Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a “Nurses in Recovery “. What started out as just another homework/paper writing assignment, quickly changed into an experience that will stay with me forever. I won’t spill any juicy details; but members of this support group are recovering from a several addictions. It’s AA or NA for nurses. What’s special about this group is that as nurses go, we know how to help others heal. So much so, that we can easily lose sight of our illnesses or quickly brush it off because, well, we’re nurses!
Anyhoo, just being in the room with these folks and hearing their stories, I got to thinking about the big picture. Mainly, where would the warning signs start, and when would be the best time to intervene? My thoughts led me to nursing school. I mean, as a student, we endure a good amount of stress. Juggling studying and life just ain’t that easy. I know how it feels to just want to wig out and over celebrate that passing score. It really isn’t much different than pounding a beer or two after a break-neck busy shift on the floor.
I also know how easy it is to pop a sleep aid or antihistamine to help you get a good night’s sleep before an exam. What about pounding that energy drink or taking an extra prescription medication to get you focused and going. These behaviors are not much different than the stories I heard. Maybe a PG-13 version of what happens on the floor, with more “grown-up” substances.
Then I thought, why didn’t they reach out? Who better to help you than a nurse! Well, that’s what this group has done, and they’re doing a great job. So then I thought, why don’t we nursing students reach out to each other? The process of getting in to nursing school was competitive; but that part is behind us now.
I’m challenging all of you nursing students to step it up, and throw some major love out there for your homies! The next time you see a classmate struggling with a bed bath, step in and lend a hand. Not getting the best comments about your care plans? Ask one of your classmates for some insight! If a CNA is running your classmate ragged with all her ADLs on patients other than the assigned patient, stand up for her.
Instructors are constantly telling us to advocate for our patients. We should also advocate for ourselves. I also think that instilling the mentality of community (as nursing students) will also help reduce Nurse on New Nurse mean-ness. I don’t know about you; but cannibalism has never been a good look! Stop being competitive, start being a team.