing is a caring profession and sharing is caring, here are some of the things we’ve learned in nursing school that will probably ring true for you too:
There is no such thing as yucky when you’re hungry.
Nursing school is a treat for the senses, especially for your eyes. You’ll get acquainted with the different shades of pus (besides yellow), see enough blood to make a vampire puke, and handle pee and poop all day every single day! None of these seems to matter, you know you’ll wolf down your lunch as soon as you have time to actually eat.
Jello is your new best friend (besides google!)
Speaking of eating, you’ll hardly have time for it. Even when you do, it is usually just a few quick bites before you take another shot at the nursing crunch that’s happening all around you. Remember, when you’re too tired to eat and drink, there’s always jello. Jello is mighty. Jello does not judge. Jello saves! Don’t believe it? Just take a look at wards and you’ll find at least one patient whose sole sustenance seems to be jello. All hail jello!
Another life-changing realization is:
How much you love to sleep.
Remember when sleep used to be a punishment when you were young? You were made to nap as a toddler, get sent to bed without dinner when you were a kid and was made to sleep early on school nights. Have you ever thought back then that there will come a time when you’d welcome every opportunity to nap, will gladly trade sleep for food, and will look forward to nights spent sleeping? We bet you didn’t.
You’re a superhero (kinda).
It’s not just about surviving with little sleep, you’ll also find out that you can live on ramen (or jello!) for months, can read 370 pages in one night, can hold your pee for an entire day, and can still go on clinical duty after a full day of being on duty! Your body is capable of so much, it’s amazing! C’mon, you know you’re a meta-human!
…speaking of puny humans, you’ll realize that…
Everyone is absolutely dirty, even your mom (gasps!)!
Hey, stop thinking whatever you’re thinking! We’re simply talking about how you’ll possibly start obsessing about infection control protocols! You know, washing your hands after everything you do, noticing every possible contamination and source thereof.
Things are going to get real for you. No more bless-yous when someone sneezes because all you can think of are those little droplets carrying microorganisms that can make your life a living hell. You’ll immediately move 3 feet away ‘coz droplet precaution y’all!
Speaking of obsessing…
You’ll be seeing journaling in a whole new light.
Keeping nurses’ notes is something drilled unto every nursing student. You’ll be expected to notice every little patient detail, take a note of it, make a plan of care, implement that care plan, and even plan for the termination of that plan. That’s like a cousin of the concept of inception (the movie)!
You’ll develop the habit of checking out people all the time.
You can’t help it; you’ve got nurse fever! You’ll be performing nursing assessment whenever you see pathognomonic signs on someone. Your roommate, a stranger on the street, or that cutie at the coffee shop are all fair game. When you do a double take, it’ll be because you saw some humps… some buffalo humps that is! Hel-lo cortisol!
And since we’ve mentioned cortisol…
Stress is for the weak.
When some people mention that they’ve got 2 term papers to do before the semester ends and complain about being stressed, you find yourself wondering what stress they’re talking about. Truly, they can’t be serious? You make the equivalent of double that paperwork per week, not per semester!
As for the required clinical hours before you can graduate, it will help you find out that…
Nursing never gets easier no matter how much you learn.
Every patient is a learning experience that will break your heart and build it up again. You’ll see the beginnings of life and be there when the time to say goodbye comes. You’ll see people get their hopes up only to be crushed or perhaps be saved by a miracle – manmade or otherwise.
There will be highs and there will be lows. You stay no matter how much the lows suck because the highs are worth it, because every patient you help is worth it. You’re caught in this roller-coaster that never gets easier but is all so addicting.
Hey, perhaps because of all the crazy life-changing things above, you’ll realize that…
Nursing is now your life.
This – you can take the nurse out of the hospital, but you can’t take the hospital out of the nurse – can’t be truer indeed! Of course this isn’t meant to be taken literally, only to show how much being in nursing school has changed you and how deep being a nurse has been stamped in your DNA!
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