The Little Things.

“Yesterday I overheard a nursing student snark, “yeah, this is why I’m in nursing school – so I can pass trays.” And if I hadn’t been up to my eyeballs in other things to do for my patients, I would have stopped and said: You’ve already missed the point entirely.

I’m not sure why you DO think you’re here. If you hope to be a good nurse (or coworker, or person with a heart), you’re going to spend the majority of your working life doing things you SO mistakenly think are beneath you. You are going to pass trays with a smile – excitement even, when your patient finally gets to try clear liquids. You will even open the milk and butter the toast and cut the meat. You will feed full-grown adults from those trays, bite by tedious, hard-to-swallow bite. You will, at times, get your own vital signs or glucoscans, empty Foley bags and bedside commodes without thinking twice. You will reposition the same person, move the same three pillows, 27 times in one shift because they can’t get comfortable. You will not only help bathe patients, but wash and dry between the toes they can’t reach. Lotion and apply deodorant. Scratch backs. Nystatin powder skin folds. Comb hair. Carefully brush teeth and dentures. Shave an old man’s wrinkled face. Because these things make them feel more human again.

You will NOT delegate every “code brown,” and you will handle them with a mix of grace and humor so as not to humiliate someone who already feels quite small. You will change ostomy appliances and redress infected and necrotic wounds and smell smells that stay with you, and you will work hard not to show how disgusted you may feel because you will remember that this person can’t walk away from what you have only to face for a few moments.

You will fetch ice and tissues and an extra blanket and hunt down an applesauce when you know you don’t have time to. You will listen sincerely to your patient vent when you know you don’t have time to. You will hug a family member, hear them out, encourage them, bring them coffee the way they like it, answer what you may feel are “stupid” questions – twice even – when you don’t have time to.

You won’t always eat when you’re hungry or pee when you need to because there’s usually something more important to do. You’ll be aggravated by Q2 narcotic pushes, but keenly aware that the person who requires them is far more put upon.

You will navigate unbelievably messy family dramas, and you will be griped at for things you have no control over, and be talked down to, and you will remain calm and respectful (even though you’ll surely say what you really felt to your coworkers later), because you will try your best to stay mindful of the fact that while this is your everyday, it’s this patient or family’s high-stress situation, a potential tragedy in the making.

Many days you won’t feel like doing any of these things, but you’ll shelve your own feelings and do them the best you can anyway. HIPAA will prevent you from telling friends, family, and Facebook what your work is really like. They’ll guess based off what ridiculousness Gray’s Anatomy and the like make of it, and you’ll just have to haha at the poop and puke jokes. But your coworkers will get it, the way this work of nursing fills and breaks, fills and breaks your heart. Fellow nurses, doctors, NPs and PAs, CNAs and PCAs, unit clerks, phlebotomists, respiratory therapists, physical and occupational therapists, speech therapists, transport, radiology, telemetry, pharmacy techs, lab, even dietary and housekeeping — it’s a team sport. And you’re not set above the rest as captain. You will see you need each other, not just to complete the obvious tasks but to laugh and cry and laugh again about these things only someone else who’s really been there can understand.

You will see clearly that critical thinking about and careful delivery of medications are only part of the very necessary care you must provide. Blood gushing adrenaline-pumping code blue ribs breaking beneath your CPR hands moments are also part, but they’re not what it’s all about. The “little” stuff is rarely small. It’s heavy and you can’t carry it by yourself. So yes, little nursling, you are here to pass



Reposted from: Whitney Koenig

A New Shift.

It’s been an incredibly busy term, so I haven’t had much time to keep up with my blog or really not think about anything outside of school. Since i’ve come back from my trip in the UK i’ve felt like I had to hit the ground running trying to keep up with all my work.

I’ve honestly really dreaded this term, moreso for the school aspect. To be honest, I think I say this every term, but really you think you’ve conquered one mountain (the last mountain) in nursing school only to be hit with another 2. That’s literally how nursing school feels like at times.

