But what KIND of nurse???


Sigh. I hate the big gaps in posts, but it’s a necessity with life right now.

I’ve started working at a local hospital on one of their medical-surgical units. “MedSurg” is covers almost every reason people are in the hospital except for delivering babies and intensive care/progressive care. I see exacerbation of cystic fibrosis, a lot of urology complications, wound complications, weakness, pain, etc. Most people are on my unit because they had surgery and need nursing care and observation before they are ready to go home.

My clinical rotation the second half of the semester is on a cardiology unit. The past four weeks, I’ve been able to see anything from why high blood pressure is bad (side note – there is a reason that high blood pressure/hypertension/HTN is called the silent killer) to people on pacemakers and devices that are considered bridges to a transplant. Some do well and get to go home. Some go to a cardiac rehab facility before going home. Others go to hospice or palliative care. It’s just the reality of some hospital floors.

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Some day…Full fledged nurse
Photo credit: Lisa Berry Photography

With my job and such a stark contrast in clinical rotations between Med-Surg and psych, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on what specialty I’d like to start after next May’s graduation and whenever I pass the NCLEX. Last semester, my classes and training focused on basic nursing skills and introduced critical thinking needed from nurses; we began to take the anatomy, physiology, and knowledge from our prerequisites and apply it in a professional context. This semester takes that basic knowledge plus basic technical skills and begins to apply it in nursing specialties.

As I started Med-Surg clinicals after Psych, I realized that I’m not going to be good at every specialty. (I’m on my own learning curve. Forgive me.) I’m slowly growing out of the, “I can do anything. But what do I want to do?” phase and seeing that in one’s professional life, the perspective eventually shifts to, “This is the field I want. But what is my area of interest?” My eyes opened up during class one day; I began to identify strengths in my fellow students. “I want you as my critical care/ICU nurse. I’d like you for my Labor and Delivery nurse, but you to take care of my child. Etc, etc.” It’s not a rating system that ICU nurses are cream-of-the-crop and public health is at the bottom. Rather, which form of nursing plays to a person’s strength.

Some people are not educators but excellent with technical skills. Others know the right thing to say to kids or parents, while others are geriatric experts. We all start from the same place and grow from there.

At the beginning of the semester, I was starting to freak out. I didn’t know what nursing specialty I wanted. Not a clue. Between my job and clinicals, I’m beginning to narrow that down. As of this week, I’m leaning towards community/public health, OB/Gyn, and psychiatric nursing. Classes for Obstetrics are this summer and community and public health is this fall.

But until May 2014, I still have homework in the remaining specialties. See you somewhere in between there.

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