First Week – Done

So, I finished my first week of nursing school at IUPUI; I feel something akin to “5 days down, 595 to go!”.

It’s been a bit of an adjustment this month – saying good-bye to beloved and new friends, moving all my stuff to a new place, the tricks of navigating Indy and campus, and then just adjusting to the stress and sleep level of school again. Thus far, there hasn’t been anything drastically new regarding tasks or critical thinking skills. Just the typical things of motivation to study, fluidity of ideas, and navigating around the class websites.

There is something I find common among nurses, a sort of prerequisite to the profession: table talk. Nurses, specifically, have no qualms talking at the table with food in plain sight, about subjects and events that would make others cringe, lose their appetite, or even lose what they already swallowed. I began to experience this last summer at a music convention where people would ask about my current classes. When I explained I was in Microbiology and how interesting E. coli or Yersinius pestis could be, well, I got a lot of “Laura! We’re EATING!”

At our class orientation, one of our assistant deans, again, highlighted this for us by saying how much she loved the school and loved her job but she was not in the nurse culture. In her words, “I don’t know how y’all do it. You’re sitting around eating cupcakes and talking about colonoscopies.”

Or as my mom said when I relayed the above story to her: “Oh, so-and-so is vomiting blood. Hey, spaghetti for lunch!”

I know several people who stated that one reason specifically for pursuing Physical or Occupational Therapy was to not deal with body fluids and “gross” things. And this is the question to ask all who are considering nursing as a career – how do you react to having to clean up after someone who is unable to do it for themselves. While not the main duties of a nurse, he/she is not above the hygiene tasks for a patient. Yet, I hope nursing students and others in medical assisting positions were told as I was this last week: no, it’s not a glorious task, but what an honor to be trusted in someone’s personal place and help them when most vulnerable to shame and frustration.

I’m training to be a nurse. I will have unsavory conversations about procedures and body fluids. I am also honored to be part of a patient’s life when he/she is potentially vulnerable and needs a trusted presence.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Cathi Willms
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 08:06:10

    Well said!



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