In spring 2017, I could barely contain my feelings when I learned that I would undertake my clinical practicum at Hunter College, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. The source of my joy was the fact that I would be part of the ER team in the course of my practical training. Serving in the ER elicits diverse emotions in people, but the thought of it evoked a feeling of accomplishment in me. In hindsight, my excitement stemmed from the notion that the ER provides the toughest challenge for nursing practitioners. My interpretation of this difficulty was that if I could accomplish my assigned tasks in this environment, no other nursing issue would unsettle me. How wrong I was! However, before I go into the details of how this misconception opened my eyes and aroused a desire to gather as much nursing knowledge as would be practically possible, a brief narrative about the events that led to my disappointment would put the matter into proper perspective.
My first day in the ER was eventful as well as the rest of my days there. Before then, I had heard a lot about this job, but I never realized it was one of those experiences that one could only appreciate to the full extent when going through it. My responsibility in the ER was to facilitate the work of RNs as they strove to save lives, ease pain, and assure patients that they would be fine. I ran up and down the entire shift, sometimes bumping into people and avoiding imminent collisions. In my view, my first shift was a mess. The ER was noisy, chaotic, and more detached from my expectations than I would have ever imagined. It took me a while to realize that I was not making any meaningful impact as I had hoped. Then it came to my mind, like the snap of a finger, that as disorganized and seemingly dysfunctional as the place was, the ER team overcame the challenges and saved lives, relieved pain, and effectively dealt with potentially dangerous situations. This realization reminded me of Verne’s statement about families in the film Over the Hedge that these units are full of flaws, but their members always overcome difficulties by working collectively.
As I would learn before I concluded my practicum, it is not possible to set order to the ER, but the patients that go through its doors always receive the attention they require. I realized, however, that the cases that nurses deal with in the ER are not necessarily the most complex. ICU or primary care patients sometimes provide nurses with more difficult issues. This awareness was disappointing, but it helped me understand that all knowledge and situations were critical, as they could turn into life and death cases at any moment. That is why as I seek to enroll in the Master of Nursing Science Program in the University of Adelaide. I am on a lifelong journey to equip myself with skills that would make me a quintessential nurse. The future is overly challenging to envisage in a static environment, but it is much more unpredictable in a highly dynamic environment such as the healthcare sphere. Be it at home, on the street, during the business trip, or on vacation, I want to be ready to deliver high quality and effective nursing services.
As a future nurse practitioner, I think that the worst situation that can ever happen is one in which I fail to save a life, relieve pain, or give a patient assurance and hope to fight. I consider this a duty that I owe to humanity and the best way to discharge it without failure is to equip myself with the requisite knowledge and skills through relevant training. This program is a chance to accomplish not only this goal but much more as I evolve my nursing repertoire for contemporary healthcare demands. The ability to be an all-round nursing practitioner will be critical to the success of individual nurses and healthcare systems in general not only in the United States, but across the world because healthcare issues have become global challenges, which need to be addressed from this perspective.