This week was a busy week, here are the highlights:
Photos: Commitment to Excellence Ceremony, my 1st day in Duke scrubs, class photo.
Commitment to Excellence Pledge: As a nurse, I commit myself to care for each person’s needs in a holistic way that is both individualized and compassionate. I commit to serving both the individual, and the family, helping them attain and maintain optimal health and well-being. I will be accepting and will not judge an individual’s values and beliefs. I commit to working collaboratively with other members of the health care team to provide quality, evidence based care.
Yesterday, I attended a talk, by Dr. Rick Hodes who does spinal surgeries in Ethiopia for the last 29 years. He talked about the Jewish concept, Tzedakah (charity/ moral and societal obligations) and how it applies to his work. He said in the Jewish faith, there is the concept of giving back to the community, sometimes a portion of your income goes to charity, but for him, in his work, after the surgery, he ensures the patient has an income and skill to further their lives. The concept of Tzedakah resonated with me. Click the link of his name and read the story about two patients who walked 400 miles (8 days) to see him. 400 miles is something like walking from Boston to Washington, D.C.
I applied for our clinical placement assignments for the spring, 2nd semester to go to Tanzania, Africa and work with the Good Hope (an orphanage, mostly of children left behind from war). It is a two-week global clinical immersion assignment and I am excited to learn about Global Health. We are interviewed in a few weeks about our clinical site placements, it is not a guarantee I will be selected to go. I am also excited to apply for the alternative spring break trip, that goes to Guatemala and works with maternity care in a village. It will coincide with our 2nd semester Maternity and Pediatrics class work. 3rd semester, we can take an medical Spanish elective course.
I joined two clubs – Nurses Students without Borders and Duke Emergency Nursing Students. I am excited about the Nursing Students without Borders club. I looked up their previous activities, and they go out and service the community. For example, a health fair focused on refugees and another with the Latino community. I not yet sure if I will run for a Board/Leadership position in one of the clubs.
Other activities this week, I was offered a job that I did not apply for. I applied to work with the Duke Outdoor Adventure community as a guide, but they interviewed me and decided they were not hiring for this position this semester. Instead, they offered me a job working with their Adaptive Climbing program, which is a climbing program for people with disabilities in the Triangle Region (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill). I do not identify as a climber, but I accepted because I thought it would be good experience to learn to work with a population I have not yet worked with. I also asked for the minimum commitment, so I will only be working, two hours every month. For fall break, they might have a staff backpacking trip, but not confirmed yet.
In class, we had a presentation by Blind Industries, which is in Raleigh (30 minutes from Duke/Durham), and we will learn to work with blind patients in another of our clinical assignments this semester. I learned from our brief introduction with them, to learn to ask the patient, would you like to take my arm? (Usually the answer is yes, and you keep your arm straight, not bent, and they usually take your elbow.) Would you prefer the right or left? We were told just because you see someone with a walking cane or a dog, do not ask them if they need help. Do not assume someone needs help, unless they are struggling. We live in a sighted world and it is important to communicate tactily and verbally. Blind people see, just with their fingers. For example, if someone says to a blind person to sign on this line. You could fold the paper, and crease it, so they could feel for where to sign on the line.
This week, I came to terms with the fact, this accelerated program feels like 4 years of work in 4 semesters. We speak in the same terms. We are in the 1st semester cohort, and next semester we become the 2nd semester cohort. There will be a cohort behind us, starting in January. We advance, similarly as you would consider a first year, sophomore, junior and senior.
I met my peer advisor who is a 3rd semester student and she said this semester is challenging semester because we have to be on campus every day and the volume of material is a lot. She tried to help me set my priorities and come to terms with the idea I will personally not make it to the gym regularly this semester. But, next semester when we switch to 2 full days on campus and full days of clinical assignments, I will be able to manage better. She suggested, since my labs are in the afternoon, I use the mornings to do stuff other than studying, like laundry, etc. I met my tutor, who also helped me with time management. Next week, we’ll start studying pharmacology principles. We started our discussion in class about how drugs enter the body and the effects they have – for example, if a drug is acidic, will it be absorbed in the stomach? Now, I understand why Chemistry and Physiology were important pre-requiste classes.
Tonight, I’m going to the farm to meet my Community Support Agriculture (CSA) people. I’m excited to meet the farmers (refugees) who are producing my food, and the other members. This is my fun activity for this week. Over the weekend, I have to go back to the lab to practice taking vital signs (temperature, respiration, pulse/heart rate, blood pressure) as we are tested on them in a simulation next week. We have another simulation next week too, which is focused on therapeutic communication and motivational interviewing. We get fake patients or rather real people pretending to be patients, where we spend twenty minutes in an office setting discussing a scenario (like losing weight, eating better) and we are filmed and then assessed.
Week 3 done.