By Olivia DeFilippo, RN and ThriveAP Contributor
They often say that nursing school is one of the hardest things you will ever do. I remember sitting there, terrified, while my teachers told me this on the first day. I looked around the lecture hall thinking “what in the world am I getting myself into?”.
Four years later, and I made it. I graduated with my BSN & now I am studying for the NCLEX. These past four years have been the craziest and most rewarding time of my life. I’ve pulled one too many all-nighters and cried more times that I can count on my hands but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The feeling you get when you walk across the stage to be pinned or when you get your diploma makes it all worthwhile.
As I walked across the stage with my best friends one of them said “Wow, I wish I wasn’t so hard on myself these past four years because all of us are here getting the same degree and going off to get jobs.” She is so right! Nursing school is difficult, throughout it all we were our own worst enemies. We were the first to put ourselves down over our grades and place abnormally high expectations on ourselves. If you are anything like us, you do the same. You want to be the best nurse you can be so you believe that getting a 90 on every exam will help. WRONG.
I’ll never forget the first day of my psychiatric clinical rotation when I was talking to a patient about his diagnosis. He explained to me that one day he woke up and started hearing voices. I sat there intrigued as he told me about how that moment changed his life forever. When I heard his story and the obstacles he faced, because of it I knew that psychiatric nursing was where I wanted to spend my entire career.
When I look back to my favorite moments in nursing school it is those moments of patient-interaction that stand out, not the day I got a 90% on my Med-Surg exam. Nursing isn’t about grades, it is about people. When your patient dies it doesn’t matter if you know the stages of grief, what matters is that you can help the family through it. As a nurse you are not only taking care of your patients – you are impacting their lives.
Nursing school isn’t easy because if it was everyone would do it. It is hard because it takes a truly passionate, hardworking individual to help patients through difficult times. If you are up all night studying for an exam or want to give up, remember that in the end it will all be worth it. In the end, you will become an RN and you will make a difference every single day.
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