The Student Nursing Association and My Nursing Instructor impacted my life

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    As a nursing student there are many instances/people who impact you both academically and professionally; recognizing that moment or person and fully using it and holding on to it may be the key to success in both school and the profession. Along my path there has been one particular instrucutor who has forever changed my course...

    Whether it be in the classroom, in clinical setting, or in the work setting; as a nurse I recognize that I am constantly impacting others with my words and actions and am also being molded by the actions and words of those around me. As a male nursing student (or any nursing student for that matter), it is a very unique challenge to stand up, let alone survive, in the midst of all the drama that can sometimes consume a nursing programs' student body.

    Let's be honest, males struggle to understand females regardless of how much they care about them, and emerging myself in the midst of a program that is >95% female, things were going to be challenging. In my first year of nursing school (in the Practical Nurse Program)

    I found myself swarmed by the negativity and drama that runs hand-in-hand with all of the stress of the course work. I admittedly have little experience in dealing with this, and had been prone to simply running away and avoiding the drama in my previous endeavors.

    Taking a stance in which I would simply not allow myself to get involved by staying as far away from being personally attached as possible. My first year in nursing school and interactions with one particular instructor/mentor not only forced/encouraged me to change this about my personality but went further than that to develop a true spirit of compassion and caring and the ability to let down my guard and truly care for not only the patients but for my peers, my instructors, and the overall wellbeing of the nursing program I am attending.

    Entering nursing school I was a very introvert student and very comfortable with that. I enjoyed working solo on projects and just striving to achieve the highest of heights in my own personal path, I did not take the time to care about those around me for the main reason that I was fearful of becoming entrapped in all the before mentioned drama and negativity that is cohabitant with stress in the nursing programs.

    By doing this I was able to succeed personally in the tangible aspect of earning high grades while not getting caught in the trap of negativity, but soon things would change I would begin to acknowledge that I would be nothing as a care provider without true compassion, and that I truly did desire to help others; I would soon find out that despite my efforts I was unprepared and did not know how to truly help.

    The decision was made and I jumped whole heartedly (and unprepared) into helping my peers. I become a peer-tutor in the nursing program, I sought out interaction with my peers outside of what I would call my comfortable group of friends, I joined the Student-Faculty Advisory Committee, I began going to Student Nurse Association meetings, and despite my good intentions I quickly fell victim to the negativity. Instead of being a leader and standing up to negativity and helping to alleviate stress, I quickly found myself in the midst of it and not only going with the flow but adding to it.

    In frustration I teetered between pulling back or committing more to my peers and program. Not knowing what to do to make things better and knowing I was beyond pulling back I simply let myself become frustrated. In my frustration I became a destructive force in the program, using talents, passion, and stature in all the wrong ways. It wasn't until I fully laid down my guard and sought advice and counsel from one particular instructor that things began to turn around.

    Recognizing that I am a male and even have a slightly different personality than most (and add in the pride issue) it was very difficult to seek out guidance and mentorship, but once I let down my guard and did seek that counsel I had my world rocked by this instructor. Through many hours of sitting in the instructor's office and venting my grievances and seeking advice on how to react prior to reacting I was able to hone in some ability to be a leader for the better amongst my peers. (I do not wish to convey an attitude of superiority in stating leadership but instead I wish that it would convey a transition to compassionate action and use of talents and abilities to serve others; leading through serving.)

    This instructor was willing to meet me where I was, truly dig to understand who I was before passing advice or judgment, she modeled everything a nurse/instructor should in that, she made me feel like a peer as opposed to an enemy in the midst of turmoil between students and faculty in the program. Her leadership and compassion led me to not only be able to express caring and concern in my interaction with my peers and in my own professional career but went further to create a drive inside me to fully let down the male guard (or "machoism" as some might term it) and display full on compassion and caring.

    Had I not been willing to seek out the experience and advice that was readily available I know for certain I would not be in the position I am in today; nor would I be the man, peer, nurse that I am today. I am sure I would have graduated the program with ok grades, but would not have enjoyed it, would not have developed relationships with my peers, I certainly would not have run SNA presidency, and I wouldn't be in the position I am in now to help impact the academic and clinical practice of my peers through tutoring and friendship that I am in now!

    I could not advocate more for students to seek out the advice of their instructors far beyond just asking questions about didactical skills or knowledge; let down your guard and allow them to mold you and influence you in ways that will forever impact who you are and in turn will significant influence how you impact or are perceived by others. While I would have more than likely been confident in my knowledge in practice, I certainly would not have been a nurse that I would want taking care of me, I am forever thankful to this professor for helping me to become the nurse that I am today.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 10, '15
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    About maschn02

    I am in the ADN program at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, NE. I am the President of our Student Nurse Association. I work as an LPN at Colonial Haven (a skilled care facility in Beemer, NE).

    Joined: Aug '12; Posts: 7; Likes: 13

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  3. by   NRSKarenRN
    Kudos to you. Becoming active in my schools SNAP chapter and attending NSNA convetnion in 1982, held in Minneapolis near allnurses headquarters were tremendous influences shaping my professional world view of nursing. Good to hear another generation carrying the torch.

    Hope you can go to this years NSNA convention, not to be missed!
  4. by   nursel56
    I've never described anything on his forum before as inspiring, feeling the word is losing it's coin due to being used too often - but this really is inspiring. Changing oneself is too often (and I put myself at the top of the list in that category) the last thing left after people get done pointing the finger, and it's by far the hardest leap to make. Thank you so much for sharing your story of growth with us.
  5. by   maschn02
    Thank you. Certainly means a lot to get good feedback. I certainly thank my Dad for always encouraging me with a quote by Mahatma Ghandi, "You must BE the change you want to see in the world." That quote has always resonated in my mind in times of struggle, but wasn't til recently I have begun to mature in that it was more than a good saying but became applicable to life.
    The timing of reading your remarks today is a God send as it was a very difficult day in the program with a lot of turmoil and a huge headache, your positive feedback lifted me up and certainly convicted me.
  6. by   ProgressiveActivist
    Please change the title. Impact is a noun, not a verb. Impacted is an adjective.