When I contemplated nursing school, I would often hear that it was one of the most difficult academic programs to complete. Little did I know how accurate this statement was. I have completed multiple other programs and none would have prepared me for the rigor that nursing school brings about. However, what I can say is that the coursework and clinicals give a small inclination as what is expected once graduation and successful passing of clinical boards occurs. But nothing prepares a student for the mental and physical workload that comes on the first day of employment.
As I speak with the experienced nurses while preparing for graduation, I often query about how they prepared for their first day on the unit or in the clinic and I often hear ‘pray’ or ‘meditate’. And the second bit of advice that I hear is to ‘leave work at work and leave home at home’. Both of this tidbits of advice are excellent pieces of advise as they allow a medical provider to remain focused on the patients they are serving.
Prayer and meditation bring a level of centering and calmness to the soul and will keep the medical provider directly focused on the patient in a manner that allows them to excellent care and minimize risks of injury, errors or loss of life. This same place of centering and calmness can sometimes welcome the patient and give them the resolve they need to be receptive to medical care. A disastrous combination in a medical setting, especially a life- threatening, tense setting, is an upset, unfocused, provider and frightened patient.
Leaving everything at its perspective location is yet another great bit of advice. Bringing home troubles into the workplace forces the medical provider to have split focus which has the potential to lead to medication errors, misdiagnosis, improper medical care and other medical risks. Just as taking work home can cause domestic violence, child abuse, substance abuse or more.
Of the many things that I have gained from the experienced nurses that I have embraced during this nursing program is to find a way to remain calm and focused. It will keep my anxiety, especially my test anxiety, low. It will allow me to stay focused and provide the correct plan of care and understand the medications, diagnosis and be confident when discussing the patients with both our clinical and didactic instructors.
My current treatment is monthly therapy, quarterly self-care and consistent contact with a specific group of friends who ensure that I stay focused, with love. If a new student were to ask for advice on how to manage nursing school, I would offer the same advice that was provided to me from my mentors. Prayer and meditation and leaving everything in its perspective location. I would also suggest regular therapy, routine medical appointments (can’t be a medical provider and not be in the best of medical health), have regular self-care and keep a set of friends who know when to give you the love that you need (or a swift kick in the butt).