First Year Nursing

Have you ever been told to expect to change when you enter a program of study? Well I was never told that, but that is exactly what happened for me in my first year of nursing school. I think that is because, to become a good nurse you need to be self aware and understand where you stand in your own life. This was a real eye opener for me.

Waiting for my acceptance letter to come in was painful, and stressful. Then one day late in August 1994 I had planned to take my student loan back to the bank because I did not think that I had gotten into school. To my surprise I received a call from one of the instructors and they did a interview on the phone with me to see if they would like me to enter the program at Grant MacEwan College. I was ecstatic to finally hear something about the program that I wanted to get into. I still had to wait for them to call me and let me know that they would accept me into the program but I was just happy receiving a phone call for acknowledgement of my application.

September was coming really fast and the beginning of the school year. I was beginning to lose hope that I was going to school, then I received a call telling me that I had been accepted into the program and I had 5 days to get my life in order to go to school. I just could not believe that I had been accepted.

The first days of school I just did not feel like I fitted into the class. I just felt so different from the other class mates that I had. They all seemed to have their life all together and I was just on the road to discovery. I did make a friend the first couple of days, her name was Lori. We both seemed to fit together and make each other laugh and talk about life in the same terms.

A funny story that happened to us, we needed to get our CPR so we headed down to the course. We were having a good visit on the bus, then came the time to get off the bus, Lori was the first one off and a wind burst came up and dust was flying up in her face which blinded her and she ran into the bus shelter with her face squished against the clear plastic. It was just a loud thud you heard first then you saw the face flattened against the window. The look on her face was priceless she just did not know what hit her. She did not know how she ended up squished up against the window, she was so embarrassed because of the people on the bus saw what had happened to her. It took her a few minutes for her to orientate herself to what she was doing and where we were headed. We stood there for a few minutes just laughing at the situation that she had put herself into and then we went on our way to the class. The class went well and we passed the course and headed back home.

Having to look after sick individuals never really crossed my mind of what was involved. My first client that I had to look after was a older lady and she would use the bed pan to go to the bathroom. It would be a real test for me to empty the bed pad which I did not realize would be the breaking point for me. I went to take the bed pan away, the patient had defecated into the bed pan and I just about vomited from the smell. This reaction of almost vomiting from the smell shocked me and I was crying and told my teacher that I do not know if I have what it takes to do this kind of job. My teacher was a litterally perplexed with me as she did not understand where I was coming from. I just thought if this is how I am going to react with feces then this would not be the job for me. The instruction just said “we all go through these reactions in the beginning and you just need to put it behind you and try again.” Listening to my instructor I did exactly what she had said and I was successful. I knew what was happening and I was prepared for how I may react to the situation. I could not have been prouder of myself for not quitting at that point.

During nursing school you have a lot of group activities that you take part in. I remember this one project that I needed to do with a partner. We had made a jeopardy game of sexual transmitted diseases for the class to play. After the game was played the other students were able to critique the project. There was this one question that a student had asked that just made me see red. I literally saw red and do not remember what came out of my mouth. The only way I knew what had really happened was the instructor was videotaping the class and showed me the video after. I could not believe that I was so upset over a question about the game we put together. I knew I was sensitive but not that sensitive. The teacher asked “what happened?” all I could say was ” I saw red and did not have control over what I was saying, it just came out.” The teacher said that I should get some help with my emotions or they may get in the way of being successful in the program. This is the beginning of my journey in psychotherapy to find out my really issues from my childhood.

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