Student Nurse - Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing
Class of 2017
Deciding to be a nurse wasn’t always part of my life plan. Being a dreamer (as children are), my young mind had me running empires, creating engineering marvels, or traveling through space. Despite being a first generation American, my parents were supportive of my career choices, even as they turned from one to another. Their only pre-requisite was that I had to be happy with what I do. This allowed me to pursue obsessions that I developed on an annual basis. I found myself leaning more towards health and biological sciences, and it was in high school where I realized that nursing could be my calling. It would be a career that would allow me to implement my enjoyment of health sciences while challenging me daily with new experiences. A nurse is the embodiment of the kind of person I want to be in life. I want to be someone who is trusted, responsible, and altruistic. If an emergency occurred, I want to be able to be a responder rather than a bystander. It might be a scary situation to be in, but I think it’d be much scarier doing nothing. As such, I applied to Hunter College through the Macaulay Honors program hoping to go into nursing school. I was fortunate enough to get through these hoops and hurdles to get to where I am today: a senior nursing student, getting ready to graduate in the spring of 2017 and Director of Professional Development in the student board.
Being in nursing school for the past few years has taught me a lot about the nursing process and myself. Being able to experience the hospital setting through my clinical courses allowed me to get a glimpse of what being a nurse is like. One of the aspects of nursing which I enjoy the most is being able to make a difference in people’s recovery. Anytime a patient says “thank you” or shows any sort of gratitude is amazing. As cliché as it sounds, makes all the work and pain worth it. We chose the nursing profession knowing that it was to help people; when we are told “thank you” it means we are doing our job right, and for many of us I believe that’s our driving force. Unfortunately, it can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Our patients are not always happy with our care, oftentimes because they do not understand or because of the situation in which they’re in. They’re stressed, agitated, and will often vent at us. We take criticism of our care harshly, and as much as words can make our day, they also have the power to hurt it too. As such, feeling unable to make a difference is also an aspect I am not fond of in nursing. However, it is something that we can learn to manage and use to grow as individuals and professionals.
I first learned about NYC Men in Nursing on my first day as a Nursing Companion at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center. I was being oriented on a med/surg floor where founding member Fidel Lim was also teaching a group of nursing students at their clinical rotation. Using what I assume were his keen instincts as an educator, he asked me instantly if I were a nursing student. After I said yes, he made it his goal to make sure I didn’t miss out on any learning opportunities that his students were able to experience. I still remember that deep pressure ulcer lesson to this day (I will probably never forget what undermining is thanks to him). At the end of the clinical day, Fidel told me about Men in Nursing and said that I should attend one of the meetings. I took his advice to heart and went to that month’s meeting where I learned how much bigger the world of nursing is. Here is a bunch of nurses from all around New York City sharing their experiences and collaborating to make nursing care better everywhere. Here is an organization that was breaking stereotypes and exceeding the public’s expectations of nurses everywhere. It was such a warm environment, and I am proud to join the Men in Nursing chapter where I hope to learn how much bigger everything is compared to myself.
One of my most memorable patients has to be a pediatric patient I once met at a PICU. He had a rare autoimmune disease that resulted in encephalitis. As a result, he was cognitively impaired and not always responsive to stimuli. Occasionally, he experienced neuro storms where his body would spasm and he would move violently. He seemed to be trapped in a body that wasn’t his. He took comfort with his parents but was not able to respond verbally. Before his condition, he was a completely normal teenager. It was heartbreaking to see him regress and his parents by his side every day. However, the thing that stuck out most to me was that I was able to see him improve. I saw him again a few weeks later and his condition improved drastically. Although he wasn’t completely himself yet, it was able to walk and make his needs known. It was one of the first times I’ve seen a patient of mine progress towards recovery. Too often, I come into clinical to meet a patient only to see them once. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more opportunities in the future, but as a student it really exemplified what our job is about.
As I get ready to become a licensed professional nurse (it still sounds hard to believe), I am filled with a sense of eagerness and melancholy. Eagerness to practice as a nurse, yet sad to leave the institution that helped me along the way. I have met so many wonderful friends and faculty that helped guide me along the way. It seems a bit disorientating to go out there alone. Of course, this is a bit silly, considering how I will be working with people who made helping their profession. Perhaps I am merely being nostalgic, or pensive about my performance as I start off a new job. Regardless, one thing I can say is that I am going to be the best nurse that I can be, and see where I can go from there.