“Remember class, you have your assignment that is due next week, your midterm on Friday and your essay the follow week after that. And don’t forget that online assignment that is worth 15% of your mark due at midnight. No exceptions.”
This was your typical nursing class, but multiply this by four or five of your classes and clearly you had no life.
If anyone says to you that nursing school is easy or if you know any nursing students or nurses who said that nursing school was easy for them, let me be the first out of many people to say this to you:
THEY ARE LIARS.
Nursing school perhaps was one of my most intense programs I have taken but I will say that it was also the one that I was most focused on. From first year straight to your final year, your nights are filled with studying and doing assignments and writing essays, and preparing clinicals. The only thing I was spreading in my bed at nights were the pages of my Nursing Potter and Perry Medical Surgical textbook.
Yes it was that bad.
Perhaps my driving force was that I was paying for this all by myself without the financial assistance of my parents, especially my father who still thought of being a nurse was absurd. What he and others failed to understand was that nursing school was like being in the military. You were up early in the morning for either classes or clinicals, and were at home when it was dark. At times you had to help your fellow comrades who were sinking while you watched others die (well in this case fail or drop out the program) on their own accord. Nursing school also made me realize that were some people who were just not fit to be nurses and should be banned from even touching a blood pressure cuff. I use to call these lost poor souls “Grassclippings”. Why?
Because they literally had an IQ of a grassclipping.
My case in point exhibit A: One day in lab, we were practising on how to insert a foley urinary catheter on a mannequin female patient. One student (who thought she was Miss know-it-all) was eager to go first. As she laid out her equipment she failed to notice that the previous person who had used the mannequin had attached the genitalia upside down (don’t ask) so the anus was on top and the urethra and vagina were at the bottom (you’d think that a nursing student, particularly a FEMALE NURSING STUDENT would have noticed this.) She went on her way and when she tried to insert the foley catheter she immediately noticed it was not going in.
Her face reddened.
Myself and the other students (who were quite aware of what had occurred) decided we would just watch her as she made a fool out of herself.
The instructor stopped her. “Uhm, Jane. Ok, stop. Before we continue can you tell me what is wrong with the mannequin’s anatomy?”
Jane stared at it for a couple of seconds. “Nothing.”
“Are you sure?” The instructor said.
Jane paused before she nodded. “Yeah I think it’s fine.”
Inside my head I felt like pushing Jane across the room. Is Jane that blind of her own anatomy that she can’t tell that it’s upside down on the mannequin?
Frustrated, I put my hand up.
“Yes,” the instructor pointed at me.
“Maybe perhaps Jane is having problems because the anatomy is upside down?”
“BINGO!” the instructor said staring at Jane.
Jane still stood there with the catheter in her hand. “But this is suppose to go in the urethra and the urethra is ALWAYS in that area. ”
The instructor scratched her head. “Yes but honey, look at the anatomy. It is upside down. You need to turn the anatomy right side up.”
Jane shook her head. “Well that is dumb. Who would do that? That is so confusing.”
The instructor though trying to remain calm voiced her frustration which obviously came out insulting. “Well maybe perhaps you need to study your own anatomy first before you start playing with others.”
The other students laughed.
Jane still stood there high and mighty as if we were the idiots.
There were other sad pitiful stories that occurred from just pure stupidity throughout nursing school. One student proudly thought that UTI stood for “University of Toronto Institute” instead of urinary tract infection. One student proudly argued with her clinical instructor that Warfarin, an anticoagulant blood thinner was Tylenol (ironically I never saw her ever again after second year…gee go figure.) One student was so grossed out by the site of a patient’s rather large bowel movement that he threw up on the floor beside the patient’s bed and then try to shift the blame onto the patient when the nurse came in inquiring about the mess on the floor.
Then of course there was the infamous “The Wood” incident in one of my lab classes. There was one student who for the life of god could not comprehend the concept of why it was not a good idea to continue washing a gentleman’s penis while he was erect. Now I would understand that if she was younger and not sexually experienced, but this was a woman was married with two children.
Yes…another unfortunate grassclipping.
The instructor cleared her throat. “So, if that ever happens to you class, you simply stop what you are doing, cover him up and tell him you will be back later.”
“So why can’t you just keep washing him ?” asked the married mother of two nursing student.
I was standing beside my friend Melanie and we both gave each other a look.
“Is she for real?” she asked.
I lowered my head down shaking in shame.
The instructor attempted to answer her without insulting her. “Well honey, because that will get him more excited.”
“Oh okay, ” the mother said. “But can’t he just not get himself excited and tell you no? I mean I don’t get it, if he needs to be clean he needs to be clean. I don’t see why you can’t continue washing it. ”
I bit my tongue.
The instructor’s face got slight annoyed. “Honey, if you continue cleaning him you will end up with more of a mess.”
“How? he is getting clean. What more of a mess can he make?”
Melanie gave me the “Pray for her father Jesus” look. I was too busy giving the mother of two that “But you are married with two children?!! Are you that sheltered?!” look.
The instructor, running out of life lines, simply decided to ignore her.
It took a full 5 minutes before the mother of two said “OH I GET IT NOW” when were discussing on wound care dressings.
Jesus take the wheel.
I was in my room studying when my dad opened the door.
I shot him a look. “Yes?”
“Can I talk to you?”
“Listen, I wanted to talk to you about your schooling.”
I rolled my eyes. “What?”
“I just wanted to know what your next path is going to be ? How long is this going to take you?”
“Dad you keep asking me the same questions and I keep giving you the same answers. It is not gonna change.”
My dad remained silent.
“Listen, I know what I am doing and quite frankly I like it. ”
“Is that right?”
“Yes, that is right. My god dad will stop being closed minded?”
My dad turned around shook his left as he went to the door. “I still think you should be a doctor. You are more smarter to be a nurse.” He closed the door.
I stared at my bedroom door with mixed emotions, the silence deafening my concentration.
——-Stay tuned for Episode 3: nursing school.. the final years—
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