Pathophysiology has really kicked up a notch and now the midterms are over (I did okay), I still don’t feel like i’m sitting in a great spot walking into a full year cumulative exam. Considering I witnessed a number of people sitting in a similar spot fail pharmacology last term and have to stay back a year. Then on the other hand, I thought microbiology would be an okay course, but after that midterm yesterday i’m honestly starting to feel really discouraged with the whole course. It made me even more angry to hear her blame the students for “reading the questions” in the wrong lens, rather than accepting that maybe she made the exam too hard. I find it highly doubtful that 150 people (half the class on the left of the curve) are really that incompetent considering they made it this far in the program.

I think the only part i’ve really enjoyed about this term has been my clinical. As much as I hated how much the strike disrupted my term last semester, I’m really glad i’ve gotten to experience some 12 hour shifts. As exhausting as they are, they actually go by relatively quickly and it’s a great learning experience to actually spend a whole day on a single patient. I was fortunate enough to get to sit in on an endoscopy and colonoscopy and see what the procedure actually looks like and what the physicians look for and then the role of the surgical nurses and what part they play in the procedure and administering and maintain the anaesthesia. I was super fortunate that my patient was willing to let me use that as a learning experience considering how invasive the procedure is. My group as a whole have got to do some pretty cool things, like watching a toe get amputated (not super jealous considering I hate bones), injections almost every week, VRE swabs, or getting to go down to watch hemodialysis with their patients.

To be honest, I know i’ve mentioned it multiple times but I didn’t think i’d enjoy general medicine as much as I have so far. I know it’s definitely not an area I would want to work long-term post graduation, but it’s honestly been a tremendous learning experience and confidence booster. It’s still hard to get used to how to chart everything because there’s a lot but i’m so grateful for the nurses who have been there to answer my questions or make me think deeper.

I think my favourite shift had to have been last week. My patient was an elderly person who was in for something that had been relatively minor but because of her age impacted her ability to move. As a new nurse it always makes me a bit weary when delirium is mixed in because that increases their falls risk. When I asked how the patient ambulates (aka how do they move or get out of bed), the nurse simple stated that they didn’t. When I inquired further the nurse stated that the “patient was old and didn’t like to be moved and that was their right” and to “not worry about it”. Keep in mind this person had been in bed since they were admitted (ie multiple weeks). I felt very unsettled hearing that considering the importance of trying to at least encourage them to ambulate.

When I went to do my head to toe assessment, they were so pleasant and engaging. I was worried they’d be a bit confused having been woken up but they were quite chatty and I got to learn about their life and children and what it was like growing up in the area considering they have lived a relatively long life. I began to ask how they moved around. They began showing me some small exercises their family members had taught them and how she had a rotating lunch/dinner guest list their sister had made for them. I asked them if they wanted to try to get out of bed and why they had turned down physiotherapy’s assistance. This is when I found out that the physiotherapist that had tried to move them a month ago had tried to do a solo maneuver which hurt the patient and made them scared and that’s why they requested to stop.

It wasn’t until the patient’s grown child came later in the afternoon that we really began talking about the importance of moving and trying to understand why physiotherapy never came back to reassess them. I also brought up how nice it would be for the patient to at least be able to sit in a chair for a few hours a day to get some mobility and a different spot to enjoy her paper. Luckily in the moment, the nurse who reported to me stepped in to check on us since her patient was next door and I asked if it was possible to explain to the family why this issue was never re-addressed with the patient. I also brought up that maybe we could at least get them a geriatric chair to sit in as a start and that maybe we could order a new re-assessment to be done for the patient. While the nurse seemed a little flustered to not be able to explain the whole situation or the details (because they obviously just took the blind advice of others) it was at least a start. No patient should ever be left in bed because it increases the risks of pressure ulcers, DVT, infection (especially in lying supine), loss of muscle, depression, etc. While a patient has every right to decide what to do, as a nurse we have a duty to at least ask every day or explain the importance of moving.

It was evident from my patient showing me their mini expercises and bicycle kicks that they wanted to retain mobility and strength and wanted to get out of bed, but no one ever had asked them what they wanted to do or why they had turned down physiotherapy. Moving a patient alone can be scary for both partners, and it made me angry that no one had really investigated this further but rather played it up to the patient age. The patient shouldn’t have to be in bed for that long, considering they had already developed pressure ulcers on the coccyx and heel.

