I’m back in Texas! It’s hard to believe that my 10 weeks in Rochester are over. What an incredible experience. I’m walking away feeling like a much better nurse and person for it. It was an emotional goodbye for sure.
On one of our last nights, the program coordinators hosted a Farewell Dinner for all of the Summer IIIs. It was a wonderful evening and really put into perspective the powerful and long-lasting impacts that nurses can make in people’s lives. A few of the nurse externs had been patients themselves at one point and graciously shared their stories with us during this dinner. While each of them was hospitalized for a different condition, one thing remained consistent with their experiences – the nurses always stood out. In addition to the caregiver roles, they acted as motivators, listeners, teachers, advocates, and friends. On the most difficult of days, the nurses would shed some light and hope on the situation. Nurses get the privilege of standing by their patients’ sides during some of the most vulnerable times in their lives; how special is that? This unique relationship between nurse and patient is what ultimately lead these externs to seek a career in nursing. While we don’t all have a story quite like they do, we all chose nursing for a reason. I think it’s important to hold that reason close and reflect back on it often. There will inevitably be difficult days and challenging patients but remembering what called you to this profession in the first place will re-channel those thoughts.
I’m looking forward to putting my knowledge that I’ve accrued over the summer to good use in my clinical courses. I know not all the skills I learned will be applicable to my senior year clinical rotations, but the hospital experience itself holds a lot of value. I think one of the most important techniques that I improved upon was patient communication. This is a fairly universal skill that will play a critical role in whichever area of nursing I end up. The procedures, diagnoses, and medications may change depending on the specialty you’re in, but the nurse-patient relationship will always remain.
This summer really got me thinking about where I will go in my nursing career. I now have a better understanding of the hospital work environment, how staffing works, the importance of supportive coworkers, and how scope of practice may vary depending on your specialty. Mayo Clinic also earned Magnet status, which denotes that the nursing staff is comprised of well-qualified, high-caliber healthcare professionals committed to providing the best care to their patients. It was a privilege to train under and learn from these individuals. It not only gave me guidance for what I strive to be as a future nurse, but also showed me the value of working within a community of people who share similar core beliefs. I was constantly impressed with how dedicated and involved everyone was with their work. Throughout the 10 weeks, I had the opportunity to tour a nursing research poster fair, attend Coordinating Care Counsel meetings, and observe the different levels of leadership positions available whether it be charge nurse, preceptor, etc. There are so many different ways to strengthen your nursing character and give back to the nursing community, and I hope to be involved in these sorts of activities when I get out in the field.
For now, I am gearing up for my final year of nursing school and soaking up the last few days of summer! My mom drove back to Texas with me from Minnesota and we stopped in Branson, Missouri to break up the drive. It was a cute town with lots of activities to choose from. We went hiking around Table Rock Lake and went shopping at the outdoor mall. Over the weekend, I moved into my new apartment in Austin with two other nursing majors. I’m all settled in and ready to hit the ground running. While I’ve enjoyed my time at UT and it’s sad to think my college years are coming to an end, I’m also ready to begin my nursing career. I can’t wait to see what’s in store!