There are a lot of things they teach you in nursing school. I took anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and psychology. Along with several nursing courses that consisted of skills lab, clinical, and classroom. Most people assume that going to school for three to four years would prepare you for hitting the floor. Sure you know theoretically how to start an IV or place a foley catheter. Maybe you have even had the opportunity to do that in your clinical. You may have had one class on how to talk with patients, or how to deal with death.
But going into my sixth month of nursing I can tell you nursing school doesn’t prepare you to be a nurse. Nursing school doesn’t teach you how to put oxygen on a patient who is refusing it. But isn’t able to vocalize their desire. It doesn’t teach you how to comfort someone while you’re waiting for the rapid nurse to come and they are scared. It doesn’t teach you how to cope with the loss of one of your favorite patients. It doesn’t teach you how to have conversations about the goals of care with patients and family members. Especially when they can’t comprehend what the doctors are saying.
When I first started my nursing job, I was told to watch out for sixth-month burnout. It is when the rose-colored glasses of the honeymoon stage come of finally being a nurse come off. You are more confident in your skills and intuition. With that though you start to can start to carry a lot of baggage. I know for me I haven’t even noticed it until the last few weeks. I love and care for all my patients. But it can be hard to walk into work knowing you are going to take care of incredibly sick people. That you may start the day fully staffed but other needs in the hospital may take priority. It’s hard to watch people’s lives change in the blink of an eye, and walk through that emotionally with them. It can be hard to make sure they are aware of all their options. But have them choose aggressive treatment when palliative would be a better option. It is hard to support people’s choices day in and day out that I may not agree with. It is hard to love people when they are rude or thankless.
But over the past few weeks, I have lost sight of what I was called into nursing to do. I was never called to go at this alone. God called me to walk with him to spread his love to all that I meet. I pray often that I can radiate his love and for his strength. I have hit the end of my strength and need to start relying on him more and more. God purposely placed me in people’s life when they have their darkest moments when they feel unloved, or hopeless. I can be a light, hope, and love them for who they are and where they are at. Just like God loves me.