When I first started this program, one of the scariest part about it was the lab testing.
It was terrifying standing in front of the instructor, hands shaking, stumbling on words and breathless as I was grilled with questions while being scrutinized on performing a new skill. Thankfully, the many hours of practicing at home, and in lab helped and I passed my previous lab exams.
At this point, I have the experience to know I need to walk into the lab on testing day with confidence.
Assuring myself that I know what to do and that I’ve done the skill successfully countless times helps to boost my self-esteem in these stressful situations. As well, keeping calm, taking a few deep breaths and ensuring that I am taking my time, being thorough yet efficient.
Last week, we were introduced to the theory of a new skill: catheterization. It was a bit scary to think that we would be tested on this skill in less than a month. To add to this, we will also be expected to be able perform this skill on a real patient on our next practicum!
This week, we went more deeply into the theory of catheterizing. Our instructor demonstrated the skill for us before we got time to practice this on our own. The school supplies us with all the items we need to take home and practice on our own or with classmates, so most of my evenings this week have been dedicated to getting used to this new and intimidating skill!
Stenberg College allows students free time to practice new skills in the lab during “Open Lab,” the weekly scheduled lab times where we can come in and practice whatever practical skills we want. It is highly encouraged by instructors to come in and practice throughout the term, especially before testings. I’ll be going in with a classmate so we can practice together and help each other notice what we miss and need extra practice with.
We aways also have one more “simulation” lab class day dedicated to practicing catheter insertion. Our instructors will be there for support, to answer questions, and for a bit of extra encouragement!
I’m thankful for all the hands-on practical experience the school provides for us. With all this experience, I’m feeling pretty good about my catheter lab test coming up.
However, it’s still difficult to get over the initial nerve-racking feelings of stepping into the lab on the day of the in-person exam and preparing yourself for what’s to happen. No matter what, oral testing, practical skills testing, and critical thinking questions will always be intimidating!
Of course anxiety is a natural process of the human body and can help during testing time. All that adrenaline is known to assist in recalling important information which is integral to a lab test when you are being thrown theory questions. However, I am a firm believer that staying calm and using self-encouragement and confidence has helped me to succeed in all my lab testings so far!