September 01, 2016

What I've Learned in the Past 365 Days

One year ago I started my journey to become a nurse. Today, exactly three hundred & sixty five days later, I can happily (and finally) say I have successfully completed that journey! It was quite the year to say the least, with many ups and downs, but I can confidently say that I am a different person than I was a year ago.. in the best possible way! I have grown as a person and learned more than I could have ever possibly imagined, in what seems like no time at all. Never underestimate the amount of knowledge you can learn, it is truly amazing.

In the past year I have learned all about the nursing process, therapeutic communication, and how to provide the best and safest patient care that I can. I have learned all the technical aspects of nursing - how to take a blood pressure, insert a foley catheter, perform an electrocardiogram, and administer an intramuscular injection. I have learned how to perform a complete head-to-toe assessment on all patients, from newborns to the elderly. In the past year I have spent hours memorizing different medications, their uses, side effects, and nursing implications. I was taught how to participate in a code to help save someone's life, and how to holistically treat a patient in spirit, mind, and body. All of this knowledge was necessary for me to learn in order to become a nurse, and is still only the tip of the iceberg of everything I have been taught in the past year.

Of all the knowledge I have gained in the past year, I think the most important lessons I have learned were things that could not be taught in the classroom. I learned to have a greater appreciation for this thing we call life and about the delicacy of that life. No day is a guarantee but instead a gift, and you never know what life can throw at you tomorrow when you wake up. I learned about human suffering, and have been amazed at the strength people have to face their battles each and every day. The stories of strangers have both warmed and broken my heart. Patients and families have let me into their world on some of the best days of their lives, but more often on some of the worst - both I consider a special privilege to be a part of.

This past year has taught me how to be kinder, less judgmental, and much more open to new experiences. You never know what you might like or how you might feel until you give it a try, just say yes. I have learned to take the good days with the bad days, and that we can gain something from each. Even the things you dislike the most have something to teach you. Just keep an open mind - I promise, from experience, that it will be okay, and you will walk away better than you were before.

I discovered that giving up is not an option even when it feels like the only option in the world. There were days where I went back and forth with what I was doing with my life. I struggled with feeling as though I had made a mistake, that I was not cut out to be a nurse. In all honesty, I seriously questioned if I even wanted to be a nurse. I almost gave up, but, something told me to just keep pushing forward, and so I did. Not giving up was one of the best decisions I could have made, second to my original decision to become a nurse. I wouldn't be where I am today or the person I am today if I had acted on those fleeting emotions. Thank goodness I didn't. I am honored and grateful to be able to call myself a nurse, and it is a title I will forever be proud of.

I am truly amazed at how far I have come in one short year. However, I know that the learning doesn't end here, it is merely the beginning. As bittersweet as it is to say goodbye, I am excited to see what's next in this wonderful journey. The possibilities are endless, and this is only the beginning of a career, that although at times may be a challenge, is so so worth it. I am forever thankful for the past three hundred & sixty five days.

 A special thank you to the Quinnipiac Accelerated Nursing Class of 2016. We endured a year that may people would consider crazy, but we did it together. I am honored to be graduating amongst some of the smartest and most caring people, who I have no doubts will make the some of the best nurses. Congratulations! We did it. It's time for us to go take on the world. 

xo. G 

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