It wasn’t until I came back from my dinner break and went to check on my patient and perform vitals that I had found that the nurse had brought up her a geriatric chair to use the next day. Seeing the look on their face honestly made my entire day. They were so happy and grateful to be able to attempt to use it tomorrow. While it made me a bit sad to inform her I wouldn’t be her nurse tomorrow when they asked, I knew they’d be in good hands with another student nurse the next day. But to hear a patient actually thank me and say because of my actions I made it happen for them and that they’d think of me when they sat in the chair tomorrow made me incredibly grateful to be in this profession. As silly or small as it sounds, to the patient this was momentous.

But really, the patient shouldn’t have to thank me. I did my job. As a nurse I have a duty to advocate for my patients, and this was just simply that. They deserved more than what they were getting and if it were my loved ones I would expect the same from the nurse caring for them had I not gone into this field. I know nursing can be stressful, tiring, and demanding, but at the same time patient safety should triumph everything. I

t makes me angry when nurses sit around (especially when they have students taking patients off their load) and they sit their on the internet or phone ignoring the call bells because “it’s not their patient”. Yes it can be daunting to go into a room and know nothing about the patient (ie. falls risk, medication allergies), but the LEAST we can do is check what is wrong the patient perhaps they are lonely or scared, confused, and offer a bit of comfort or direction, or perhaps it is something more urgent and serious but can wait a bit. But even in those cases we can at least inform them that we will let their beside nurse know and acknowledge their call for help.

Having lost their independence, knowing they’d never be able to live on their own again and basically losing the ability to walk over night, it was something that meant a lot to them. Just to be able to sit in an actual chair again, even if for a few hours a day.

While I know I won’t get the same patient again tomorrow, I am excited to know I have one more 12 hour shift this term where I can go back and hopefully pull up a chair beside them in their new chair and chat. Being in a hospital room can be pretty boring and dreary but I think it’s kind of cool that while i’m still new I have the time to do these kinds of things and really get to know the patients as a person rather than as a number.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but i’m excited to find out when I get back on to the floor tomorrow morning and meet a new face.



12 Hours.

A lot can happen in 12 hours. It’s crazy to think this is what my life is going to look like, i’ve never learned so much in anything prior to my first 12 hour clinical experience. The mental, physical and emotional high you ride through your shift. As a second year we don’t typically get 12 hours shifts, but because of the disruption to our clinicals we had last term, I was lucky to get three 12 hour shifts and the rest being the regular 8 hours.

It was daunting entering my first shift yesterday. Having spent the week prior in the UK for my Master’s graduation I missed the transition day of having a partner to manage one patients and get acquainted with the unit. I was nervous to be alone with a patient and not be in a familiar environment, but I SURVIVED. I am incredibly grateful to have had a pleasant patient who was understanding and the help of the fellow upper year student nurse who pulled me aside to teach me new things and help keep me on task. I am even more grateful to have had a tutor who believed in my capabilities of managing my own patient and who was there any time I needed them to double check my medications or answer my questions.

Post shift, I must say it is daunting. HOW DO NURSES DO IT? I only had one patient to take care of for the day (my first solo patient ever and first shift in my new hospital) but even just doing a head-to-toe assessment, vitals, charting, and preparing his medications took me until 9am.  Let alone the full-time nurses who have 3-4 patients each and have to have all those tasks done by 9 am so the healthcare team can do rounds. It doesn’t help when most of the patients are in isolation because of the flu/MRSA/VRE and you have to gown up each time you leave and enter their room (better remember everything the first time!). Black. Magic.

It’s crazy how much nurses have to keep on top of things, whether it’s 0800, 1200, 0500 medications, charting (can’t bring papers into isolation room), addressing emergencies that pop up or concerns, dressing wounds, health teaching, meeting with family to talk,  accompanying patients to appointments on different floors, bathing them and other personal hygiene measures, having everything ready for report, keeping on top of new orders/lab results, taking swabs, in some cases feeding patients by hand, getting them up and around, arranging a patient’s day and keeping on top of what goes on (how much they drink and output). It doesn’t seem like much, but when you actually see what goes on behind the scenes it’s baffling. By the end of my shift I was scrambling to chart everything, change dressings, and helping others with tasks like trying to get an IV into a patient who was delirious or finding a manual bed alarm for a patient who almost fell out of bed. I can see why nurses have such a high burnout rate or why moral distress is such a prevalent issue in the field.

