The pinning ceremony was lovely. There's something very personal and exciting when you know almost every single person walking across the stage. It's exciting being able to cheer everyone on as they walked across the stage and got pinned as Graduate Nurses! There's something very satisfying looking at all your instructors from various levels and stages of your nursing school career and being able to look them in the eyes and say "I did it!" (When really on the inside you just want to say 'hahaha take that I did it...how do you like me now?!'...or maybe I was the only one that wanted to do that?!)
We all go to take the Florence Nightingale Pledge which goes a little something like this:
"I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care."
My favorite part of the pledge, personally, "I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous." I was, however, a little sad that it meant I had to say goodbye to my wild and crazy past (hahaha...because you all know how crazy I can get...Going out to the movies and going to dinner is about as crazy as I get).
So...my tips for you future nursing students:
1 - Expect the unexpected...things are not going to happen the way you planned or how your instructor said things would go. You're going to have last minute changes, you're going to have to adapt, improvise, and overcome. It's not the end of the world! Take a deep breath, do NOT complain to your instructor, and go with the flow!
2 - Make time for yourself and your family...no, there's not a lot of free time! Choose a day where you can forget about your upcoming exams, never ending list of required reading, and utter chaos that comes along with school. You'll feel better after spending some R&R with your family.
3 - Go for a walk...it's common knowledge that you gain your freshman 15 all over again while in nursing school, however, a walk a day can keep the pounds away! It's also a great time to allow your mind to wander, go blank, or do whatever it pleases as you walk through someone else's green pastures! Also, it's free therapy! I don't know a single person in nursing school that doesn't jump on the opportunity to get something for free!!! :)
4 - Try and get a job as a tech...yeah the pay may not be great, the work is dirty, but it gets you experience working with patients...and it can be an "in" for you when it comes time to find a job as an RN!
5 - Heed your instructors advice...while some instructors do enjoy the site of weeping students, almost all of them want what's best for you. If they're telling you that you're not doing something right it's not because they're "nit-picking" it's because they're your instructor. They want to see you become the best that you can be and reach your full potential...plus they realize their lives may be in your hands one day!! :)
6 - Never be above anyone else...we're all in this boat together. Some of us are a little more weird and awkward (and sweat a lot more than your average Joe). But we all have the same doubts, fears, and excitement running through our heads. The sooner we realize we're in this together the better we will be. Nursing isn't a competition.....it's collaboration (That should sounds familiar)...the moment you think you're better than someone and don't have the time to show someone the ropes...that's when you become the nurse you never wanted to be.
7 - My advice is never ending...but if I told you everything then you wouldn't learn it for yourself!! ;)
So I will finish this post of the way our Nursing Director did for us tonight at our pinning ceremony:
"You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
and YOU are the one
who'll decide where to go..."
- Dr. Seuss