February 1977 – Senior in College of Nursing
By God’s grace, I have begun my final quarter of nursing school before I graduate in March. During my clinical rotation in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at University Hospital, I finally feel like the past four years are coming together. While spending hours making my care plans for these complex patients, I have also reviewed anatomy and physiology. Last night I went to bed at 1 a.m. after finishing the care plan and arose at 5 a.m. to get to ICU ready to hear the report at 7 a.m.
My kind instructor, Miss B, corrected me last week after I gave a medicine Intravenous (IV) push without her or my preceptor being present. Earlier in the quarter, she told me to work as independently as possible, but I guess that does not apply when giving IV meds. Thankfully, no harm came to the patient.
At the third week, I became filled with anxiety that I would not make it through the quarter because of the challenging course. I asked the brethren to pray for me and claimed Isaiah 40:29.
He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. (NKJV)
The Lord gave me victory and lifted the horrible depression and sense of defeat. From then on the quarter was fine.
The end of January, my class had our ceremony where we received our black velvet band to attach to our nursing cap. I thanked God for his mercy and grace to me these past four years as I pinned the band on my cap. I only arrived at this moment with God’s help. My family traveled for two hours so they could share this special time with me.
Nurses no longer wear caps in the clinical setting. The first hospital where I worked after graduating gave us the option of wearing it. I wore it proudly at first, but as I bent over a patient to do his dressing change, my cap fell into the middle of my sterile field and I had to start over. I also knocked it off sometimes on the over-bed trapeze bar. There was no good way to clean it since it was made of stiff cardboard-like material.
But the cap identified the nursing school the person had attended. Old pictures of the wide variety of nursing caps still fascinate me. The cap also set us apart from the nursing assistants and during emergencies.
I still have my slightly yellowed cap tucked away in my bottom bureau drawer. Occasionally, I gaze at it fondly and recall that proud moment when I received my black band. I had fun wearing it for a brief moment at my retirement party and at genre night at a Christian writer’s conference.