Introduction to Nursing: Beyond the Books (a series of nurse interviews)
A Nursing Student’s Lessons are Rich, and Varied
Every nursing student today has a lot to think about.
Nursing and healthcare do provide very rich, diverse and rewarding career paths for many… yet knowing you want to be a nurse is different than knowing what kind of nurse you want to be. If nursing students share one thing, it might be feelings of uncertainty when transitioning their lessons into practice.
Students (by definition) are meant to be opening-up to potentially life-changing beliefs and making many important decisions without experience. Unfortunately, first-hand experiences are usually limited. Exposure to new ideas may also be dictated in-part by location or time. In cases like these, guidance from trusted advisers and others who intimately know the struggles being faced become the means for students to see new directions and make better choices.
Often, insight from the right person at the right time enables a student to see their profession in a different light: it literally helps them to become a better nurse.
Reaching Out: Nine Nurses in the Know
To learn more about how nursing students mature into seasoned healthcare providers, we studied popular nursing bloggers to see what they had to say on the subject.
We found the voices of dedicated professionals with intelligent conversations and compassionate stories illustrating what is happening: in hospitals, classrooms, organizations, public health, state-run or federally sponsored institutions, private hospice care, and more. These are nurses (some currently students themselves) who intimately understand the questions, concerns and the feelings shared by many nursing students: they embody the statement, “Been there, done that.”
As a way to help nursing students understand more of the thinking that they don’t teach you in books, we asked nine popular nursing bloggers to expand on ideas found in their body of work. The bloggers we selected shared more than 100 years worth of combined nursing experiences. All of them talked frankly about what it means – to them – to be a nurse, as it happens. How it changes, how it grows.
Our hope is to inspire conversations that move beyond the textbooks and the lecture halls, introducing new ideas about what it means to be a nurse. By talking openly with professionals who understand and care what you are going through, we hope to bring you to a deeper understanding of what it takes to become the kind of nurse you want to be.
Part One: Interview with Shrtstormtrooper
Our series begins with a discussion with a practicing RN who uses the online name “Shrtstormtrooper” to blog freely about nursing at New Nurse Insanity: The Adolescent Years. In covering and re-examining some of the many topics she discusses on her blog, we were able to capture some insight on how a “newer” nurse feels when they are transitioning from school into real-world working situations.
Part Two: Interview with rehabRN
The series continues by reaching-out to a nurse specializing in rehabilitative care who uses the online name “rehabRN” to blog freely about her nursing and experiences at RehabRN. Her specialty and willingness to talk about it will help to show nursing students some of the challenges, benefits and decisions being faced in providing specialty care.
Part Three: Interview with Keith Carlson
The third part of this series connects us to Keith Carlson, a well-known nurse blogger who has been in the field for 15 years. Focusing on delivery of specialized care to those living with AIDS, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses, Keith has effectively worked with hundreds of patients across the socioeconomic spectrum. He has also taught nursing. Keith owns an award-winning nursing blog at Digital Doorway where he has shared his adventures since 2005. He shares here, some of his well-earned philosophical views and how to maintain balance in a hectic nursing career.
Part Four: Interview with Lovlei McKinnie
The fourth part of our series continues by connecting with Lovlei McKinnie, a nursing student who is currently in her senior year. Lovlei has a perspective that will be very close to many nursing students, as seen on her blog The Dog Ate My Care Plan, but she has a wizened outlook and warm way of communicating that will help many students in their own journeys. Lovlei has been sharing her ups and downs as a student, wife and mother for over two years, so we dug deeper into some of the lessons she shares.
Part Five: Interview with Gina Rybolt
The fifth entry to our series connects us to Gina Rybolt, a practicing RN with her BSN and over 14 years of nursing experiences to share. The insights Gina has offered fills her popular blog Code Blog, where she has been active and outspoken since 2002. We talked to Gina about how nursing has changed for her, how it is affected by her 13 years in the ICU, and what influences change in the way she thinks about it.
Part Six: Interview with Nurse Teeny
The series continues by reaching-out to Nurse Teeny, a well-known blogger who has been sharing her own journey on The Makings of a Nurse. In addition to the normal routines juggled by nurses, like many in the field, Nurse Teeny is also adding in wedding plans to her future. We asked her a little about how nursing and her personal life mingle, how they affect each other, and what time means to a nurse’s sense of confidence.
Part Seven: Interview with Kim McAllister
The seventh part of our series reaches out to a well-known nursing blogger named Kim McAllister who is an RN, BSN, and CEN also currently working on her Master’s. As a practicing nurse for over three decades Kim has seen a lot, and she is willing to talk openly about her experiences. Her blog Emergiblog has led her to more writing and contributing to the nursing community everywhere, but we were able to get a few moments to talk to her. We listened, as she discussed her experiences and her thoughts regarding changes in her own perceptions over the years, and what she suggests to younger nurses to help find their own personal and professional success.
Part Eight: Interview with Terri Polick
The series continues with an in-depth interview with Terri Polick, better known to the nursing community as blogger MotherJonesRN of Nurse Ratched’s Place, her blog that gives readers an insider’s look at the mental health system. Terri has seen a lot as nurse, and she has even traveled to Washington to support the causes central to the nursing community. We asked Terri to expand on some of the ideas offered in her blog, and how she sees her nursing career as it fits into larger pictures.
Part Nine: Interview with (nurse)-Dr. Lorry Schoenly
The series continues by reaching-out to Dr. Lorry Schoenly PhD, RN, CCHP who has been a nurse for 25 years and is currently specializing in correctional healthcare. She is also a clinical education specialist and blogs regularly at CorrectionalNurse.Net. Lorry provides us answers to some of the questions regarding her experiences, giving commentary on what might affect misconceptions about participating in providing state or locally-run correctional healthcare.