I think one of the most important things that i’ve taken out of my Master’s degree is recognizing issues that don’t align with my values and how to slowly start to address them. More importantly i’ve come to realize the need for patient advocacy and my role as a nurse to help patients have their voices heard. I came across a patient yesterday who had a nephrostomy bag in which when I walked into their room during the start of my shift was in a bath basin floating in urine. I had never come across one of these bags, but I knew it wasn’t normal. What made me even more sad was after my assessments I was planning my day of how to get the patient up and out of bed and they mentioned wanting to go for a walk. Seeing the situation as a whole, it made me sick to my stomach to think this individual would have to lug this container of urine because the bag had been leaking, out in public, and not only feel uncomfortable with people watching them but also the fact that it was simply a hazard both physically (ie. slips) and health wise (ie. a super highway for infection). When I brought up my concerns to the overseeing student nurse she stated that in rounds they simply played it down to a behavior issue and blamed the individual for tinkering with it rather than making any effort to find a new bag somewhere else in the hospital. I’m incredibly grateful for my nursing tutor who came in to check on me and believe me when I mentioned that this was not normal and that he needed a new bag ASAP. Even to get a new bag was a mission and a half with one hospital unit complaining it would come out of their budget. Since when has it become acceptable to withhold healthcare from individuals? UTIs are prevalent in the hospital setting and seeing the state of this bag (which had been tapes with wound dressing rather than waterproof tape) was unacceptable. I can’t imagine how the situation would have looked had my tutor not been around to help me advocate for the patient in addressing the situation and scavenging the hospital for a new bag. Thinking of it was someone I loved being the in the patient’s position I would feel disgusted and angry to not have a voice in the care I receive because of my age or health condition (ie. depression, dementia).

Honestly in 12 hours, a lot can change. From patients developing delirium and becoming confused to patients dying. I experienced my first death yesterday and let me tell you it’s nothing as how the television perceives it to be. It’s cold, lonely, and in a way mechanical as in the steps are set out in hospital policy. It’s a strange feeling to look at a patient and see them lifeless especially when you had seen them in a better state the week prior, I mean as a healthcare professional we want all our patients to go home happy and healthy but the reality is some don’t and for many who do go home not at a optimal quality of life. I can’t really explain what the death process is like, but I learned a lot about how I can help make it the best it can be. Simple measures like washing the body, closing the eyes, putting on a pair of briefs and providing privacy are things I can do to help. Visiting the morgue was surreal in it’s blandness, it’s kind of unsettling to think about in that at the end of life you end up alone in a cold fridge waiting to be taken to a funeral home or be released for other measures.

It’s eye opening to how many people are death-phobic, I had a great discussion with a professor today about this phenomenon in nursing and how nursing schools do a poor job at preparing nurses to deal with death. Even within my own group a couple students found the patient’s death hard to deal with. I think nursing schools need to do a better job to improve our own awareness and understanding of the dying and death processes. How we can sort out or feelings from our professional duties and have them work together. I think death in itself is powerful, it’s inevitable, and the only I can do in the process is to respect the being that once filled that body and help transition it to the next phase. I can’t control or stop death (when medical interventions fail or are futile) but I can help by being respectful and giving the individual a respectful send off to the next realm.

I’ll be honest leasing the hospital that night, I now know what it smells likes and I also now appreciate sleep more. Being ‘on’ for 12 hours straight is a lot, but the learning experience I had yesterday was incredible. I didn’t think I would enjoy general medicine, but the variety of patients (age, health conditions, tasks) has been eye opening and a much more enlightening experiencing than my first placement at another local hospital. Honestly, i’m looking forward to my weekly clinical now and how much I will grow as a nurse through the term.

