The Last Days of Nursing School
The last days of nursing school were very emotional and strange. My classmates gathered together to watch the short videos and presentations that summed up our experience of nursing school and many students cried as they watched the presentations. There were mixed feelings of relief that we had finally reached this moment in time, sadness that we would never sit in this classroom together like this again, regret over maybe not working harder or winning more awards or getting better grades or classmates that had not gotten to this point, and warmth over having shared this experience with good friends and classmates.
We gathered together for group photos afterwards and teachers came out to congratulate and talk with us. One teacher that I remember fondly, mistook me for another student. It was a startling realization that I was just one student in a waterfall of students in her career and that my very important-to-me nursing school experience was perhaps not very memorable or important to her. (I guess I'm just not a very memorable person? *goes to bawl in a corner*). Yes, it sort of momentarily cheapened the experience of nursing school for me, but I guess I can't take it personally since I have such a bad memory myself at times.
When the day was over, it felt wrong. I thought of all the places I could go eat with classmates after the next semester and realized that there would not be another semester. I felt sad. Change was happening and even though it was a good thing, I was sad to see the end of the four years of nursing school because I had developed friendships and habits that would need to change to adapt to what was coming next.
Graduation was over in the blink of an eye. We gathered on stage in our regalia and looked at our family and friends seated below us. We were in the lights and they were in the dark. Our minutes of fame ticked by quickly in a dreamlike state.
My sweet boyfriend (now fiance) fiddled with the cellophane on a bouquet of flowers for me, trying to make it perfect. I laughed in my mind and felt thankful that he was trying to make it perfect for me. My family was seated on the other side of the theater watching proudly. These were the wonderful people that had supported me through four years of nursing school. I felt proud of them and happy.
In a flurry of confetti and streamers, the ceremony was over. We ate delicious snacks and took pictures with each other. I felt like my classmates were getting farther and farther away already.
The Nursing License Exam
I bought every study guide possible and slowly worked my way through all of them. I also did all the online practice tests. By exam time, I was sickeningly bored of studying these books and ready to throw them out the window.
At the exam hall I had little squares of chocolate lined up in front of me. I worked my way through each of the exam questions, popping a chocolate as needed to energize me. There was enough time to finish all the questions and to check over about half of them before I ran out of time.
Outside, my sweetheart had a bouquet of flowers ready for me and a cute congratulations note. I didn't even pass the test yet, but he was proud of me for getting to this point. What a lovely man. I was relieved to be finally finished my exam.
Many weeks later, my classmates started getting the results to the exam. Most of them posted happy photos of the certificate showing that they had successfully passed their exam. I think I was the last person to get mine in the mail. I started to think that I had failed the exam and they were now sending me the "I'm sorry, but you failed" letter. However, the day after I emailed CRNBC and found out that all results were sent out at the same time, I received my very own certificate in the mail. I had passed (hallelujah!)
I was hired on at the hospital that I had been working as an employed student nurse. I was very happy because this was the ward that I had wanted to work on.
For the first 3-4 weeks, I had a buddy nurse to work with and I learned many things from them about what it's like to work as a real nurse by yourself. However, when I started to work by myself, I found out that it was very hard. There were so many things that I still didn't know how to do properly or that I had never done before.
Most of the nurses were very supportive, and some of them had very high or unrealistic expectations of a new grad nurse. I wasn't very good at asking for help when I needed it, and I didn't always know when I needed help. This made the first few weeks working by myself harder than it should have been. Thankfully, some of the nurses on the ward pointed out what a hard time I was having to the clinical nurse educator and I was able to get some extra guidance and support from her. Since then, it has become much nicer working on this ward. I am also more alert to situations that may be out of my skill level at this point and know when I need to ask for more help and support. It is an excellent learning experience.
I have so much more to tell you, but I have a night shift tonight. I better go get some sleep beforehand.
Have a great day!