By Taylor Haniford, Nursing Student and ThriveAP Contributor
One thing I’ve learned about nursing school, is that you are constantly learning and changing along the way. In the beginning, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to go into, but as time went on, dreams began to change. I realized surgery wasn’t for me (Grey’s Anatomy had me hopeful), and you probably won’t find me irrigating out wounds as a wound or ostomy nurse. That’s the great thing about nursing school. It’s like practice in every area to see what actually sparks your interest.
Through my clinical experience, I’ve encountered doctors, nurses, and patients that have forever changed my outlook on nursing, for the better. They taught me what this profession really is about, and opened my eyes to the complexity of this job. When feeling doubtful or tired, I was reminded to always remember why I chose this as a career, and to not let the negative people along the way make me jaded. While nursing is about passing medications and providing patient care, it’s also about showing empathy, being humble, and becoming someone’s rock in a place of weak. Try finding that in a textbook.
I remember the whole range of emotions I felt when starting nursing school. Emotions of fear, happiness, and determination. As time went on I felt less prepared for what was to come, and started to accept what was going to be thrown at me. Welcome to nursing. To my surprise, things that I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy, actually sparked interest in me. For example, I never expected to enjoy the telemetry unit as much as I do. The patients and staff on that floor have opened my eyes to the cardiac world and all there is to offer. Keeping an open mind was something that has continued to help me grow as a person and nurse. Gaining experience within each field of nursing has helped me realize what I would potentially want to pursue in the future.
As a senior that is coming close to the finish line, one tip of advice I have for anyone starting nursing school is to keep an open mind. Don’t go into this thinking you have it all planned out, because plans will change and that’s ok. Keep high expectations for yourself and make realistic goals that you are able to work towards. Immerse yourself in the world of nursing in every way possible, and really understand all the layers it takes to be a good nurse. Take everything day by day and try to not overwhelm yourself with all the stuff in between. Don’t let the stress overshadow the reason you wanted to become a nurse in the first place.
Since starting this journey, I’ve grown more and more passionate about this career and all it has to offer. Spending countless hours in the library, missing out on special events, and having mini-heart attacks before every test really is worth it, one hundred percent. I’ve become a more observant, prepared, empathetic, and confident person. My life has forever been changed in the best way possible since choosing this as my career path. I’ve cried tears of joy with first time parents of a baby girl, held the fragile hand of a dying patient, and comforted the scared daughter of a father who was deteriorating from severe dementia. I’ve learned so much through clinical, and I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had for the world. And this is only the beginning.