While entering the hospital before the sun rises and leaving long after it sets has it’s downsides, the work nurses do fills my soul, while the smell of hospital fills my hippocampus and nares. There’s nothing that I would change though or that a good night’s sleep, shower, and strong laundry wash cycle can’t fix.


Megan S

A Letter to the Baby Nurses.

Right now, there is a baby nurse who is searching online and deep inside for an answer. There is a brand new member of the profession who is questioning her calling. There is a newly-minted graduate who wonders how school seemed to teach her everything and nothing all at the same time. There is a greener-than-grass new hire who is praying that she doesn’t kill somebody at work tomorrow, and wonders if she already did yesterday.

Dearest baby nurse, don’t let this scary new world drag you down. You’re going to have moments when you are sitting on a toilet seat for far too long, probably for the first time in your entire shift, and question why you even decided to become a nurse in the first place. That’s okay.

You’re going to have days — many of them — when you plop down in your car after leaving work two hours later than anticipated; and you’re going to turn off the radio; and you’re going to roll down the windows; and you’re going to cry the most painful and ugly cry. That’s okay.

You’re going to have shifts where your head is spinning and your hands are shaking and your brain is thinking faster than your fingers can type. That’s okay.

You’re going to have moments when you clean more bodily fluids in one 12-hour day than an average person might in a lifetime. You’re going to feel that — sometimes — you’re the only person on the entire unit, because everyone around you is just as busy as you are. That’s okay.

You’re going to have times when patients yell at you for something you didn’t know (that perhaps you should have). They will complain about you to anyone that might listen. They may even become so frustrated with their care that they threaten to leave. And this is going to bother the hell out of you. That’s okay.

You’re gonna listen for 20 minutes and still not hear a damn murmur. That’s okay.

You’re going to have moments when you feel like something “just isn’t right” with the patient in your care. You won’t have enough experience as a frame of reference for what may be happening, or why. You’re probably going to feel helpless in these moments — it’s a “tip of the tongue” phenomenon to the highest degree. That’s okay.

You’re going to feel devastated the first time a veteran nurse yells at you — even more so when their reaction is for something nit-picky and non-essential. You’re going to mumble something unsavory about them under your breath. That’s okay.

You’re going to call a doctor to clarify an order, and she’s going to complain. She’s going to want answers, details, vital signs, and a picture of what is happening with your patient, and you’re going to word-vomit something that probably makes very little sense to an angry cardiologist at 3 a.m. That’s okay.

You’re going to walk into a room expecting to pass your morning medications and come to find your patient unresponsive. Maybe she’s stopped breathing. Perhaps she’s lost a pulse. Either way, you’re going to bring forward everything you learned in every class, clinical, and scenario — and forget how to do any of it. You’re going to scream for help. You’re going to look like a deer in headlights. And you’re going to wonder, “When the hell am I ever going to be able to be as good as they are?” That’s okay.

You’re going to lose that patient, on an unexpected shift, and in an unexpected way. You’re going to think it was your fault. You’re going to be riddled with guilt and feel ashamed of how you reacted. You’re going to replay that scenario in your head over and over again, and every time wonder why you didn’t see it coming. You can’t always see it coming. You can’t always be the hero. And that’s okay.

Because someday you will be.

Someday you’ll understand the subtleties and nuances that no one can teach you except for time Herself.

Someday you’ll be able to balance the full-fledged mountain emergencies with the miniature mole-hill ones.

Someday you’re going to address a patient or family member who is frustrated with a sense of firm yet compassionate care, and will know how to redirect their emotions.

Someday you will call a doctor, and she will thank you for keeping such a close eye on whatever concern you’ve already handled.

Someday you’re going to finally take a lunch break, and it will actually be during lunchtime.

Someday you’re going to do chest compressions or inject medications or ventilate a patient, and your paralyzing fear will be replaced by sheer adrenaline.

Someday, somebody is going to die on your watch — but whether it’s through blood, sweat, and heroics or a quiet and accepted end — you will have made a difference in the journey of that patient and his or her loved ones.

And while some days you may still feel like a hamster on a wheel, going through the motions just to stay afloat — someday you will realize that you are not the one sinking and needing to be saved. Rather, you’ve grown into a life raft for another baby nurse, insecure and unaware of all of her untapped potential.

