Being a Nurse for a Day

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Today was the perfect day to bring out my inner nurse, not that it necessarily exists. Over the course of the day, we went over a lecture on public health that included an interesting case study on tobacco, attended a few sessions of an annual nursing conference, met some adult nurses from BCU, and experienced a simulation lab. After all of that, I did still take the opportunity to explore some of the historical sites of Birmingham too.

The start of our day began with a public health lecture that went over the meaning of public health and some of the terms within the system. It also ended with some information from a tobacco case study as well. One of the first things that had been mentioned was the idea that the physical or mental impairments that we often refer to as “disabilities” may only be called such because our society has failed to accommodate people who have these conditions. This question of what really constitutes a disability is part of a larger question that challenges the official definition of health that is pushed by organizations like the WHO. Modern medicine has advanced so far that people can live with a variety of conditions but the rest of our regular infrastructure seemingly has not caught up.

Following our public health lecture, we got to attend a few sessions at a BCU annual nursing conference. I found it very intriguing to hear what some of the upcoming Ph.D. candidates were presenting as part of their research, given that these topics will likely be those covered by the future of nursing. One session that I found particularly interesting was one about conscientious objections that nurses might have, specifically in regards to mental health nurses. The presenter challenged the idea that nurses should be expected to follow any command despite having their patients denying treatment or even physically resisting. The presenter also made many connections to conscientious objections throughout history and how this area of nursing has not really advanced at all despite approaching a limit where the status of conscientious objections needs to be addressed more formally.

As the conference started to break for lunch, we headed back to BCU to meet with some Adult Nurses for International Nurses Day. We took the opportunity while talking to a group of students to discuss some of the differences between the academic processes between the US and UK schooling systems. I personally can’t imagine being in school almost full-time for 3 years, only having a few weeks at a time for a break. I also found it interesting that the Universities in the UK have separated their majors so much and do not have an exact equivalent to a minor whereas in the United States I’ve been able to cover History, Education, and Psychology in the same four years.

After meeting with the adult nurses, we quickly walked to the BCU SPACE building which is used for nursing simulations. While there we were able to practice recitation techniques on test dummies, use UV light to see how well we could wash our hands, and try our hands at an anatomy quiz. I did end up winning a prize for washing my hands well which was nice. Our final activity was about having to handle the intricate matters revolving around a dramatic injury coming to the ER. We were forced to think about how to handle different interactions with family members and the patient himself. Despite not being involved in nursing, I found these simulations and the scenario at the end to be somewhat distressing and it really increased my respect for my peers in the nursing program. As difficult as handling a classroom can be, I’m not certain that a good comparison can be made between the chaotic scenes in the daily work of nurses and that of teachers.

A Magistrate Building
Saint Philip’s Cathedral (Anglican)
St. Chad Catholic Cathedral (Head of the Diocese of Birmingham)
Saint Michaels Catholic Church (offers masses in Polish and English)

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