No really, I am! I know I'm about 5 weeks late, but here goes... I was seriously toeing the line between passing and failing my last semester of nursing school. Despite my very best efforts, I had a mixture of grades both barely failing and barely passing. The final was either going to make me or break me - a 73% was passing and I needed at least a 73% to pass the semester. Leave it to me to increase the level of stress and drama surrounding my ability to graduate! To compound the situation, I had miraculously been accepted into a graduate nurse externship program with a local hospital, and it was completely contingent on me graduating. That son of a b exam was on a Monday, so I took Thursday and Friday off to have 4 full days to study. I don't think I studied for something so much in all my life - I didn't shower for 4 days, I pretty much wore the same clothes, and the only breaks were to eat and sleep. Well, it paid off - I got a 76% on the final and passed the semester!
I remember that night, nervously checking my class' website to see if my grade was posted, my mind running like it stole something. It was almost midnight when it was finally posted and I screamed at the top of my lungs and started crying. You did it, Rachelle, you finally finished something and reaped the sweet rewards of success. My husband was such a doll through the whole night - I'll never forget the look of pride on his face when I found out I was graduating. I called my uncle - I didn't care if he was sleeping (he wasn't), "I passed nursing school, I'm graduating!!!" I'm very close with my aunt and uncle and they've supported me throughout the years, even during some really dark times, so it was important for them to know as soon as possible.
I had no interest in attending the actual graduation, I just wanted to attend the pinning ceremony. This is a nursing school tradition that goes back to the days of Florence Nightingale, before the germ theory of disease even existed. We all dress in very traditional uniform - white dress, white stockings, nurse cap, etc. It was amazing seeing all my classmates - we made it! Tears filled my eyes as my name was called and my RN pin was placed on my lapel by my Professor. I recited the Pledge:
With full knowledge of the responsibilities I am undertaking, I pledge to care for my patients with all of the knowledge, skills, and understanding that I possess, without regard to race, color, creed, politics, or social status. I will spare no effort to conserve meaningful life, to alleviate suffering, and to promote health. I will refrain from any action which might be harmful to the quality of life or health of those I care for. I will respect, at all times, the dignity and religious beliefs of patients under my care, and hold in professional confidence all the personal information entrusted to me. I will endeavor to keep my professional knowledge and skills at the highest level and give my support and cooperation to all members of the healthcare team. With full awareness of my qualifications and limitations, I will do my utmost to maximize the potential of the nursing profession and to uphold and advance its standards.
Thankfully, that outfit was just for the pinning ceremony! I now wear navy scrubs during my 12 hour shifts in the ER for my externship which I'm LOVING! I'm there every Wednesday and every other Thursday through the end of July and I've learned so so much. I'm already quite skilled at blood draws and IV placements, and have already seen a few deaths. It's all very exciting - I've performed CPR, assisted with trauma and intubation procedures, given medications, documented, witnessed cardiac arrests, strokes, seizures, domestic violence, drug overdose, alcohol withdrawal, you name it! I'm sad that there are only two more shifts - I don't want it to end! But perhaps I can apply for a job once I get licensed in early September - I just scheduled my exam for Wednesday, September 4th. Correction - this will be the exam I will have studied the most for in my life.