Someday you will understand that the nursing profession is perhaps the hardest of them all, but in so many different ways, the most rewarding.

And someday you will stand up for yourself; stand up for your patients; and stand up to the barriers that impact your highest capacity to care — this day will remind you why you trudged through every tear, scream, and exasperated sigh.

So do not give up, baby nurse: new to the world in which nurses beget nurses; still questioning why nothing ever ends up like the texts books might have said. No matter how bad it feels — no matter how hard it seems — always turn to the nurses who can teach you that one can have a brilliant mind and a beautiful soul; one can be funny when things feel too serious; one can be tough as nails and still be softened by the circumstances; one can make mistakes and still maintain integrity. Stand your ground, baby nurse; ask questions; study hard; prioritize what matters; own up when you don’t know; and don’t let anyone beat you down — especially that little voice in your own head. If you allow yourself to do it, you’ll be amazed by how quickly a baby nurse can grow.

Lovingly cheering you on,
A Former Baby Nurse

Reposted from:

Delirium, Dementia, and Depression in Older Adults: Assessment and Care

One of the things I am most proud of in being a McMaster student is being taught in an evidence based manner. All the course work we are given, lectures, and clinical case studies are all based off of current evidence. Therefore, one of the new goals I have in advocating for mental health issues is to share some of the evidence based research I have come across. Working in my Problem Based Learning class I have come across a vast amount of literature pertaining to mental illness.

I have decided to share some of the resources I have accessed in order to help allow people who may not be familiar with searching textbooks, databases, and best practice guidelines,  in hopes that it will make the information a lot more accessible.  The first source of evidence I chose to share is from the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario and an update to their Depression guidelines.

As the RNAO points out this guideline “is to be used by nurses and other members of the interprofessional health-care team to enhance the quality of their practice pertaining to delirium, dementia, and depression in older adults, ultimately optimizing clinical outcomes through the use of evidence-based practices.”




Nurse in Progress.

For someone that came out of one of the toughest years of her life, I must say I am pretty proud of myself for pushing through. The struggle of feeling left down, unconfident in my abilities, and personal struggle led me to believe I wasn’t worthy of good things. That because of all my struggle I would be a failure and wouldn’t even make it through the first semester of nursing school. But I did it and I did damn fine. The nights I spent crying and very much struggling to stay focused and motivated paid off. I mean anatomy and physiology is a completely different story (ask anyone I swear!), I must say I have a renewed energy this year and I want the best for myself and my future.

Talking with one of my roommates this morning, I realize I need to set some resolutions for 2017. I’m tired of putting myself last. This year I vow to put myself first and I vow to become the best person I can possibly be. I want to do something for myself, so academically I want to maintain a 3.7 GPA or higher. Personally, I want to make decisions for myself and not be worried about what other people think using my own morals, values, feelings, and experiences. For fun, I want to learn French. It’s been three days of self-teaching myself, but I must say I am having a blast picking it up and hopefully my goal in the long-run is to become working proficient in allowing me to expand my horizons in either travel or even one day branching out into governance and policy making. Health wise, I want to eat more at home and luckily with the help of my other roommate pick up a healthy habit, which we’ve decided will be weekly yoga sessions.

Nursing school is hard. There is so much expectation and work placed on you, for someone that did degrees in health science and a master’s in ethics, nursing is a whole new level. It’s everything combined, ethics, science, arts, and skills building. But i’m taking it one day at a time, it’s all you can do really. I’m excited to be one step closer to writing the NCLEX-RN examination in 3.5 years and excited to become Megan Simpson, RN, BHSc, BScN, MA. As many tears I may cry, as much bile, excrement, sweat, or any other bodily fluid I may find myself covered in, and as much doubt that I may inevitably find myself having at points in time, I know one thing is certain- I am going to make a positive impact on the world around me. Because no matter how hard my day is, i’m never going to forget the reason why I want to become a nurse.

