Prosaic Paradise

Campaign for the Mundane

Revisiting My Hospital Stay

Filed under health,School by at 2:00 pm on Dec 11 2009

…from a future Nursing student perspective.

I keep thinking about what one tech said to me as she was poking around for a vein to take blood. I had asked her, like I asked every single human in scrubs who entered my room because I was trapped in bed and shameless, where she went to school. She was in the nursing program at HCC. I asked her if she liked it.

No one likes nursing school.” She said this with conviction and without hesitation.

Not what you want to hear when you know that next year you get to take your first actual nursing classes, that you will finally be moving beyond basic sciences. And you’ve been kind of excited about it. Excited enough that you went to the library and checked out a first semester Nursing textbook just to feel out how things are going to go. I mean, how can you not like something you not only opted in for but busted your ass to get into? You are kind of required to self-justify right?

So I pressed back a little. I mean, I know it’s hard work, but there is some reward, right? She asked me about my own background and we figured out I’m a bit older than her. The next thing she said kind of threw me, because I’m a pollyanna and always think the best of everyone. And I also like to think that the person jabbing a needle into me in several places has critical thinking skills.

“Maybe it wouldn’t suck if I were older and had some critical thinking skills.”

My first thought was, I am older, and I have those! Maybe it won’t suck for me as much. My second thought was, really? You don’t have any? Even asking that question seems to indicate you have some.

During my short three day stay in the hospital I met RNs, BSNs, moonlighting military nurses (in the ER) and one particularly gregarious and helpful nurse who was a graduate of the hospital-based diploma system. Most of the techs were in school as well, and were even more willing to talk about it. This was the silver lining of my hospital stay, getting to talk to people in the profession. They were patient with my endless questions, and I was grateful for that.

I only had one frustrating experience while I was there. On my first full morning there was a period of many hours where I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink (in case I needed surgery) but also had my IV bag left in the room without being hooked up. Several techs tried to take my blood but it was moving like molasses, and none of them were allowed to hook up the IV. All I could do was stare longingly at that bag of sugar water and page the nurse at a respectful interval. (Or what I hoped was respectful anyways.) Finally, I called the desk in tears, because the IV also was going to deliver me pain medicine. The new shift nurse came up immediately and hooked me up.

While there could be a thousand reasons why I waited for that IV, later as I started to feel better and got up and walked the hall a little, it was pretty clear to me. I was almost certainly the least sick person in the place. I was awake and alert. My periodic vitals and checks and meds were probably the easiest job these nurses had today. Thinking about all the nursing blogs I read helped me understand a little why maybe my IV wasn’t at the top of the list. It gave me better patience over the course of my stay there. And is another reason why I think policies discouraging medical professionals from blogging at all are going in the wrong direction.

In a strange way, it made me glad I had this experience before I take my first nursing class. I mean, no one is glad to have to be in the hospital, but it gave me some clarity and positivity about my chosen path. Reading all the blogs and the nursing student twitter stream at GoStudentNurse make me itch to be included and to really understand. But I still have to be patient.

10 Responses to “Revisiting My Hospital Stay”

  1. 1 Tomon 11 Dec 2009 at 2:52 pm

    It’s true, not everyone likes nursing school. It is also true, with maturity and some critical thinking skills one will do better, and the experience seem less odious, than without. That said, it still will not be easy. I believe I’ve mentioned to you that I started my BSN program after four years as a USN Hospital Corpsman. It’s true I, personally, learned very little about *hands-on* nursing that I didn’t already know.

    What I did learn, what is actually the more difficult thing to learn, is how to THINK like a nurse. How to gather the data, assess it, and come up with the plan to correct the problems. Then do it again to assess how successful you were implementing the plan. Most people do not see this; it is all thought process and therefor invisible. Often, truly, invisible even to the practitioner after they’ve learned it.

    I’m not sure I’d care to *repeat* nursing school; I regret not one second of completing it. I most assuredly do not want to repeat Board of Nursing licensing examinations, nor my CNOR certification examinations. Those are some tough, tough tests. The thing is this… those occasions are not the last time you will ‘take’ that test. You’ll take it every single time you care for every single patient you will meet.


    Kim Reply:

    Thank you for your comment.

    I know it won’t be easy. I am not really sure what else I can do to prepare myself except try to meditate and go in with as much energy and optimism as I can muster.


  2. 2 Genieon 13 Dec 2009 at 1:39 pm

    I got an email back from my delivery nurse Miranda today thanking me for her gift and note. She said that meeting families like ours and working with them was the best thing ever and she loved her job. So maybe think about how rewarding the end result will be, and hopefully the school part will be equally rewarding.


    Kim Reply:

    Remind me of this late next year please!! :)


  3. 3 Stimeyon 17 Dec 2009 at 3:58 pm

    My sister is a doctor who is still a resident and she and two other members of her family have been in the hospital recently. Every time she’s said that being a patient makes her a better doctor because she learns how it feels.


    Kim Reply:

    Hey! Thanks for stopping by. I definitely want to remember what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the care when I start clinicals eventually. I hope everyone in your family is on the mend though!


  4. 4 Jeanneon 22 Dec 2009 at 12:58 pm

    I just want you to know that I really enjoyed nursing school–it was challenging for a multitude of reasons, but conquering those challenges was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I was older as well and older is a definite plus when it comes to nursing school. Twenty years later, I still remember nursing school with fondness and I still love being a nurse. Attitude is everything–so go with that feeling of excitement and enjoy the experience.


    Kim Reply:

    Thanks for stopping to comment! This is exactly what I feel – I am excited about it and I plan to try to keep that attitude.


  5. 5 It’s a Merry Christmas Change of Shift! // Emergiblogon 24 Dec 2009 at 6:21 pm

    […] from the other side of the gurney. Kim at Prosaic Paradise describes her experience as a patient in Revisiting My Hospital Stay. She starts her nursing education soon – welcome to the profession, […]

  6. 6 Laneyon 22 Jan 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Even though nursing school is sometimes hellacious and there is nothing else like it, it is truly an amazing experience. You’ll be great!


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