Thursday, July 22, 2010

In Celebration of Nursing

Posted by Katy
I just passed the NCLEX, which is the nursing licensure exam! It took me a humbling first attempt and much more confident successful attempt but now I am officially a New York RN! Som with that really good, relieving news I want to take some time to share some of the things I've enjoyed in this year of nursing school, several of which are quite surprising!

(1) I have enjoyed meeting all of the wonderful people with diverse backgrounds who completed the program with me. I learned so much meeting people from all over the country with interest and expertises including transgender health, dance, massage, art, and community organizing! I gained an enourmous amount of knowledge from and respect for my peers, they enriched the learning environment.

(2) Being here at Columbia has given me the opportunity to explore a sub-specialty in HIV/AIDS. Globally HIV is a disease that directly relates to the power of women and communities and the ability of women and families to maintain health and have healthy babies! Columbia's HIV sub-speciality focused not only on the treatment of HIV/AIDS, but more importantly on how to support people infected with HIV and communities where HIV is an issue (in otherwords, everywhere).

(3) Being able to attend lectures and rounds at a variety of deparments is a unique benefit of being in a large university setting. I have enjoyed the lectures at the Public Health school highlights of which have been on HIV/AIDS care in several African countries and panels of people who have gone to Haiti to aid in relief efforts. Even more especially, I have loved the Narrative Medicine Grand Rounds that occur every month and bring artists and authors who work and think in the realm of the body. These narrative rounds have sparked thought in me about the stories that mothers and families tell about their birthing experience and the centrality of that narrative to the work of the midwife.

(4) Therapeutic communication was the most important nursing skill that I learned, by far. These skills have helped me reify my intuitive ability to communicate effectively. It taught me how to help people by eliciting thoughtful conversation. Although my peers and I constantly made fun of lines like "tell me more" or reflection, they proved to be effective ways of guiding people into a healing mode of thought.

(5) I loved working with the patients I saw in integration, my final clinical. For this intensive clinical, I followed a nurse in the PACU at Corneil hospital for all her shifts. We cared for people post-operatively, mostly for ambulatory surgery and prostatectomy. Surprisingly, I most enjoyed caring for the 60 and 70 year-old men who had just had their prostates removed. I was able to use my incredible amount of nursing knowledge to ensure that these men had speedy, safe recoveries. I honed my therapeutic commuication skills in addressing concerns about sexual dysfunction, incontinence, and general loss of control. Discussing and guiding men through the procedure was an opportunity to explore aging and what it means to people. I was also able to apply my doula skills to aid in pain and anxiety relief!

I could go on and on about the things that I have loved about nursing. At this point I am not sure that this is a path I would chose to take again, and I am glad that it is over, but I might be too close to it to have appropriate insight! However, there are many parts of nursing that I love and will carry with me throughout my life and career, especially the patient interactions, the ideal nursing theories, and the wonderful people who have chosen to make nursing their lives and careers! I have gained a deep respect for nursing and nurses!

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