Here's what I've learned so far.
- Fairness counts to me. Very much. We just took our third exam yesterday and it contained numerous questions that were just plain unfair. Either our instructors had told us that we wouldn't be tested on that information, or it was "taught" by an instructor who informed us that class would be short on that day because she wanted to get home in time to take her children trick or treating, or it just wasn't covered either in class or our book. I got a 79.8 on that exam (which destroyed my chances of getting an A in the course) and most of my fellow students did worse than I did. None of us are happy about that exam. It wasn't fair.
- I have a massive ego. Why was that A so important to me? I try to justify that burning desire by explaining that the airline I use to get back and forth from home to classes gives me a 25% discount on airfare for a 4.0 GPA and only a 15% discount for a 3.8 (which is about what I'll have after this class), but as my sister pointed out, that represents approximately $6 per flight. Who but an egomaniac whips themselves into a frenzy over $6?
- I was born to be a nurse. I love staring at wounds and dead tissue and think bowel sounds are absolutely fascinating. The smell of poop doesn't make me gag. I can find the good in every patient with whom I interact - even the really cranky ones. And, when I come in contact with a nurse (a real one, not a student) who doesn't put patient care first I find myself wanting to take her "out back" and show her "what for".
- I'm really, truly NOT a morning person. Our clinical experience in the hospital starts bright and early (0630) every Thursday and when the alarm goes off at 5 am I've gotten maybe 4 hours of sleep. I just can't nod off at 9 pm. My clinical hours for next semester will be from 2:30 through 8:30 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Ahhh.
- One can never have too many individually sealed alcohol wipes;
- It is easier to learn to use a stethoscope if you don't have too much wax in your ears;
- First semester nursing students should buy scrub pants with elastic waists (ice cream is an excellent coping mechanism) and
- If your instructor is having a bad day, chances are that you will too.