Reflections on the First Semester in Nursing School

This post is written by guest writer, Melissa Dempsey, 1st year MEPN

VA group- Fall 2017

Students from the VA clinical group: Jennifer Bui, Ellie Oliver, Graham Wolfe, Adilene Esquivias, Natalie Mata, Karen Kriger, Daniel Ednalino

For most of us, the fall Med-Surg 1 rotation included an endless amount of firsts. First time on a Medical Surgical unit, first time caring for a patient, first time caring for a really sick patient, first time performing complicated skills like IV starts—the list goes on and on. Even simple things, like opening up the biohazard trash can, seemed extremely difficult during the first day on the unit (I really hope I’m not alone on that one).

Clinical rotations, in the beginning of the semester were a blur of ceil blue, preceded by anticipatory sleepless nights. As Katie Haines, a first year MEPN student said, “I will never forget the first day of clinical when I was paired with the scariest nurse on the floor! I had to fight back tears all morning while he was yelling at me to move faster. By the end of the day, he told me I did a good job and it was the best feeling ever! Initiation by fire.” By the time winter break rolled around, we seemed to be gaining confidence and finding our groove.

Perhaps the most critical part of the whole experience was forming a bond with the six other students who were placed in the same clinical rotation. The hospital environment is stressful and a bit scary for a new nursing student. I know there’s no way we would have survived without the hallway hello’s, pre-clinical day coffee talks, and general camaraderie that was felt within each of the groups. I’m not sure that words can describe the gratitude I feel for my first semester clinical group.

It’s impossible to measure how much we learned in Med-Surg 1, but the looks that friends and family members give us when we try to explain how our day went are a pretty good indicator. When you are surrounded by nurses and nursing students all day, you forget that the general population doesn’t speak in medical abbreviations. I think our former selves would be alarmed by how nonchalantly we now ask friends and family, “when was your last bowel movement?”

We’re almost halfway done with Med-Surg 2, and we’re passing medications and achieving clinical milestones each clinical day. The shifts are long, our theory classes are challenging, but we’re starting to see the light and getting the hang of how things (classes, faculty, patients, and hospitals) work. It won’t be long before May 2019 when we are walking across the stage to receive our diploma. I for one, know I will be well prepared.

Kaiser group- Fall 2017Students from the Kaiser clinical group: Jacob Tisher, Katie Haines, Monica Colavita, Professor Katrina Burch, Matthew Parker, Sonora Zarp, Mckenna Kurz

Scripps Green group- Fall 2017

A selfie from the students from the Scripps Green clinical group: Kayla Murphy, Hannah Penney, Lana Rae Hansen, Melissa Dempsey, Amarachi Uchenna, Meagan O’Mahoney, Nicole Conner, Professor Nicole Nekoui

About kathymarsh

Associate Dean at Hahn School of Nursing University of San Diego
This entry was posted in Class of 2019, Guest Writer, Hahn School of Nursing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Reflections on the First Semester in Nursing School

  1. Dr. Asaro says:

    Great post;)
    You will make lifelong friends in nursing school!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s