A couple things I took away from a prolonged inpatient stay as a teenager:
1) The NG tubes are no fun no matter how you sugar coat it, just get it in as quickly as possible
2) A surgical intern abruptly came in my room to tell me I was going to the OR, not the way to break the news to someone who has never had surgery
3) When I got to preop, they parked me beside the door to the main OR, I was so scared and without my parents, I just wanted to cry on the gurney
4) When the cancer diagnosis came back, my docs thought my parents needed to know first. But sitting in my room for 45 min alone only increased my anxiety. PS I'm not stupid, when the child life person just "happens" to drop by late in the day, something is up
5) After my second surgery I was taken intubated to PICU. I awoke restrained, intubated, without my glasses. I couldn't see, move my arms, or talk. My parents were no where around due to visitor restrictions, talk about being scared. The child near me was unstable and there was always lots of commotion.
6) The first time I was gotten out of bed after major abdominal surgery, I felt like I was being ripped in half. But my nurse was a rockstar with pain meds.
7) Post-op pancreatitis is a miserable experience
8) I cannot understate the importance of pain medication in procedures. I had many painful procedures done that I did not receive much medication due to fears of respiratory depression. I still have nightmares sometimes about the pain.
My experience as an inpatient has been valuable in shaping the nurse and now NP that I am. I can truly empathize with my patient and I try to remember the fears and anxieties that I felt, and seek to prevent or allay those fears in my patients.