Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Today was my first day at B. "Welcome to B," everyone kept saying over and over today. Sometimes it gave me goosebumps the way they said it.

It feels like it was actually a couple of days; we took in so much information and saw a lot of new sites. It's going to take a couple of days to get oriented, I think. There are a lot of firsts for me here. We'll take the city bus to and from work each day.

We've been treated like queens so far. People treat us as though we're something special and talk about the great opportunity we have to learn in a setting which strives to provide "the best nursing care in the world".

Today, the man who welcomed us read one of the applicants' essays about why we want to be at B. I could have sworn it was mine, and I think my face was getting red, but at the end of the story, it was revealed that it was his own essay from a number of years ago. Many of the people in charge of our orientation process have been in the program I'm in, and chose to stay with B through their years. He kept saying during his speech, "You were meant to be here."

I found out today that 140 applicants were chosen of 600. The chosen ones are from all over the United States here. It's kind of exciting to meet so many new people. I feel like I'm at a state sports competition with the way we've been treated and all the hype about us being so extraordinary.

I learned today that my unit for this summer is hematology/oncology, aka: "heme-onk", and BMT which stands for blood and marrow transplant (not bone marrow transplant like I thought). It's an overflow unit, so instead of only seeing oncology patients or hematology patients or BMT patients (each of those are considered our "sister units"), I get to see all three during my shifts. I was told that 60% will be hematology patients, 20% onc, 20% BMT.

We have quite a few people over us this summer, a nursing manager (who oversees all of the nursing goings about on the unit), a nursing educator specialist, and a clinical coach (under whom we will work directly during all patient-cares). I haven't met my clinical coach yet, but the other two people are nurses with whom I felt very comfortable. They were approachable and knowledgeable. I feel very relieved! I think that when things come up this summer that I need help with, I'll be able to address these people confidently and comfortably. My nursing manager played on a volleyball team with Miss Volleyball from my home town. Small world.

There are two girls in the same boat that I am on my unit. One is from Boston. She's going to school in DC at the Catholic School of America. The other grew up in Montana on a ranch "with cows, horses, sheep... all that jazz". Pretty opposite posts in the world. The one from Montana kept on saying, "Oh! I didn't know it would be this big of a deal. Wow. This is really big. Wow. This is really nice," all day long. It was funny to me. She also said that she applied for the position because that's what everyone else was doing, and didn't really know what was going on when she got accepted. I kept thinking, "You're in for a ride." She's small and blond and reminded me a lot of a girl I know from Maryland. Every time the girl from Boston was asked a question, it sounded like she was reading off her resume or answering a question for a beauty pageant about world peace. When asked about her hobbies, I think she said, "My involvement in the campus ministries at my school is a very important part of my life." She's very tall and red-headed and has a kind of loud presence about her. She was dressed like a city girl. I love this taste of diversity.

I'm pretty excited to be part of something that is so much bigger than myself. It's been easy lately to get wrapped up in the all of the things in my daily life and I feel like this is a chance to get out of myself. I feel small, and really big at the same time. Small compared to what's going on here - just a tiny piece of the B world. 6500 people on nursing staff, I think they said today. Big - I feel like a little bit of a big deal with the way they are treating us. It seems as though it's really just such a prestigious place that the people on the top serve the people on the bottom (me).

The people on our unit, especially our nursing manager, seemed extremely excited for us to come on board. She said that our arrival signifies the beginning of summer for them. She also said that all of the staff really feed off of our excitement and enthusiasm - that our arrival is a breath of fresh air for all of the employees.



I haven't seen all of the facilities yet. But all of the ones I have seen are gorgeous. There is beautiful artwork and architecture everywhere. There are grand pianos just sitting around, and people just play them at any random time. I played one today while waiting for my roommate to finish her orientation process. It was a beautiful piano, and it was really nice to sit down and play in this huge hall.

Anyways, like I said, this is a pretty sweet deal - away from my normal life. Bigger than normal life. Bigger than feeling so sad about certain life situations. This is something outside of my personal life, and it's refreshing.

Our living arrangements are really great. the furnishings are nice, and a lot of people have said that they've just done some remodeling. Out by the dumpster, there's about twenty couches and other pieces of old-looking, shoddy furniture. Ours look very new and cozy and comfortable. I just got all of my stuff settled into my room tonight, and it's pretty much perfect. Just right for ten weeks of living.

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