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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ode to My Students

Today, on facebook, a post was circulating. It reads, "I am a nursing student. I study more than I sleep. I am never "done" with my homework because there is always more to do. I cover about 500 pages of info per week and I am expected to retain and recall it all at any given time. I may only go to class or clinical a couple or a few days a week, but don't let that fool you, I am always a nursing student with work to be done. I am giving up my time with family, friends, and myself to learn how to save other people's lives. Please support and encourage that. If you are a nursing student or you know and love one, you know the drill - Re-post"

I am a nursing instructor. I'm up all hours of the night working up lectures so I can assign homework. I have to cover those same 500 pages of info, and try to figure out how to present it so they get it and can retain it and recall it. I am always a nursing instructor... I also give up time with my son and my husband to help teach someone how to save someone else's life.

But here's the deal. I have support. I have a great group of faculty members to work with, to bounce ideas off of when I'm not sure about something. I have an understanding husband (most of the time), and a family tree full of grandparents, aunts and uncles willing to run with Caleb to make sure he doesn't have to miss anything. Some of my students have noone. They are mommy and daddy; they HAVE to work while they go to school even though they know it's not best because they DON'T HAVE a choice... the bills have to be paid. They have to try to process all of this information while they worry about the kid's homework, the electric being on, whether the internet is going to go out before discussion board is going to go out, and who's going to be there to tuck their babies in at night while they are at clinical until midnight.

I could be cavalier. I went through nursing school. I studied my brains out for two years, spending many nights crying my eyes out because I had checkoffs and I was scared to death. My husband sacrified and worked two full-time jobs, plus the National Guard on the weekend. But I choose not to be cavalier. I instead choose to be empathetic. I know they struggle, and I can't imagine how it is for some of them. I hope they know I'm there for them. If I can't be empathetic, how can I teach them to be a nurse, where empathy is such an important characteristic.

Tonight, on my way home, I was frustrated because class didn't go well. I know they were frustrated, too. I sometimes doubt myself, thinking "Who am I to be doing this?" But I believe God has a purpose for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11). If I can impart just one thing on my students, I hope that it is the realization that everyone is human. Everyone needs help. And caring is the best thing to do when sometimes it's all you can do. So hang in there... keep putting those hours in. Keep sacrificing. Someday, hopefully, you can look back and I can say, "See, I told you so"... but I promise, I'll do it with a smile on my face.

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