We last left off at the conclusion of my third semester as a University of Maryland Baltimore nursing student. I wrapped up final exams and then enjoyed a relaxing week in Key West and Miami Beach (see below). Now, I have seven more days until classes resume on Tuesday, January 27th. In the meantime, I will be soaking up the last few days of break and the remainder of the month I have dubbed Lounge-uary.
By program design, over the course of my time at Maryland I have had fewer and fewer scheduled days on campus. This semester, I have class from 9-5 just one day per week. The rest of the time? Clinical hours. Specifically, one clinical day each week in conjunction with my Community Health course and 180 hours of clinical time as part of my senior practicum over the course of the semester. In senior practicum I will be paired with a nurse preceptor and work increasingly independently as time progresses. It’s the last supervised chance to hone my nursing skills before graduation. (Fear not, my future patients, most programs for new graduates advertise robust orientation programs.)
I was thinking back to this time last year when I was preparing to return to campus for a “skills day” – a day before classes started where we went through a series of stations make sure our basic nursing skills (hanging IV bags, doing physical assessments, putting medications through nasogastric tubes, etc) were up to snuff. In trying to compare my current feelings about returning to school with how I felt at this time last year, 2014’s anxiety has given way to 2015’s eagerness to resume classes. I feel much more competent after the several hundred hours of clinical exposure and instruction I received last year. Even though I still have loads to learn (not just this semester, but throughout my nursing career), when I picture myself working on a hospital floor, it doesn’t seem as preposterous as it did just one or even two years ago.
See you in a week, USG!