Being in nursing school was definitely my most challenging years both academically and in life. When they say that nursing school takes over your life, I can say that nursing school truly did. I had to focus more on my studies than other aspects of life, and learn so much in a short amount of time. The clinical experience of nursing school allowed me to have the opportunity to put what I learned in my classes and readings into action. Clinicals really put in perspectivewhat it truly is like to be a nurse. We talk about this all the time in our classes, but nothing fully captures the skills and responsibilities necessary for nursing better than hands-on experience in a clinical environment.
I experienced so much during my clinical rotations. My first clinical rotation at the main Emory University Hospital eased me into performing nursing functions. I remember when I first started, I felt nervous about actually providing nursing care. When I compare myself to how I was when I first started clinicals, I have definitely learned and grown so much as a student nurse. One of my favorite experiences during clinical was when I had a patient who was first starting chemotherapy. My nurse preceptor told me that patients often experience an anaphylactic reaction to the medication when theyfirst start chemotherapy, so it is important to run the medication at a slower rate. My nurse preceptor said that if we had a patient who reacted to the medication, we should stop running the chemo, check the patient’s blood pressure, and then give the appropriate medication from the emergency kit. When I checked my patient a couple of minutes after starting his chemotherapy, I asked him questions related to a anaphylactic reaction. I also noticed his face was getting a little red and he looked short of breath. He mentioned having lower back pain, so I immediately stopped the infusion, started taking his blood pressure, and notified my nursing preceptor. His blood pressure was within his normal limits, so we gave him Benadryl via his IV. The Benadryl helped the patient, and we had the Benadryl running when we started his chemotherapy medication again, but at a slower rate stated by the physician. This time the patient did not have a anaphylactic reaction, and tolerated his chemotherapy well.
This experience taught me how important it is to asses your patient and to teach your patient beforehand about the reaction the patient could have due to the medication. My nurse preceptor and I taught our patient about the reactions he could have due to the chemotherapy; due to our teaching, our patient recognized his symptoms and was able to know that what he was experiencing was an expected adverse reaction. During clinicals, I had many experiences where I had to think on my feet and conduct nursing care quickly. These experiences taught me a lot about how to be a nurse and emphasized the importance of conducting proper patient care.
Roya Shareefy is a fourth year student from Atlanta, Georgia pursing her BSN degree at Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. She is a BUNDLE Scholar, and serves on the executive board of Emory’s Multicultural Student Nursing Association.