September 9, 2006, 7:14 pm

In Honor of My Nursing Instructors

ohloneI had the honor of attending college here, at Ohlone College in Fremont, California. Class of 1978.

Ohlone was the first ADN program to achieve NLN accreditation back in the 1970s.

I received many things from Ohlone.

In fact, I shall utilize nursing diagnosis to illustrate them.

  • Thighs, of steel. Due to climbing 6,956 stairs on a daily basis, secondary to facility existing high atop a hill. Long ago reduced to celllulite, etiology unknown.
  • Associate’s Degree, Nursing. Due to extreme amounts of studying, secondary to life-long ambition to be a nurse, assisted by the Ohlone faculty’s willingness to enroll a teenager and resulting in a life-long career with good pay and great benefits.
  • Husband, male. Due to my friendship whith classmate Sue, secondary to her living next to really cute guy, resulting in marriage one year after graduation.
  • Kids, three, due to marriage to next door neighbor of classmate Sue, secondary to her being enrolled in Ohlone, allowing us to become friends. See Husband, male.
  • Esteem, self. Due to ability to practice nursing, secondary to excellent education, provided by great nursing instructors resulting in being pushed beyond any perceived limits. See Associate’s Degree, Nursing

******************************

I have spoken about different nursing instuctors over the last year. This week, however, Amy at Diabetes Mine has introduced an “education” theme for Grand Rounds.

With all the discussion of the need for nurses and RNs with advanced degrees to teach these nurses, I thought I would salute the women (and all my instructors were women) who devoted their careers to the task of educating my generation of nurses.

******************************

Claudia.

Adult med/surg. Maternity.

Tall, regal, cool as ice. Impecably dressed and groomed.

I wanted to be her.

“Nurses are educated, not trained. Dogs are trained.”

“It’s nursing science, Kim. Not medical science.”

Yes ma’am.

So here’s to Claudia, who didn’t chide me for fainting during my first delivery, who understood why a 19-year-old senior nursing student just had to get to the beach in the middle of the week, who could stare down a doctor with a professional attitude bordering on superiority (I never could get that right!) and who instilled in me the pride I feel in my profession. In my eyes she was ten feet tall and if I’ve emulated her even remotely, my patients have blessed.

*****

Sharlene.

Adult Med/Surg. Psych.

Blond, petite.

Easy-going.

So let’s give it up for Sharlene, who never made you feel stupid or clumsy, who gave praise without reservation, who I always remember as smiling and from whom I picked up a life-long interest in psychiatric nursing and an ease with psych patients that helps me in my ER practice to this day.

She is now the Dean of the Health and Exercise Sciences Division at my alma mater.

*****

Pat.

Adult Med/Surg. Critical Care.

Tall, slim.

Perceptive.

The reason I stayed in the nursing program.

So here goes a HUGE thank you to Pat, who saw the frightened teenager under the nursing student facade the day I went home “sick” after ten minutes with my first ICU patient, and who made sure I had support and could dip my foot slowly into the waters of critical care after that. Well, Pat the water was fine. I spent my first 12 years in nursing doing what I was so frightened of that crucial day: critical care.

*****

Nancy D.

Adult Med/Surg. Pediatrics.

Approachable. Funny.

Practical.

To Nancy D., who sent me home from Pediatrics, aghast that I would show up with a 101.3 degree temperature and who didn’t sweat the clinical hours missed when it was obvious I was getting every single virus in the unit. She made that rotation much less stressful (and I was able to make up the hours!). You lived by my friend Sue, and I go by your house at least twice a week and think of you.

*****

Nancy M.

Adult Med/Surg

Mother figure.

Believed in the basics.

Nancy, you drove us nuts with your test questions and we could argue until the cows came home and you would not give in. I learned more from those debates than I ever could have had I answered the question correctly. You were tough in the classroom but gentle in clinicals and under the “instructor” was a very good nurse. Yes, we knew it!

*****

Anita.

Psych. Adult Med/Surg.

From Hawaii.

Sassy!

I still remember your story about being able to wear moo-moos to work on Fridays in Hawaii, and this was before I realized just how comfortable they were! You brought a common-sense approach to your lectures and clinicals and I was very comfortable around you in both settings. You left the next year, I heard. Whereever you are, I hope you still wear moo-moos on Friday! Maybe I should invent the moo-moo scrubs!

*****

Kathy.

Adult Med/Surg.

Director of Nursing Program.

Scared the hell out of me.

Didn’t appreciate you at the time, Kathy, but in retrospect you taught me the “manners” of professional interaction and to this day I can tell you that our discussions shape the way in which I deal with my colleagues, doctors and administrators.

*****

Linda.

Director of the Skills Lab.

Fun, no-stress personality.

Thanks for providing a place for us to study or just “hang out”. You were the instructor who treated us like we were already nurses and imparted your wisdom in a practical, literal way as we injected, inserted and sterile-fielded our way to graduation.

*****

Long post, yes, but I didn’t want to leave anybody out.

The above referenced women made up the nursing instructors for the nursing class of 1978.

I wish I could go back, knowing even half of what I know now. I would have utilized their experiences and knowledge in ways that never even occured to me back then.

So….here’s to all of you, and to the instuctors of today who are forming my colleagues of tomorrow.

You guys rock.

And you will never, ever be forgotten.

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7 Comments

  • kt
    kt

    September 10, 2006 at 5:26 am

    that was awesome. loved the nursing care plan of husband/self esteem.


  • Gale Carli
    Gale Carli

    September 10, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    I am the current Director of Nursing at Ohlone College. I am so proud that after 28 years of nursing Kim has kept her sense of humor. I am additionally proud that Kim has taken time to acknowledge her nursing education. Thank you KIM!


  • sharlene Limon
    sharlene Limon

    September 11, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    Kim, I’m glad to hear that we all had such a positive and long term effect on you and your career. Back in 1976 we were all just one step ahead of the students. Your career brings joy to me and truely honors what this program is about. Thanks for creating this blog. Sharlene


  • sharlene Limon
    sharlene Limon

    September 11, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    Kim, I’m glad to hear that we all had such a positive and long term effect on you and your career. Back in 1976 we were all just one step ahead of the students. Your career brings joy to me and truely honors what this program is about. Thanks for creating this blog. Sharlene


  • Nurse Hells
    Nurse Hells

    September 18, 2006 at 1:20 am

    Great post! Looking back, I appreciate each and every one of my instructors, even if they terrified me at the time! And I’m only just out, too!


  • prissie chetty
    prissie chetty

    January 7, 2008 at 3:20 am

    nice stuff, am south african nurse, will chat ti u soon, still nursing sine 1975-love it


  • [...] For all their varying personalities, they all have it nailed when it comes to the “manners” of professional interaction.  I’m watching and [...]


About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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