There is no typical day for a nurse. From shift-to-shift, depending on location and who the patients are that day, there’s the potential for it to be empowering, daunting, invigorating, or all of the above.
On any given day, nurses can see people’s steadfast and persevering side or helpless and defenseless self. In one day, they may witness the wonder of a baby being born or the results of a life-ending illness.
It takes a special kind of person to be a nurse. For one thing, to be able to draw the perfect pleasure of nursing, you ought to have a love for people and science. Studies show that this passion for one of the oldest vocations in the world is found in an individual early on.
Students interested in nursing must follow a higher educational pathway that will prepare and provide them with the practical knowledge to deliver safe and effective health care, as they become an integral member of a health care team.
To point those students in the right direction, every year, Palm Beach Atlantic School of Nursing presents A Day in the Life of a Nurse. This day-long activity is designed to give local schools a realistic picture of what a day in the life of a nurse is like. Earlier this month, we welcomed a class from L.C. Swain Middle School in Lake Worth.
Eighth grader Veronica Barrera was excited to be part of the group. Even at such a young age, she demonstrated the ability to recognize that all prospective nurses are held to a uniform standard of proficiency, and she hopes to pursue that one day at PBA.
“I’m interested in becoming an OB GYN nurse,” said Barrera, who’d heard from a previous lecture by one of the PBA nursing staff that one of the most important presences in the delivery process is a skillful and compassionate OB nurse.
Barrera learned that a career in obstetrics and gynecology nursing can be exciting and rewarding, and she likes the idea of becoming an OB nurse and having the opportunity to work closely with women as they experience the life-changing moment of childbirth. “I think that’s so cool; I can see myself doing that,” she said.
At the Day of the Life of a Nurse event, PBA student nurses dressed the part in their galaxy blue scrubs. They took turns talking to Barrera and the rest of her classmates, who also looked sharp in their green scrubs.
“We showed them how to take vital signs and glucose readings, how to hear respiratory sounds and listen to somebody’s heart rate,” said senior Brooke Bragenzer, who’s studying to be a pediatric nurse. “We also shared a little bit about ourselves and why we want to be nurses.”
Nursing majors, junior Libby Lister and senior Kayla Givens demonstrated the proper hand-washing technique. They directed students to wash their hands then used a black light device to detect any lingering germs. “We showed them that even when we think we’ve washed our hands well, sometimes we miss germs that can be quite dangerous to our patients, and even to ourselves,” said Lister. “If you don’t wash your hands well enough, the light lets you see where you need to wash again. It takes a lot of scrubbing!”
Givens talked about her prescription for poverty. And how she chose nursing after she went on her first missions trip to Jamaica when she was eleven years old.
“I saw all of the poverty and the fact that there were no doctors in many of the towns. And so I decided that one day I would become a nurse to do medical missions,” she said.
Lister told the students how she suffered with various illnesses when she was younger, and how some of her nurses played a vital role in her life and even inspired her to become one. “I also enjoy science and people, and so for me it was the perfect combination,” said Lister.
At the end of the day, the class left with a good understanding of what a day in the life of a nurse is like, and the outcome of a prospective career. Employment for RNs is projected to increase 15 percent through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And that’s good news for these students who will probably graduate from high school in 2022.