In nursing school, we cover a whole spectrum of subjects, from breathing, to alternative medicine, to breastfeeding, to opiates, to analyzing styles of family interaction, public policy regarding health, to mechanisms of analgesia, genetics, approaches to bereavement--this is simply the tip of the iceberg of the breadth of subjects we study that is related to the health and well-being of a person, a family, a community. We try to become experts at teaching, evidenced-based interventions of these wide range of subjects. The evidence comes from research and clinical trials. We are taught to be critical connoisseurs of research too!
So the study of nursing is making me a better human, with a wider range of knowledge related to the physical, psychological, social, spiritual aspects of being human. I assess situations and set priorities.
A couple of weeks ago, my dad injured his finger with a fish hook while we were boating at the lake. I simply stepped aside and allowed my mom (more experienced nurse) to deal with the situation, while I continued to play with my son who was playing by the water. It's not a medical situation that requires everyone to drop what they're doing, and attend to the finger, despite my dad's loud cries of pain. Nursing priorities=toddler playing by the water!! Sorry dad :)
Additionally, my nursing study also trained me to be more critical of my perspectives and my approach at conversations. For instance, a friend told me that she had GI upset. I put on my nurse mode immediately and made some assessments. After the initial assessment and recommendation, because this friend and I always talk about politics and what we hear on the radio, later down the conversation, I related my fear of the drinking water contamination incident in West Viriginia, and how far that spread out, perhaps reaching central Virginia.
Later, I felt like I could have kicked myself for talking about water contamination with someone who has GI upset. As a nurse, we have to be aware not to fan the flames of hypochondriac-isms. Maybe I'm being overly critical of myself, but my ability to be a credible source depends on how seriously I study, and how careful I am to impart my knowledge, not simply impart hearsays.
Another incident where I became aware about the changes that have occurred regarding my approach to people was when I saw a little boy wearing sunglasses in the farmer's market hanging out with his mother. My son approached the little boy, curious because of the sunglasses. I noticed that the boy's sunglasses was covering a black eye. Since nurses are mandated to be reporters of domestic abuse, my radar went up. I thought and still am thinking about the approach I should take towards parents (who are not my patient) who's child exhibit evidence of abuse. What should I do? I'm still thinking about what I could have done or said to the mom.
Another new development is with regards to friends who recommend natural products. They are also subject to my scrutiny. Just because a product is natural, does not mean it is safe!!! I can't emphasize this enough. Natural products, over-the-counter herbs can interact with medicine, or existing physical conditions like age, pregnancy, kidney or thyroid disease. Please be careful when you recommend something that works for you to others! And please be careful when using herbal products on young children. Please!!!
Finally, the study of nursing improved my ability to play music. Because of the insane amount of nonsensical words we have to master (drug names) and their side effects, my memory has improved, along with my approach to how to learn something. So this has translated itself to better ability to play music.
Photo above is an example of the creativity involved in memorizing new terms. FAST! There are many more improvements and brain rewiring that has occurred due to the nursing study, but that's all the time I have to write for now.