Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The World of Teaching

Most of the time I live by impossible standards and I know this. I tend to be meticulous about my environment and my work. I am detailed and methodical. I thrive on routine, I hate change and I don't do well with things that are abstract when it comes to many things in my life.
I am an ICU nurse... detail and a well controlled environment are things we tend to need to be successful at our jobs.

Last week I had the opportunity to stand in as a preceptor for a nursing student that has been on our unit for the past few weeks. It was an interesting experience. When I was approached last year about becoming a student preceptor I was hesitant about the work I would have to put in but also eager for the change and the experience. I remember what it was like to be a nursing student and the ability to be an encouragement to someone who was going through the hellish experience of nursing school was something I looked forward too.

Well let me tell you... teaching is not easy... at all. I have always known that I tend to expect a lot out of the people around me. I have to make a conscious effort to not only focus on the criticism but the praise as well. Now don't get me wrong, I love nothing more than to encourage people and inspire them in what they love doing. I do like teaching in the ways where you can see it "clicking"... that moment when you see the light bulb coming on. It's a great feeling to know that you've invested into someone in ways that are so rewarding. The thing with teaching in nursing though... (and this is probably true in the medical world too) is that we are dealing with people's lives here. It's not a normal educational environment.

You don't have the luxury of making huge mistakes. Especially in the ICU. It's a stressful environment and when it comes to being in charge of a student learning how to navigate that world.... man, is it ever exhausting!

After two 12 hour shifts of having this student with me I was completely worn out! I honestly don't know if it is something I would ever like to do on a regular basis. I will say though that I am thankful I was able to give her some great ICU experiences and it was a good lesson in learning to let go. Learning to step back and let someone figure it out without hovering and micro-managing. I guess we can't always be in control. Probably something I should remember if I ever want to be a mom, huh? :)

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