Eight Weeks Down; A Lifetime Remaining
Note from ADVANCE: Lorenzo Ortega is our newest New to Nursing blogger. Lorenzo is a BSN student at CSU Sacramento. Be sure to follow his him as he shares his experiences of coursework and clinicals. If you have advice or words of encouragement for him, leave them as a comment at the end of his post. Welcome Lorenzo, and good luck!
Last week I awoke from a nightmare. I found myself struck with a fear so cold that my gasping lungs could not find any of the 21% atmospheric oxygen that I am told exists. Why was I so terrified? Well, not only was I dreaming of studying, which is terrifying in itself, but I imagined sleeping through my midterm, that was a few days away at the time.
The first eight weeks of my nursing education has gone much smoother than my dreams suggest. Deadlines were met, exams were passed, and check-offs, for lack of a better word, were checked-off with a swoosh as solid as the Nike logo. "Just do it" was my motto for burying my face in the textbooks, and it has worked well up until this point.
Spring break came this last week and split my semester in two, giving my classmates and I hope that we can survive another eight weeks of a lifestyle to which we are ALL still adjusting. Now I am sitting at my desk, on the last night of break, dumbfounded at how fast the time seems to be passing. In my reflection, I can truly say that I have learned so much, but only scratched the surface of what I know exists in this crazy profession.
In the midst of the stress and anxiety that this new way of life brings, my comfort has been found in the human piece to this larger puzzle called "nursing." The gratitude that some patients have shown upon my departure from clinical has been the fuel to keep me on track, and pushes me forward each week. One man who had suffered a severe stroke, on top of a list of other pre-existing problems, gave me the simple gift of a smile for spending only a few hours with him at the hospital. With facial muscles in strain, he gathered the energy to show me I had made a difference in his day, taking away some of the loneliness that had only been his to bear. When my career continues, I hope I don't lose sight of these little things that make nursing so unbelievable.
Surprisingly, I found another area of human bonding that I did not anticipate. The new instructional building of Folsom Hall has become my apartment, with several of my classmates joining in on the accommodations. From the time the doors open, until we are kicked out by security in the evenings, we own the halls of the new nursing division. It is safe to say that the graduating class of Fall 2012 has their roots firmly planted, as most of my colleagues and I have taken over several of the CSNA positions at Sac State beginning next term. The future could not look more interesting!
As my skill set increases with each week, I inch closer to my goal as a BSN. The vast amount of knowledge I still must learn makes it seem far off in the distance, but as I have experienced in my first eight weeks, time in this profession moves much faster than anticipated.