When It All Comes Together

Disclaimer: You may not enjoy this post if you are not a nursing student, nurse, aspiring immunologist, social worker, pharmacist, doctor, or some other health care worker who finds this sort of thing interesting.

That being said, here we go.

This is the tale of a young woman (me!) who has spent the last three days cooped up in her college dorm room, studying hard for the midterm on the horizon. Among the topics to be covered:
Correctional Facilities and their Associated Nursing Needs; Tuberculosis; HIV and AIDS; Hepatitis A, B, and C; Alcoholism, Building a Healthy Workplace, Nurse Managers, Leadership Models, Management Models, Change Theories, Development Theories, Decision-Making Models, Conflict Resolution Models, Delegation and Time Management, and many other nursing goodies.

So after ten hours of studying on this particular day (today!), all of a sudden this young woman (me!) had one of those “I GET IT!” moments.

You know what they are.

Those moments when all of a sudden things click; when what you’ve been trying to pound into your head for the past hours/days/weeks/months/years finally makes sense. When you put all the pieces together and you realize that you’ve actually learned something, not just given all your money willy-nilly to an educational institution for nothing.

Yep, one of THOSE moments happened today.

I was reading about the medications required to treat alcohol withdrawal, and then it happened.
I read the phrase, “Anxiolytics are indicated for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal; they have a calming effect on the CNS and cause inhibition of hyperexcitable nerves.” Hmm.
Somewhere, in the back of my brain, I remembered the four signs of alcohol withdrawal; among them, gross tremors and seizures.

I sat up straight in my chair.


We give benzodiazepines (anxiolytics) to treat alcohol withdrawal to prevent seizures! And gross tremors!
I get it!

This may not seem like much to you, and I completely understand if you don’t understand.

But the thing is, throughout the past three years of nursing school our instructors have drilled into us that RN’s are known for our critical thinking skills. The education we have received is meant for us to learn to ask WHY we perform certain procedures, WHY we give certain medications, WHY signs and symptoms manifest during illness or disease, and most of all WHY it matters and WHAT we can do about it.

This was one of those moments where it all came together.

Even though it was only one small sentence in my study notes, all of a sudden I was putting pieces of the puzzle together, looking at my client from a holistic point of view, and planning care beyond the medication I was about to give.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I’ve been waiting for for the past three years.

Hopefully that kind of thinking manifests itself on my midterm tomorrow morning as well.

For now, I’m going to bed. I’ll likely dream of interferons and CD4+T cells and models and theories and mnemonics and the Erikson development theory, but such is the life of a nursing student.

And I love it.


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