This patient walks into a clinic. He's not feeling or looking well. Major stress oozing from his body and soul. He gets called in to see the nurse. That's you. He complains of this, that, and the other thing. The nurse asks questions about his stress. Lots of causes, he says. Some of them are just the choices he's made in his life. Kids, mortgage, future, etc. Can't be avoided or changed. "Sigh," he says.
Let's talk about fun, joy, happiness, you, the nurse, says. Huh? goes the patient. "Sigh," you think to yourself. You know, remember some of the things you did *before* you had the kids, the mortgage, the job. Remember what you did before you worried about the future? You mean like hiking, meditating, reading, writing? That stuff? says the stress-oozer. And he smiles, face softens, shoulders drop, breathing deepens. Yes! you celebrate.
We've just finished our second week of nursing school. It's not easy. I didn't think it would be easy, but I did think I would do better on the first exam. There are people smarter than me in the program, much better students with more focus. Memories that didn't endure many years of THC abuse. Nursing school, and last year's science prerequisites, have been my first experience of being challenged academically. I love it, and it's humbling. Really humbling. Twenty-something years ago I dropped out of engineering school on the first day of class because it looked too hard. I switched over to the technician program and breezed through it, top of the class with very little effort. Last year I pulled straight A's with my prereq's but I worked my nursing butt off in the process. But it's been worth it. I've weighed my head and my brain is actually growing.
But I digress. Walking the talk. What talk? The talk about taking care of one's self, of health promotion. This is what the macho nurse does, ya know.
I've only been to the gym once since school started. I still haven't taken a hike or even driven by the woods. My morning meditations are getting shorter and shorter. I question whether I have time to date. The short breaks I take from studying are spent watching DVDs. Not the best self-care.
My goal is to find a balance between the rigors of school and having a social life. Also, I want to continue cooking at least half my meals from fresh veggies, and not eat any frozen meals, like I did when I was a burning-out teacher.
Laughter, fun, and play. These will always be part of my patients' health care plans, and they're going to be part of mine while in nursing school.
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