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When we first moved Robbie to a toddler bed a couple weeks ago, he started coming out of his room by himself, shuffling out into the dark house, clutching his Thomas the Train blanket and looking for me and Rob. The second night of this new independence, I heard his door slam shut at about 5:30 a.m., and then I heard a timid voice on the landing outside our door saying, “I'm not scared. I'm not scared.”

I rescued him immediately, because this is what my boy says when he's frightened but trying to be brave.

* * *

A couple of weeks ago I also wrapped up my first semester of nursing school. Although I was taking classes last fall, they didn't have impressive-sounding names like Pathophysiology, Pharmacology and Pharmacological Math. And getting a 73 average last fall wouldn't have gotten me kicked out of school. So there's a bit more pressure, is what I'm saying.

But the semester went fine and I was never even close to the do-not-cross line of 74%.

Those of us who started nursing classes in the spring are required to take a six-credit course this summer, as well. It's called Fundamentals of Nursing, or just Fundamentals if you're hip to the jargon like I am. (Do the kids even say “hip” anymore? I have no idea.) The thing about this class is that it's only seven weeks long. Oh, and one more thing: It's the first class where we go into the hospital and care for patients.

I mean, sure, we practiced taking blood pressure and assessing problems last semester, but we did it on each other. This semester we will be doing these things on patients, where it actually matters if we fuck up. There can be no “Oopsie, I made a little error in my calculations and gave my patient 1,000 mg of this powerful drug instead of 10 mg. Can I have a do-over?” (There will be someone with experience watching our every move, but it's still a little overwhelming to think about.)

Fundamentals started today, and the professor said the first thing she wanted to do was ease our anxiety. Then she proceeded to tell us that, by the end of these seven weeks, we will each be caring for a couple patients at a time, all by ourselves.

I'm not scared.

I'm not scared.

Reader Comments (4)

"Can a (wo)man still be brave if (s)he's afraid?"
"That is the only time a (wo)man can be brave"

Yes, I'm quoting Game of Thrones at you. Boom!

Good luck. In addition to being scary, I bet it will also be interesting and exciting.

May 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Heather, as a nurse, a little fear means you have a brain! It is scary, but amazing. Good luck and remember House is right, "Patients lie!"

May 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Oh, that is so sweet imagining frightened Robbie trying so hard to be a big, brave boy.

Wish I had a magic wand to magically rescue you like you did Robbie. I know you won't need rescuing, though. Good luck!

Isn't it amazing when we learn things about ourselves because we see them in our children?

I just heard a quote - courage isn't the absence of fear. It's moving forward despite the fear. You can do it!

June 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMom101

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