Because all experiences are valuable.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"It's Alive!" New days with GANS

Yesterday was my first day as a State Board Member of the Georgia Association of Nursing Students (GANS). It was one long day, let me tell you, in what has become a progression of extremely long days with little break. "Welcome to Nursing!" needs to be tattooed on my arm or something.

I used to say, Welcome to nursing school!" Now I realize that this is the pace of nursing in general, so I'd better just get used to it. Now one free hour can seem like an entire weekend's rest, if applied properly.
MJL and I went to see Frankenweenie late last night. I love, love Tim Burton movies. I knew it was a short movie, and I just needed to rest my brain. It wasn't as good as other Tim Burton faves of mine, but, the dog was so adorable, and the movie had real charm and quite a few inside jokes (example- the town Mayor is Mr. Burgermeister.) 

Our school is "Kaplanized, " meaning we follow a Kaplan structured curriculum (in general), and take Kaplan Integrated tests throughout our courses. Kaplan administers the NCLEX, so this is supposed to prepare us for familiarity with Kaplan style questions. It's nothing like the review sessions that Hurst and ATI put on...we get regular lectures, powerpoints, etc all taught by our instructors. It's just every so often we take one of these standardized tests which are "normalized" to the whole country. It allows our professors to see how we stack up against other schools and students at our level, and also to predict how well we are learning the material for the NCLEX. We had a big Kaplan in health assessment this morning. 

It's funny because we all come out moaning and thinking we did terribly, which is exactly what I hear about the NCLEX. 

I think this experience with State GANS board will be an education that is trial by fire, much like these Kaplan tests. Are you ready to lead as an RN? Can you take the lead in the face of little information and an incredibly short transition from past Director to...Hey! You are the Director now!  ( I got a 1.5 hour transition roughly, though I know the previous director is available to me for help...but she is a busy nursing student who has served her time.)

I had a moment of panic in the middle of Frankenweenie. I had let my mind rest in the movie, following the little doggie with the stitches and the bolts in his neck. Suddenly, I remembered what I had just gotten myself into...on top of school and everything else I do...thank goodness no one was there to record my heart rate and respiration!

In those situations, I have to stop and ask myself some questions, no matter how much I am doubting myself:

1. Is anyone else here going to do this job if I do not?  (maybe? No?)
2. Is there a reason I was given this job and not someone else? (usually yes)
3. Do I believe that anyone I can readily think of can do this better than I can-
    right now, right here?     (usually not. they have their own things to do)
4. Are people looking to me to take charge and handle this? (always yes)
5. Can I think quickly and creatively in this situation? (usually yes)
6. Do I trust myself, my incredible support system (you are all the best!!) and God? (emphatically yes)

Then everything else will work itself out. Maybe a better mantra is:

If I work my hardest; it will work out.

My hardest and best effort may be different on different days. School comes first- for the benefit of the patients. But I may sacrifice a few grades in this effort for GANS. Maybe that is a good thing. Maybe I focus too much on grades. Potential future employers will not ask me much about my grades. They will ask me what things I have done to develop myself into a leader? what makes me different than other candidates? And how can I show that I am patient centered, not self-centered. 

All of us on this new GANS Board are giving up so many other things we could be doing with our time..because we want to be better leaders. Who is it that we need to lead as RNs? Other nurses and patient care personnel. And for whose benefit? The patients.

I got into nursing to care for the patients. Being an effective leader will benefit the patient every time.

One last anecdote...I remember when Jason and I brought Reid home from the hospital; he was three days old and in his little car seat carrier. We set him on the coffee table and sat on the couch looking at him.
I already had a two year old son, so I had been through this before. Jason turned and looked at me questioningly. I looked back at him and said, " Don't look at me! I don't know what to do with him, either!"

We both died laughing. It became an oft repeated phrase of ours in relation to Reid, who has always been smarter than we knew how to handle. It just serves to remind me, that even though you may have successfully done something before, or many times, each new time is its own challenge.
But I look at Reid now, almost done with high school and driving himself to Engineering orientation session at Ga Tech, and I realize I still don't know just what to do with him....hhahhahah.

I don't have to. All I had to do was my job to the best of my ability with both my sons. And the rest takes care of itself.

Just in case any of my fellow board members chance to read this post, I love you guys already.We may be a little stitched together right now like Frankenweenie, but the lightning has struck.

T. Sylace