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I was lucky enough to have my clinical rotation split into two locations and two very different levels of acuity. The first half of the semester was spent in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado. There, I was able to start IV’s, catheters, administer a wide variety and often a large quantity of medications, complete thorough physical and neuro assessments, and provide education to families about plans of care. It was amazing to be in such a busy hospital. The units were full every day, and there was always a critical patient to see. I remember a particular instance where a patient was so unstable that he had each part of his body and every system controlled by at least one machine or medication. It was a humbling experience to know that I had control over this human being and that his family trusted me with his care. I was able to rotate to different units, such as Medical-Surgical, Cath Lab, OR, and Pre-Op in order to gain a wider range of skills. The staff was incredibly friendly and always willing to take the time to teach me anything they could. I felt that I grew exponentially in my time at the SICU.
After spending half the semester in a very busy ICU, I was able to move to rural Cody, Wyoming to continue my Capstone in Park County Public Health. I gained valuable information on immunizations for infants, children, and adults, maternal-child health, public education, sexually transmitted infection testing and contact investigation, and long-term care assessments in the form of LT101’s. Public Health nurses are some of the most independent and self-motivated nurses in the career field. Their job is entirely their own to manage, and it is a huge responsibility. I respect Public Health so much after having spent time working in it, and I have been able to recognize the absolute necessity of having Public Health around for the community. During my time here, I was able to create an evidence-based project on the use of simplified literature to be utilized by the community. I created a booklet outlining the services of Park County Public Health, which is now used by the office itself.
I couldn’t be more grateful for my Capstone clinical experience. After completing three semesters of didactic class work and getting little-to-no sleep with balancing studies, clinicals, and somewhat of a social schedule, it was incredible to be able to apply all of what we learned in our Basic BSN class. I walked into my Capstone feeling nervous that I wouldn’t know what I was doing, but the nursing program prepared me for success, and my last clinical rotation prepared me for my career. I now feel ready to graduate, pass my NCLEX and continue my passion of being a registered nurse.