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Weanne Myrrh. 20. Filipina Seventh-day Adventist.

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Monday, May 11
TOP 12 THINGS I LEARNED FROM NURSING


So I’ve been a nursing clinical student for quite some time now, roughly seven months. And even though I still have a long, long way to go before I can call myself a real honest-to-goodness nurse, I have learned several things that I believe would be very very very useful to future nursing students and perhaps entertaining to them envied registered nurses. So read on, and feel free to add lessons of your own at the comment box. J Welcome to the crazy world of Nursing.

TOP 12 THINGS I’VE LEARNED FROM BEING A NURSING STUDENT

  1. That nursing is cruel to vegetarians. A nursing student has to eat – which is why they invented fastfood restaurants. They are the student nurses’ best sources of breakfast, lunch, and sometimes even supper while on duty. They are critical to sustaining the student’s ATP-producing processes (in other words, energy) in order to avoid episodes of syncope (fancy word for fainting). Unfortunately, most of these restaurants are not very animal friendly. So while you, the faithful vegetarian, are munching on mushy, oil-dipped fries, fries, and oh, fries (or if your lucky, Chowking tofu), your blockmates are feasting on Go Large chicken fillets, Big Macs and Hotshots. Oh the unjustice of it all. You’d think that after listening to the Cardiovascular System lecture about how cholesterol builds up in the arteries and causes atherosclerosis (or arteriosclerosis – forgot which is which. Sorry Ma’am Da), nursing students would be a little bit more careful about their daily fat intake. But sorry honey, that’s wishful thinking. As McDonalds and KFC would be happy to know, the College of Nursing’s appetite for dead animal carcasses covered in crunchy breading is still unbelievably strong. Ugh.
  2. That no matter how close you are to your clinical instructor, there is still that tiny, tiny line you must never cross. Because at the end of the day, no matter how crazy cool they are, no matter how close your age difference is and no matter how many jokes, food or make-up tips you exchange, they are still your superiors and ultimately, THEY DECIDE ON YOUR GRADE. So respect them and do not, I repeat, DO NOT ever piss them off. Unless you’re masochistic or something. Understood? UNDERSTOOD?!? Good.
  3. That an intradermal injection hurts. Which my patient at the OB ward would probably testify to after I pierced through her skin three times with my shaking, freaking Richter Intensity 7 - fingers.
  4. That you must always read labels on containers before using them. Especially when you’re on NOC duty in the operating room with no running water. Trust me. Or else you’ll find out that what you thought was water in a bottle is actually formalin in a bottle. And you’ll discover this only after your oh-so-delicate skin turns red with irritation because you scrubbed your entire arm with it. (Yup, true story. Oh well, at least my arm will be preserved after I die. Bright side.)
  5. That after eight hours of monitoring hourly urine outputs, three hours of scrubbing in on an exploratory laparotomy, four minutes of changing adult diapers, and ten seconds of dressing a viciously infected scrotum, you will become officially immune to blood, gore, sputum, pus, projectile vomiting, rotting body parts, urine, feces, and other pleasant things. Nothing will ever faze you again. Nuh-uh. I can witness all that and still munch on aforementioned mushy fries an hour later. Just all in a day’s work.
  6. That labor and delivery is the most unglamorous, most difficult experience facing today’s women (and sometimes even 14-year old teens). I’ve watched a full term pregnant mother experience intense uterine contractions for three hours, gripping the DR table’s handlebars (or whatever they’re called) with such intensity I thought they would shatter, pooing a little with every vigorous push, exposing all her body parts for all the world to gawk at.. My goodness… I tell you… Childbirth is not for the fainthearted. (Guys, just imagine something as big as a football coming out of your pee-pees. Not so nice, huh?) Our mothers literally went through hell for us, and what do we give them? Hell in return? Tsktsk… As Ma’am Cadalig eloquently put it in our Fundamentals of Nursing Class, “Yang sakit na nararamdaman niyo pag nakipagbreak ang boyfriend niyo sa inyo? WALANG WALA YAN KOMPARA SA LABOR PAINS!” LET US LOVE OUR MOTHERS!!!
  7. That micropore tape is a nursing student’s best friend. Future nursing students, students of all courses, I am about to educate you on the best, most well-kept secret in the duty world. This is a trick I’m proud to have perfected. Here’s the situation: You are charting your Nurses’ Notes at the Manila Adventist Medical Center, notorious for its meticulous graphs and squeaky clean charts. You’re just about to finish, when suddenly that cute male staff nurse you’ve been crushing on passes by, and you accidentally write down “rectal cannula” instead of “nasal cannula.” OOOPS – that’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. So rather than rechart the entire thing complete with the patient’s vital signs, medications and progress for the past week, the student nurse should just follow these simple, do-it-yourself instructions: 1.Get a short strip of Micropore tape. 2.Roll up said strip into a ball. 3.Dab the ball into the area of error as many times as needed to complete blot out the error.
    Note: Do this carefully and delicately as not to rip out or damage the paper.
    You can try this at home if you don’t believe me. It’s pure genius. As the saying goes, “No one’s perfect, that’s why nurses have Micropore.” Haha.
  8. That it doesn’t matter how many hours you spent reviewing your notes, how big your eyebags have gotten in burning the midnight oil, how many cups of Nescafe you brewed in six hours – the exam will always be about something that you didn’t study for. You’ll always end up screwing your previously memorized anatomy of the respiratory system and relying instead on good ol’ common sense and your mother’s prayers.
  9. That you must photocopy your accomplished OR and DR scrubs from your skills booklet. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Don’t be the idiot who lost her skills booklet (which is practically like, a clinical’s Bible), and had to visit all the hospitals again in hopes of having her scrubs signed again. That idiot = yours truly.
  10. That your smile must radiate from your eyes. Because if ever you’re blocked in the Mandaluyong City Medical Center, famed for the unique scent of its male ward, you will be required to wear a mask – a mask that will cover up your toothy, heart-melting smile. I only noticed this after I smiled comfortingly at my liver cirrhosis patient only to have him stare blankly back. It was then that I realized that I was wearing a mask. Not good. A nurse is only as good as her smile. So I set out on a new mission – to radiate warmth and empathy not from my lips but from my pupils. Which is more difficult than it sounds, because while the mouth can lie, the eyes don’t. It’s not something you can practice in front of a mirror, it’s something that must be sincerely felt by the heart and expressed by the soul. I’m still working on it.
  11. That you don’t have to be the smartest or the most skilled in order to be the best nurse – you only have to be the kindest. Refer to my other blog “Nurses’ Notes” for details.
  12. That you are infinitely blessed. Because no matter how exhausted you are at the end of the shift, no matter how frazzled your hair is after you’ve finished changing a patient’s bed, no matter how many nails you chipped in cleaning up the operating room instruments, you are on the better side of the hospital bed. You are the nurse and you are not the patient. You have been blessed with the gift of health, given so that you may restore health to others in return. This is your gift, this is the call you have accepted, and this is the lesson you have to learn far above everything else.