Reflections on Studying Nursing at NCCC
By Ashley Herd, AAS Nursing, Spring 2019
As I am about to graduate from nursing school with an A.A.S in Nursing my mind is full, mostly of dreams for my future as a nurse - the lives I’ll impact, the skills I hope to attain, the specialty areas of nursing I want to work in someday, the amazing nurses I’ll get to work with. My dreams are tempered with a sense of underwhelming.
The end of school is finally here. I will be a “real” nurse soon who will be responsible for patient care, documenting, med passes, calls to the Dr at 3 am, giving change of shift reports, handling admissions and discharges, so many tasks it makes my head spin. Suddenly, I want to reapply to nursing school and go back to the safe world of the student. I don’t want to stop learning, or going through clinical rotations while surrounded by supportive skilled nurses and instructors guiding, watching and encouraging me every day. I want to explore more departments, see more surgeries, see more specialty areas of nursing, be able to watch task oriented nurses whose knowledge base blows my mind.
Then, I think about what it’s been like to have my life scheduled out in what’s due next for papers, exams, hesi’s, finals, clinical paperwork, mandatory Kaplan weekends and never ending deadlines that have been my constant companions for two years controlling my whole life. I wonder if, without those hindrances to learning, maybe I can be excited to start my third and unofficial year of nursing school. I’ve heard many amazing nurses call the post-school period where school is behind you and ahead is actual practice the third year of nursing school, aka where the real learning begins. I’ve been reassured that In this third year I won’t be on my own until ready, that I will finally learn all the things I felt were missed out on in nursing school, that every day is a clinical day, but I won’t have to move to another clinical site next week or have a mountain of clinical paperwork due the day before an exam. Instead I can focus on structuring my own practice while developing my clinical skills under one facilities policies instead of bouncing between school policies and different facilities policies which sounds delightfully grounding to a new nurse.
This support I’ve felt from the nursing community makes me feel like I’ve found the career path that’s perfect for a person whose never found contentment in complacency, who seeks challenge and thrives in a learning environment. I see in the nurses I’ve met such strength and knowledge that I look forward to joining the ranks. I want to implore of those whose nursing school memories have faded into solid confident practice to see how it feels to be facing all of you skilled nurses with fresh nurse minted all over myself, to know how much impact the kind words and guiding hands of the more seasoned nurse willing to shape the fragile practice of the new nurse will have on that third year of nursing school.