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Kelly Barker's E-Portfolio

Reflection Essay


Kelly Barker
Experiential Learning
Reflection Essay
            I have been interested in the medical field since I was a young child. I have always been fascinated with human body, how it functioned, how diseases affected the body, and how those diseases could be treated. The medical field is constantly growing and new treatments for diseases are being developed every day. After graduating from high school, I decided to attend Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). I declared my major in nursing and never looked back.
            The past two and a half years of my life spent in nursing school at MTSU have been some of the most challenging years of my life. I have overcome situations that I never thought I would be able to get through before. I have learned an enormous amount of material from some of the best nursing instructors in Tennessee. I have also developed nursing skills that will help me as I begin my career. Although these past years have been some of the hardest in my life, I have loved every minute of it. I have gained friends for life and have some amazing memories that I will remember forever.
            Experiential learning really helped me to understand what I was being taught in the classroom. I was able to learn about a specific disease process and how to treat a patient with the disease and then apply it to a real patient during a clinical. 
            I could not imagine going through my nursing education without experiential learning. I believe it is one of the most important aspects of my education. Nurses not only have to be educated on the human body, disease processes, and how to treat them, but they also have to be able to perform many physical tasks. Nurses would not be able to perform their duties without having these clinical skills. The beginning of my nursing education began with the basics, such as performing a full head-to-toe assessment on a patient. I learned how to take vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, etc.). I also learned other simple tasks such as giving a bed bath, changing bed linens, and other things. My first experiential learning experience took place at NHC, which is a local long-term care facility in Murfreesboro, TN. This is where I was able to develop some of my basic skills which I have carried on with me to all of my other clinicals. My last hands-on clinical took place on a critical care unit. It is amazing to think back to when I was just starting my clinicals and could barely give a bed bath. By the end of my nursing education, I have been able to take care of complicated patients on ventilators, with central lines, and feeding tubes. I have also gained confidence in myself to perform these skills.
            I have had the privilege of attending numerous clinicals at various different hospitals in the Murfreesboro and Nashville area. Some of the hospitals that I attended clinicals at include Middle Tennessee Medical Center, Centennial Medical Center, and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. I have attended clinicals on medical-surgical, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatric, and critical care units. I have also had the opportunity to attend clinicals in the community, such as the Rutherford County Health Department, out-patient psychiatric programs, and daycares.
            I owe much of my success to the wonderful clinical instructors that have taught me throughout my nursing school experience. Every single clinical instructor that I have had has taught me a different nursing skill and helped me to master that skill. They have always been very understanding and helped students in any way possible.   The clinical instructors want every nursing student to succeed and it definitely shows both inside and outside of the classroom. I am very thankful to have such great instructors. I hope that one day I will be as knowledgeable as they are when it comes to nursing.
            Even though nursing school has been difficult and time consuming, I will definitely miss it. The MTSU School of Nursing has made me a better person and has prepared me to become a successful, competent nurse. I am grateful for having the opportunity to graduate from MTSU with my Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.