Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Identity and Development: Introducing Me

This is an entry from a blog I half-heartedly attempted
at the start of my first year of my nursing degree. It basically gives a
background of who I am and, more importantly, where I come from.
I started my Bachelor of Science (Nursing) degree thinking everything would be all science, clinical practice and medical skills. How wrong I was. Here I am, having just survived my second week of lectures, tutorials, laboratories and study, thinking: "What have I gotten myself into now?!".

I was right on the mark with the science. I was mildly expecting the theory of nursing. But imagine my surprise when I entered my first Psychosocial Nursing: A Life Span Approach lecture.

Psychology? I want to become a nurse. Perhaps after that a Paramedic. I don't even fully understand what psychology is, let alone want to study it! Why does a nurse need to know psychology?! My lecturer must be familiar with this reaction, as she promptly reassured the fifty-odd students in the room that they were, in fact, not in the wrong lecture, but undertaking a vital unit in their course to become a Registered Nurse of Western Australia.

You see, this was no ordinary psych class (if there is such a concept). This was a unit that not only teaches us who our patients are, and why they are the people they present as, but a unit that helps us as individuals to understand better who we are.

On that note, let me begin...

I am a male student nurse, as you may have already figured. I was born in a small country town on the South Coast of WA, and lived the first 15 years of my life in a smaller country town, close by.

There is something about small towns that is beneficial to a growing boy. It's called community. This was a topic that was bought up in my Psychosocial Nursing unit today. One main theory the class is focusing on relates to the age old question: Nature versus Nurture. The view we are being encouraged to believe is that genetics and heredity as well as our upbringing and social environment determines our personal development and who we become, which is ever changing due to interacting physical and societal influences. This means that a boy such as myself has certain characteristics determined at conception (genetic information from Mum and Dad - i.e. physical appearance, some personality traits, inherited diseases or abnormalities), and other developmental and personality traits are developed over time from the way my parents bought me up, to my schooling and education and also from what I took in from my community and society.

We learn these theories and their particulars from a number of conflicting (and slightly twisted) theorists. One who supports the argument outlined above is a Russian psychologist by the name of Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934). He states in his sociocultural theory that culture (i.e. values, beliefs, customs and skills) are passed on from one generation to the next, and that social interaction, particularly cooperative dialogues with more knowledgeable members of the community, is necessary for children to acquire the ways of thinking and behaving that make up a communities culture (Berk, 2007, p. 23).

This was definitely the case with me. I grew up, and interacted, with quite wise and decent people. Namely, my Mum and Dad, and other members of the community. These include a youth worker, whom I still have quite close contact with, teachers, nurses and volunteer ambulance personnel - who I worked very closely with for over a year in very high stress, but also quite casual and social, situations.

I also knew who to look up to and idolise. My Mum played a great role in that. My parents didn't let me 'hang' with the wrong crowd, but let me make my own decisions later in life. I believe that I have that skill internally now because of her. I don't, for instance, look at ANY celebrities and wish I was in anyway similar to them. Not for all the riches in the world. That trait was, I believe, inherited from my father - genetically and environmentally. He is quite a humble and earthly fellow who is rather introverted, but can express everything he needs to say through merely his presence. Many hours I have spent sitting in a boat, fishing line in hand, in silence with Dad, completely content with each others presences.

The community I was fortunate to grow up in is notoriously 'community minded'. That means that there are many active residents who are working, as individuals and groups, to make the town a better place. There are volunteer emergency personnel ready to assist 24/7 to people who are in need, unpaid committee members who give up hundreds (even thousands of hours) per year in the interests of maintaining and improving local structures and issues, and there are people who simply care about you, and anything that is worrying or enlightening you. These are the people that I grew up with, and looking up to.

Perhaps that is why I want to become a nurse and Paramedic. Hopefully, from the information I have given you about myself, you can deduce what sort of person I am; relaxed, caring, community spirited, earthly, fun, humorous and accepting person.

I hope to regularly update this blog as a log of my studies as a nurse (hopefully you may be able to learn with me), a release of my issues or problems, and also a place to tell anecdotal stories of both past and future experiences.

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