We don’t spend much time on simulations this semester, but today we cut our clinical short to spend the evening listening to voices. I’ve been looking forward to this simulation (which is supposed to give us some sense of what it’s like to be schizophrenic) since Accepted Students Day when I heard some current students talking about it, and it did not disappoint. Hearing voices, particularly mean voices like the ones we had, is terrible. I think if I had a voice in my head all the time telling me how terrible and ugly and worthless I am I would lose it entirely and withdraw from the world. As part of the exercise we had to go to various stations to attempt to deal with things that might come up, such as job interviews, going to the Emergency Department, and problem-solving, and they were all incredibly difficult. Every second I spend in psych nursing just reminds me how glad I am to be sane.

Speaking of sanity, I sometimes (often) worry that people don’t think I’m very smart, but my new clinical instructor seems to have my number. It does sometimes take me longer to get comfortable in new situations than it does other people, and psych nursing encompasses a lot areas where I struggle, but my instructor isn’t pushing, or backing off, she’s gently nudging me, and letting me work things out at my own speed in a very insightful manner. She gets that I don’t necessarily flourish under methods that work for other students, and so today while everyone else just picked patients I followed a nurse for half the morning instead. He was very nice, and helped me get my sea legs, and observe while he talked to and assessed several patients, which was incredibly helpful. I like to watch and practice things, and interactions with psych patients are especially difficult for me because I can barely talk to strangers under the best of circumstances, particularly early in the morning (speaking of talking to strangers in the early morning, a man hit on me at the bus stop today. He crossed the street to talk to me, and then insisted on giving me his number, and now I’m worried he’ll show up again tomorrow. It’s one thing to feel unsafe when you’re by yourself and worried about zombies, but adding strange men to dark, deserted streets pushes things over the edge).

There are few things in the world nicer than feeling understood, and while I’m not proud of the fact that I’m a bit of a toe-dipper rather than a cannonballer I don’t think it will make me any less of a good nurse, so I accept it. I adore my instructor though- she’s the master of the encouraging hand on the arm.


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