When times get tough, the tough get going. While I still have my struggles and anxieties, I will conquer nursing school and I will kick ass. Time and time again I put myself in a position to believe I wasn’t capable or that I was on the wrong path, and you know what? I am on the right path.

So here’s to being 1/8th a registered nurse.


Learning to Love What You Do.

It’s only the beginning of working towards my career as a nurse. Oftentimes, I question whether i’m good enough to take on such a large responsibility. Whether I have the capacity to love and care endlessly for all the patients that will come into and out of my life. But then I think about the adrenaline rush I get from reading about treating illness, the mysteries behind disease, meeting new people with interesting stories, and the feel of wearing a uniform that’s well respected.

The first term of nursing school has been hard for many reasons. Going through a break up, working through change and loss, balancing all my commitments, battling depression again, and trying to figure out school again has been difficult. It’s been hard to stay focused and motivated. Fighting my depression again has been difficult. There’s just so much going on and I can’t sleep, eat, or even think straight. I spend my days a waking zombie just trying to make it to the end of the day when I can fall back into my bed and think maybe tomorrow will be better. It’s like groundhog day. There have been many nights where I question ‘why am I even here?’, I didn’t ask to be here, I didn’t ask to take on all these responsibilities and have to grow up, and I didn’t ask to battle depression for 10 years. I’m tired of it all. I’m so tired of thinking and trying to pretending to be happy. I know I have so much to be grateful for in my life, but sometimes (I know it’s selfish), it doesn’t feel like enough to make me want to continue on this path. There have been nights where I read stories of innocent and helpless people dying and I question, why not me? That I don’t want to continue to grow up anymore and it’d be so much easier just to not have to anymore. I would be free at last. But then there is a part of me that is scared of the after life, of where does our soul go when we die. Would I be punished and stuck permanently being unhappy and in limbo leaving on my own time rather than in divine time?

I try to remain positive and push through but it’s been incredibly overwhelming at times. Somedays are terrible, somedays are okay, and once in a while I have a day where I am so grateful for being here. Lately, I have questioned whether i’m to weak to push through all of this, the immense pressure I feel to get maintain a 3.7 GPA, balance work and volunteering, trying to keep up with classes and falling behind, balancing a social life, all while trying to learn to adult at the same time. To try to build the “perfect” life it seems everyone around me strives to achieve. I question if I can’t even handle these simple stressors, how can I handle a job that will oftentimes be stressful, frustrating, exhausting, and overwhelming. What if I get to the end of all of this and it turns out it isn’t even something I want anymore? What if I realize i’m not good enough to take on this job or that it’s not what I thought it would be like? I get scared thinking maybe the job I think I want is all an idea in my head. I try to think back to what made me want to get here. I was the kid growing up taking all the pamphlets from the pharmacy trying to understand “how to treat asthma”, “diabetes prevention”, and “what to do when you have severe migraines”. The kid that would go to the library every weekend and take out all the books on health because it made me excited to learn about the human body. The teen that left her program in her first term because I so badly wanted to be in a health program in hopes it would get me into nursing or even medical school when I was done. But that person that every time I passed a hospital my heart would light up because I knew it’s where I wanted to be one day. I try to focus on this and remember I am where I am because I chose to be here.

I know I should be proud of how far i’ve come and how hard i’ve worked to get here. I know there are so many others who would kill to be in my place in getting into a strong nursing school. That even getting into nursing school is a feat in itself. I recently found out over 1000 people applied to be where I am right now, and only 140 of us were selected because it was felt we possessed the skills, intelligence, and maturity to take on this challenge. I know I should be thankful, and I know over the past year the universe has given me many signs of what is to expect when I ask for signs, but I sometimes find it hard to trust my own intuition even though it’s never led me astray. I chose this path for a reason, because I want to be passionate about what I do and to pursue a dream i’ve longed to achieve since high school but never had the courage to do so. Largely because I thought I wasn’t good enough or smart enough to compete with the best and so I thought giving up my goal would help me find my happiness, instead it just made me more unhappy to know I was moving towards something I wasn’t passionate about, the typical 9-5  desk job.

