Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Relative Quiet

With the dying of my patient last week, the transfer of a time-consuming patient to a nursing home, and another patient discharged from the hospital today, there is a temporary lull in the proverbial storm. Thank you, Powers That Be!

Luckily, my work life has taken a turn towards quiet this week as things at home are in full swing. Our newly renovated basement apartment is now rented, a painting party last night (including the new tenants) finished a first coat on almost all of the walls, and that home-under-construction feeling is almost done, the operative word here being "almost". Until the new tenants have moved in, the small touches and fixes completed, and a sense of normalcy ensues, I won't feel completely able to rest at home. It's recently seemed like we're under seige, with the normal routines somewhat convoluted and the fabric of our daily lives slightly altered. When is life not altering in some unforgiving way, you ask? Rarely is it not, but the crispness and coolness of autumn will be welcome as the home-front settles down.

Four weeks into my third semester of teaching nursing, my prep-work from last year is now bearing fruit. Without having to study, take notes, prepare lectures, and create overheads every week, I am relieved of the constant preparation and now feel like I can more fully enjoy teaching, although those 13-hour Thursdays are wearing at times. Nonetheless, I love sharing my knowledge---such as it is---and trying to inspire yet another group of interested adults as they enter the nursing world. It's one thing to discuss pathophysiology and medications, but it's a completely different pursuit to actually explain what one does as a nurse, especially when speaking of the intangible, the ethereal, the energetic/intuitive aspects---this is the "art" of nursing. One must not forget the pathophys, but one must also bear in mind the humanity of the person behind that anatomy and that illness. Memorization can get one just so far, and then the emotional and spiritual aspects of one's self must emerge and connect with others meaningfully. Imparting this is a challenge, especially in a classroom setting. I hope that my colleagues on the clinical front can take time to address the real human needs of our students' patients. It is still humbling to teach, and even more humbling to know that my words are guiding and shaping human minds that will directly address the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the ill and dying.

May my words be effective in communicating what needs to be said clearly and efficiently. May these students go out into the world and touch others in a way which is always effective and occasionally transformational. May I also simply make it through each day and come out the other side.
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