I LOVE my classmates. Although we are still very much in the process of getting to know each other, I really feel like we all have each other’s best interests at heart. There is no sense of competition or being the “best” because I think we’re all feeling about the same: overwhelmed but excited, and completely aware that with our rookie status, we are all in for some moments of discomfort. No one becomes an expert nurse overnight, as our Clinical Skills instructor has kindly pointed out on several occasions. This feeling of mutual support and camaraderie will be of great benefit once we start clinicals and feel like bumbling idiots.

We’ve had two days of Clinical Skills class so far, and have focused on communication, the nurse-client relationship, and of course, good ol’ standard precautions and infection control. (WASH YOUR HANDS, people!) We’ve actually had some really good discussions come out of the content – another reason I like my class, everyone contributes in some way.

Yesterday we finished up lecture by getting a short tour of the simulation lab and learning how to put on and take off gloves and masks. Yes, in fact, there is a “right” way to do these things. Today begins our hands-on lab section. We’ll spend four hours practicing vital signs, making beds, and timing each other in handwashing so we know how long it feels to wash properly for 10-15 seconds. I brought out my stethoscope last night and listened to my own heartbeat. It reminded me of one of the many reasons I’m putting myself through this lesson in humility known as nursing school: the human body absolutely amazes me. Hearing that “lub-dub” just blew me away, even though I’ve heard it so many times before.

So here’s to vital signs and mitered corners. And washing your hands.

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