Monday, June 01, 2009

Surviving Nursing School

Today I met with a new friend who just finished his first year of nursing school. Listening to his (almost universal) story of the travails of nursing education, my mind wanders back to just how difficult it all was, even as the rose-colored glasses of time filter out the suffering that such an experience entailed.

It's funny how one cannot altogether remember pain. Even women who have been through childbirth often say that they know it was the most painful experience of their lives, but they simply can't conjure up the intensity of the moment. The human brain and body are so self-protective. We easily allow the vicissitudes of life to be covered over with the mental cobwebs of forgetfulness, and I guess that's a good thing.

So, back to nursing school. Why do nursing professors so often make it a living hell? Why does it have to feel like boot camp? If nurses still eat their young, is it assumed that it's best to prepare nursing students for their eventual consumption by roasting them alive as they're educated?

Even though I can't remember my specific complaints about nursing school (and there were two different schools through which I ushered myself), it was indeed a painstaking experience peppered with struggle and angst (especially as an Associate Degree candidate).

All nursing students have my sympathy as they ride the waves of nursing education, often faced with jaded professors and clinical preceptors. Still, there are always gems amidst the stress and heartache, and there were several educators for whom I had the highest esteem and regard.

Yes, we are the most trusted and respected professionals in America, but the process of becoming a nurse can often be rather difficult and distasteful. As Brad Roberts of the Crash Test Dummies once sang: "It's not as bad as eating one's own liver, but I'd like to think that there are better methods."
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