Friday, July 19, 2013

Teach a man to fish

This week, we had a new graduate in the clinic. I am absolutely positive, based upon how I have seen them treat others and how they treated me, that the days before I worked they treated him without accepting him. When he learned my proclivity for being able to teach, he decided to drag me all over the clinic and teach him everything he could find for me to show him. I told my co-worker today that I haven't seen a new graduate as enthusiastic as this one yet.

It was fun to help teach a new graduate the ropes. This kid showed up with raw talent and no confidence. He had had very little clinical time in nursing school, having completed a hybrid bachelor's to RN program where they focused heavily on the didactic and passing the examination board but came up terribly short on clinical time. Yet, despite having never started an IV before this week, and totally bombing his first two days, I was able to walk him through how to start an IV earlier this week and by the second time he was getting it the first time, every time. Today, eager to get every chance for practice he could before his week was up, he started almost every IV in the clinic. He also got them the first time, each time, even on a patient that is a terrible stick for us.

The kid has a bachelor's in biology before he altered and went to nursing school. It's not as if he doesn't have the head knowledge to be a nurse. He just lacks both experience and confidence. His first two days, he was basically left to sink or swim on his own. By midday on Wednesday, he was asking me to please show him every thing. Today, he was doing it all on his own. He kept going on and on about what a terrific teacher I am and how very grateful he is that our clinic was his first stop on his year of training.

The thing is, teaching people is what I am best at doing. I stop whatever I am doing anytime a patient wants me to give them knowledge and I give them as much as they can handle, in the format that they can understand. When students or new graduates into the clinic, I have the same response with them. I spent two decades homeschooling children, multiple of those children with learning struggles or language issues. I'm very good at deciphering when someone truly understands what I said and when they are completely lost. I know how to alter my words until I find a method of explanation that makes the confusion clear for someone.

I know that others can see this talent I possess, not because they all rave about how grateful they are to find a true teacher, but because I encounter it. I see the grateful look when someone finally gets something they hadn't gotten before. I hear it from my instructors in school and my manager on my annual review. I know that I enjoy this when it comes up, whether it is at home with my children or elsewhere.

What I don't know is what I'm supposed to do with this talent. I am moving forward with my intentions to become a nurse practitioner, and I know I can teach nursing. I also know that sometimes in my own coursework I take time to teach other students instead of merely be a student myself. This week was not the first time a professor asked permission to use my work to teach other students even after I complete a class.

We don't pay teachers peanuts in this country. So, if I went into strictly teaching, I would never made money. I can do a hybrid of practice and teaching, but there is only one of me and I'm not certain that I want to work two jobs per se, especially when each is complicated in their own right. For now, I teach whenever and whomever the opportunity arises. This week's student had already learned that nurses eat their young and was so grateful to find a nurse who nurtures and teaches instead. There will be more. Whether it is a patient getting a blood transfusion, or a new graduate who made it through nursing school without starting IVs. Until I can figure out how to merge both sides of my personality, I continue to pursue nursing and teach when the need arises.

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