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I knew this day would come…

Submitted by Margaret Gambino RN BSN

As a teacher in a small community you are bound to run into your students while out to dinner, at Wal-mart, or at church from time to time. This is the joy of teaching, to see a student you taught many years ago who is now a successful working professional. To know that you as a teacher played a small role in that person’s life and helped to propel them into the field of nursing is rewarding.  I have worked with former students side by side, who are leaders in the profession, while training new students who are just starting out. To walk on a unit and see a former student working as a charge nurse is teacher bliss!

However, as a Health Occupations Teacher who, from time to time, needs medical care in a small community you are bound to run into a former student. Yes, we teach patient confidentiality and HIPPA but we never expect or let’s say “hope” to be the patient of our former students. I began to stress about an upcoming medical appointment where I knew two former students worked. They worked at the facility because I placed them there during their internship for school. The physicians liked them so much they were hired. That was several years ago and they are still employed at the medical office while working towards their BSN at our local university.

I was very stressed about having to be weighed, measured and pricked by a student for whom I taught these skills. The skills are simple enough, but this was not the issue. The issue was the students had always regarded me as their teacher. How would they feel when the roles changed? Would they always view me as their teacher or would they see me as their patient?

The day of the appointment I went to the office and there to greet me was a former student. We were both apprehensive at first about our new role as nurse and patient instead of teacher vs. student. However, the student treated me professionally and with utmost respect. Wow! It was great to be taken care of by a health care worker that I personally trained! The field of nursing is so rewarding and to be privileged to teach it as well is the icing on the cake! I hope to continue in this role as RN/Health Occupations Teacher for many years to come. I am proud to be a nurse, it was simply one of the best decisions I ever made, but combined with education is it also gratifying and humbling.

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Being a CPR training instructor I’ve had the same thing happen to me where students I’ve taught have been my nurses. It is a weird feeling lol

This reminds me so much of my experience of delivering my son, now 19 months old. I was admitted to L&D at 4 am and at change of shift, my new RN was my former nursing school classmate! At first, we didn’t recognize one another (me in a “discomfort”-induced haze, her not realizing it was me because my last name was different). But as I held my son and thanked her, I couldn’t help but feel so taken care of by her and just so very proud of her!

Nursing is a fabulous career to go into. There are situations no matter what type of nursing you go into that may cause you to interact with individuals you know. You just have to treat them professionally and like any other patient. I’ve been in this situation and like the article says the first few minutes are awkward but than the nurse in you takes over.

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  • profileI am Gina. I have been a nurse for 15 years, first in med/surg, then CVICU, inpatient dialysis, CCU and now hospice. This blog is about my experiences as a nurse, and the experiences of others in the healthcare system - patients, nurses, doctors, paramedics. We all have stories!

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