This is my own unique experience of my time in nursing school. Happy reading, and thanks for sharing!
I had no particular driving force when I applied for Nursing school. All I wanted was to make a difference.
So today, present-day me, who spent six years in nursing school, will share a story about my not-so-cute but humorous and meaningful life there.
In the beginning,
I planned to study pharmacy or medicine but didn’t know what I was doing and decided to go into nursing.
It appeared fascinating and thrilling as I sat in the ICT centre of my high school, surfing the internet about nursing, its benefits and drawbacks, and what life would be like for someone with a bachelor’s degree in nursing science.
I jumped in because I was constantly curious and eager to satisfy that curiosity with knowledge.
I started classes at Adeleke University in November 2017 after being admitted in August 2017.
I was unsure of my choice; I can still recall people asking me whether I was sure of it, and I kept responding, “Yes, I am sure.” Meanwhile, my heart screamed, “No, I have no idea what I’m doing!”
It got off to a great start. I was the class clown who always slept and thought I could pass if I read my friends’ notes.
That wasn’t who I was. Growing up, I was so ordered and modern, but suddenly I had the freedom to explore.
I could do whatever I wanted. Freedom to read or not to read. And this freedom allowed me to make mistakes in my chosen profession because I was naive.
100–500 level days
There was a drastic change that occurred.
Academically, I thrived and suffered setbacks peculiar to my 300 and 500 levels; however, I grew to love this profession.
As I dressed daily for class, things started making sense to me. Little by little.
From the foundation of nursing to Anatomy and physiology, the basics of medical and surgical nursing, pharmacology, human behaviour, maternal and child health, mental health, health economics, and so on.
The theoretical learning scheme was ingrained in me, and I also worked in different hospitals during my clinical learning through hands-on experience and the reality of nursing.
It then dawned on me that I couldn’t be just an ordinary nurse, but no speciality piqued my interest.
A Major Failure
Nursing made me a strong person, mentally and physically. I failed the 300 level (2020), leaving me one year behind with a new set of classmates.
I was at home because of the pandemic, trying to make sense of everything that seemed strange. Additionally, it was the first time in a while that I had to attempt to relate to a diverse group of individuals. It didn’t make sense that I had to leave my former classmates.
In my loneliness, I started writing. I would sit and write about my feelings because I couldn’t explain them to anyone.
I recall skipping a few clinical postings because I was terrified of people and felt everyone was against me.
I needed a diversion in the thick of this. Since writing was present, I received an internship to write and manage a known fintech with a student community, Cowrywise.
How did I get that? Even though I had little writing experience, I was active on Twitter and made the most of places and groups. I was also very vocal about liking the idea of writing.
This was my first experience in the job market, and I began to recognize its benefits and drawbacks.
I returned to nursing school and wondered if I was cut out for the profession.
Who am I?
I resumed nursing school without any prior preparation. My only advantage was that my grades remained high after failing the 300-level. I expedited my goals by putting all my rage, effort, and prayer into them.
The beautiful thing about this experience was that I began liking people more. I enjoyed interacting with others, listening, and being genuine.
I became interested in personal branding, email marketing, technical writing, DevRel, operations, and cloud technology. I took my first AWS exam in less than a year, passed it, and then wrote about the experience.
I wrote for various clients and became a community advocate for a cloud-native developer tech company, Ambassador Labs.
My professional exams were approaching, and I had to drop tech and writing. I was emotionally down, and I remember convincing myself I could do it, but truthfully, it was impossible.
I started focusing on passing my exams, but I used my free time to read or ask questions to my cloud mentor and tech writer support group. It was a big struggle.
I wrote the Registered Nurse Professional exams in November and failed all papers. I did not think I would graduate or be a nurse, and seeing as I started a tech career, it confirmed that nursing was not my thing.
I woke up one day and said, “I want to be a nurse because this profession aligns with my personality and shows care for humanity, making an impact in my little way”. I also wanted to be a nurse because I wanted to prove to myself that bad things happen for good reasons.
So I picked up my books and started reading again in January 2023. It was a long, challenging journey. I had to take extra classes and leave anything before tech, although I still wrote one article and attended meetings during my rigorous reading.
It was tough. I would wake up, cry, clean my tears, and keep on reading. This experience made me appreciate family, friends, lecturers, and myself.
Victory At Last
I got a notification in April 2023 that I didn’t fail all papers but forgot only one. It was good news for me because I could focus on one paper.
On May 3rd, 2023, I wrote my paper and had some technical faults with it. I was the only one with this experience. It was scary because I thought I would fail, but it was resolved.
Results came out in June, and I passed. I felt like God’s favourite.
And in less than a month, I finished all my work in school, and in July 2023, I graduated from nursing school.
Grateful to God.
Lessons I learned through Nursing school.
- Failure is necessary: The ability to walk through the rough path will allow you to face real-life scenarios. You are one step closer to real life if you can overcome school’s struggles. Embrace your failures and own them.
- Be respectful to lecturers and clinical mentors: I was very respectful, and that trait made lecturers, mentors, and other people want to help me. Your impact on people, no matter how small, will make people want to help you. Be humble and generous.
- Participate extensively during clinical postings: Nursing principles are better learned when exposed to the clinical environment. Do well to ask questions, learn new things, and fuel that curiosity.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses: Leveraging your strengths and being willing to work on your other side will be advantageous. Show effort towards yourself.
- Hold your friends and relationships tight and be ready to let go: Unrelated, but I went through a bad breakup in school, and my friends and family held my hand as I walked through this phase. I advise you to focus solely on those who love you.
- Have a reading group: I found myself reading with people who could teach me and vice versa in detail while in nursing school. You need people to help you with your academics.
- Prioritize your health: Being in nursing school is enough work. Why stress yourself over things that are not profitable in the long term? Be intentional about improving your physical and mental health.
- Have fun: I had fun during these phases. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Do something you love. It could be singing, listening to uplifting music, or staying with friends.
- Do not stay quiet: Speak if you need help, specifically to the right people.
- Smile always: I was a class clown and a dramatic person, and my presence made people laugh or feel at peace. Those smiles relieved people and gave them one step toward happiness, irrespective of how things were, and this action made me smile regardless.
- Be genuine: In everything you do, do it with all diligence, hard work, and resilience. Do it with everything within you, and the world will see your light.
- Focus on your goals: I wanted to leave, right? I realized that I wouldn’t want to bring innovative technology into nursing practice if I went. The distractions will be present, but please do not give in.
- Learn the listening skill: This skill is essential as you go through your career in health care or any career where you will be solving problems. The ability to listen, comprehend, and learn from others will put you ahead of your peers.
- Hold God: Saying silent prayers for myself, my family, and my friends has helped me thus far. My creator loves me, and vice versa.
Nursing school was not easy, but it was worth it. Thankfully.
Now I can be addressed as Esther Olowoloba, RN, BSN (Nigeria).
I am grateful for my family, friends, acquaintances, and people I met along the way. I wouldn’t be here without their input in my life. No matter how little or big, I hold on to the love I have received from them.
Do I have goals after achieving this feat? Yes.
I hope to be a peculiar nurse in all my doings, personally and professionally, helping and bringing massive change around the globe.
My mantra is: “My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style. (Maya Angelou)