My Life as a Real Nurse
Hi, my name is Michael Neel and I’m a graduate of the Accelerated Post-Baccalaureate class of 2016. Since graduating I’ve enjoyed spending almost two years working full time in the ICU at a local trauma center.
Prior to the ICU and during my time at Moravian, I worked as an aide in the Emergency Department. Working as an aide and spending time as a student nurse were very similar. Both roles were managed by others (nurses or nursing instructors), both roles offered a lot of learning opportunities, and both roles carried little responsibility. Not to sound lazy, but one of my favorite things to say as an aide and student was “let me go get your nurse” anytime a hard question or uncomfortable situation arose.
Being out of school, off of orientation and comfortable enough to take time to reflect on my growth since being a new grad, the biggest takeaway for me has been the amount of responsibility that’s associated with holding a nursing license. You are now the one responsible for knowing the answers to those hard questions and knowing how to communicate effectively through those uncomfortable situations. You are the one responsible for being aware of your patient’s vitals, labs, urine output, and assessment changes. The rest of the health care team expects you to provide an accurate summary of your patient’s recent events, and whether you impress them or not is up to you.
And the list goes on and on. Code status, allergies, medications, how the sacrum and heels look, being on time for tests and procedures. But even outside of work you have a responsibility to your patients. Continuing Education (CE) requirements hold you responsible for staying active and knowledgeable about the latest Evidence Based Practices (EBP). And I’d argue that keeping yourself healthy is a responsibility you’ve now accepted as well. Nursing is mentally and physically challenging, and both aspects are important to providing exceptional patient care.
So whether you’re a nervous new grad or someone comfortable in their nursing position, I encourage you to rethink your responsibility as a nurse as I continue to grow into mine. Could you do more as a patient advocate? What about going to that education session on an unfamiliar topic, even though you have enough CE credits? Or how about reviewing your patients chart during downtime to make suggestions for the day team?
Whatever your area for improvement might be, take a small step next shift towards bettering that aspect of your care.
Plans are underway for Honduras Spring 2019!
Here’s a picture of our group in action, running a pharmacy for the medical brigade:
On March 6 2017 nine Moravian College students embarked on a medical mission trip to Honduras, Central America. Leaders for the trip were Dr. Beth Gotwals, Assistant Professor of Nursing and Dr. Pamela Associate Professor of Nursing. Since 2009, Moravian College has supported a delegation to Honduras as a service team or trip associated with a global health course. Our partner for this trip is MAMA project mamaproject.org , a local NGO based in East Greenville PA. MAMA is a network of health and wholeness for the rural people of Honduras who are lacking the basics such as clean water and sanitation in addition to health care access. The team works each year in a medical brigade which provides medical care as well as Vitamin A, Deworming, Screening for Malnutrition, Dental Services, Micronutrients and donations of school supplies, reading glasses and toys. In each village 2 families are selected to receive concrete floors. Assisting the MAMA staff to lay a cement floor is one of the most profound parts of the project each year --- seeing the real world rural poverty and helping to impact health and well being of a family through a concrete floor. Statistics of note for our week of service:
- Over 300 people received medical attention
- 362 people received deworming medication
- Nutrition screening resulted in identifying 88 malnourished children requiring follow-up by in country MAMA project staff
- Over 1,100 people received micronutrients
- Eight families received concrete floors (2 per village)
If you have any questions, or would like to make a donation to our Spring 2019 trip, please contact Upsilon Alpha members Beth Gotwals: firstname.lastname@example.org or Pam Adamshick: email@example.com