"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Learning a New Language

This was my last week working with the Pediatric Clinicals. I'm actually sad. OK, maybe I'm happy to not have to drive to St. Peters weekly anymore, but I am actually sad to not have any more pediatric patients until my future job…I was finally getting used to the aspect of taking care of kids instead of adults. Med/Surg this spring is really going to through me for another loop. I actually had a rather metaphoric dream last night after clinical that I was walking down a hospital hallway and was headed towards the pediatric playroom. When my fellow classmates and I got there, we found many adult "typical" med/ surge patients there in this colorful and playful playroom. I was frantically looking for the kids, I missed them. But I knew I had to take care of these adults too. But enough with the dreams…

I wanted to take time this week to discuss my recent metaphoric epiphany I realized this week when I was in the PICU. We are learning a language, the language of nursing. In a metaphorical sense, I'll break it down. When you learn a new language, most adults learn in three stages. First, you can understand the basics. You know the general idea of the language. You can maybe say a couple choppy words you just learned but people can tell immediately you aren't fluent. Well, that's how I felt last spring after interventions. I felt so overwhelmed with the realm of nursing, I knew the basics but that's about it. But, importantly, I was ready to learn more. The second step in learning a language is being able to read it and listen to it and understand it. Well, that's how I felt this week after the PICU. I was instructed to read a child's chart (a long history) and then follow the pediatrician around as well as the nurse. Not only did I understand what I could make out from the handwriting in the chart, but I could understand 90% if what the doctors and nurses were saying about the patients. That was rewarding. The third step is being able to speak the language fluently. Well, I'm certainly not at all fluent yet. I feel right now I can squeak out sentences, but I don't sound confident behind them. At least I certainly dot feel confident. I'm hoping for that last stage to fully develop this spring or next year. That way by the time I enter the workforce, I am ready to talk in "their" language (as if you were moving to France- It'd be beneficial to pass all these stages before you moved in). Granted, just because I am fluent in the language does not mean I am a great nurse. Knowing French doesn't make you a great citizen right away. You have to learn the culture, the customs, how things are done, the dialects, the slang, the people, etc. Well, in my future job it will take at least 5 years to learn all the nursing ways, the nursing instincts, etc. But once you can speak the language, that will all fall in a lot faster.

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