After going through my first semester in nursing school (now in my second), I've realized that not a lot of students are keeping the end in mind. What I mean by this, nursing students have become so stressed about "getting the A" instead of saying, "I need this knowledge for NCLEX" or "I want to learn so I can become a better nurse to provide the best care for my patients." And unfortunately, we won't always get the "A," but that's just fine.
Yes, students like me do want to pass the NCLEX and getting that RN next to our names. But the knowledge you gain, semester by semester, suddenly disappears. Why does this happen? It's because we have become short-sighted in our goals. I'm writing this, because I, too, have become short-sighted.
But now that I am in my second semester, I've realized why classes such as Fundamentals, Health Assessment, Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, and the rest are all intertwined, like a piece of artwork. Each subject is a color, not yet known. Each student is an artist, who constantly changes the artwork. This artwork, my friends, is the end.
In my nursing class, students overlook the basics, and I was one of them. We say to ourselves, that health assessment is easy and we don't need to practice. Later on, we forget that assessment is the most important thing when coming into the patient's room. I've heard a nursing student say, "I feel incompetent when I walk into a room. I don't know where to start and what to do." But that is the reality of nursing. Unfortunately, the most we know about a patient is what the nurse tells us when changing shifts. We need to do our own assessments and know that there is always something to be done or said in a room. But of course, that comes with knowledge, experience, and confidence. I'm learning that I can't just simply write what the previous nurse wrote on her Kardex or documented. A great nurse goes through the whole nursing process, for every single patient she has.
During clinicals, grab hold of the opportunity to DO SOMETHING. Never let your clinical experience go by and all you had to do was watch. Again, there is always something new to be done, something needed to be said, and something great to be understood. Even if your patients are "stable," do something. Always strive to learn about another skill, about your patient, or about the environment that you surround yourself with. And in class, know the reason why you're learning something. Do not let your professors hinder you from learning. For instance, I've had a bad experience with pathophysiology, the professor still haunts me as my Med-surg professor, but that doesn't hinder me from learning. I read and I find lectures online. I do what I can so that I do not feel like I don't know anything. Make your nursing experience in school the absolute best. You and I have that choice to do so.
For the first-semester students out there, know that every subject has its purpose. Be it online or in-class, you have to do your best to understand and relate the subjects to your experiences. Get the knowledge that you need and be that student who keeps the end in mind. It's hard, especially for those who want the A. But what is the grade all about, when in the future, your job and your patient's life is always on the line? By keeping the end in mind, you're doing yourself a favor. For finals or the NCLEX, studying doesn't become learning all the information all over again; but rather, review, because you did all of the hard work in learning that in your classes. And when you finally are on the floor, you're more confident and have a better understanding of your patients and their cases.
If you want a magnificent artwork, you have to add the hues and more colors to your artwork. You got to be patient and know the strokes of the course. You have to be creative and use different brushes. Our canvas is big, and yet our short-sightedness makes our art black and white. But if you keep the end in mind, trust me, you will create and become a beautiful masterpiece.