Slowly, i’m finding my footing again. It’s been fun actually learning hands on knowledge. It makes me excited for next term when we actually get to begin learning and practicing nursing skills. What keeps me going is trying to make it to second year, to find the strength to finally get out into placement. I want to make a difference in the life of another person.  I’ve been reminding myself that I knew that nursing school would be full of blood (hopefully my own), sweat, tears and failure, but that when I finish this tough program I would be so proud of my self for succeeding and pushing through. That after many years of hard work, I was always known to persevere in whatever I do just to know I stuck it to the man and proved people wrong.




Contentment and Anxiety.

Finally, a new theme I am absolutely digging right now. As my blog continues to expand and become more visited it’s an exciting step to take. It’s nice finally being able to have my own domain and have a theme in which I finally enjoy looking at on all the formats (ex. computer, tablet, and phone).

I’m kind of excited to write my yearly recap post about my blog coming out in early December. This year has been the most successful year for my blog as of late, which is bittersweet in itself.

Lately, i’ve struggled to cope with my depression over the past 4 months. It’s taken a huge toll on my concentration, sleep and eating patterns, and being able to feel connected to others. There’s been so many changes and events that were unexpected over the past few months and trying to deal with them and the people involved has been draining at times to say the least. On some level, it’s comforting to have someone there who knows what you’re going through, but on another level it’s hard trying to navigates everyone’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions when situations get stressful, tiring, and interfering with busy schedules.

It’s definitely not how I thought I would start off my nursing student path or living in a new city where I have little support at times. It’s almost weird to say that since I lived abroad for months and to be at “home” in Canada and I can still feel out of place. I guess on some level I didn’t anticipate many of the things that happened. I’ve had to push off a number of things because I couldn’t keep up due to stress, anxiety, grief, etc., but i’m not ashamed to open up and admit when things are too much. My professors and coordinators have been highly accommodating and understanding to my situation and condition and I am incredibly grateful to have such understanding people rooting me through. Nursing school is freaking tough. I guess part of me is scared to admit how easy it is to fall behind on things here. Things I will need to know for future years, not just something I memorize and forget about. I can’t ignore anatomy and physiology, even though that’s been my biggest struggle. I need to understand how the body functions and the processes involved and how in the future medication will interact with these processes in treating illness. But I just can’t focus these days and it’s made me even more stressed to think about. I’ve never been known to be a slacker or unprepared and that’s exactly how I feel right now and it makes it hard to stay optimistic when it feels like everything is crashing all at once. But I can’t will myself to jump ship, i’ve invested so much time, energy and money into this that I don’t want to be known as a quitter. I knew nursing would be hard, people warned me about the saying “C’s get degrees” and I realize on some level its true even coming from someone whose maintained mid-80% averages for most of my academic career. I’m competing with some of the best students in the province and the material we learn and skills we’re expected to master are not for the faint hearted. You don’t want an incompetent nurse to treat you and I realize that’s the mentality we have to take in order to try to succeed. Blood, sweat and tears is what people tell me, but to hope that it’s your own. I never imagined it to be this hard, there’s so much to do and learn and it doesn’t just stop at the level of being a student. My future career will be stressful, I will have to accept that I will never know everything, and that at the end of the day you’re dealing with often the most vulnerable people and their lives. Nursing school is freaking hard, but I know nursing itself will be even harder and crazier.

Although I struggle inside, it’s been incredible hearing the stories of my nursing mentors and their careers and the patients that come back from the brink of death or see the determination on their faces to do the best they can for their patients even when they don’t always feel prepared to handle it. It’s one of the few things that keeps me inspired to stay on the path I’m on. I’m here for a reason and I was chosen from thousands to (hopefully) become apart of a distinguished group of healthcare providers in the coming years. As tough as things are now and will be as I continue to try my best to push through everything. I know I sometimes put too much pressure on myself and it’s something I have to work on, but it’s really easier said than done. I’m a competitor at heart and it makes it hard for me to accept that I need to tone it down sometimes to watch out for my own well-being.

I guess to sum up how I’m feeling about my life right now and how chaotic it is, the picture below is how I feel on a nightly basis. For someone who was normally so organized, diligent in finishing work early, and sleeping well, this has been a distressing period of time in my life.