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Practice Makes Perfect: How Clinical Rotations Solidified Bridget's Career

Bridget Deming graduated from Grand Valley with a degree in nursing in 2011 and can’t speak highly enough about the program. “Nursing school at Grand Valley was incredible. I loved it.”

“There were 64 of us in the class. We graduated with the same people who we started with. We were broken up into smaller groups of eight to go around to different hospitals for clinicals, and we received the one on one attention we needed to be successful.”

When it came to taking the classroom into the ‘real world’, she felt she was completely prepared thanks to the nursing program. “I was in school for five years. I learned so much from the textbooks, but everything I learned about nursing I learned from clinicals. You can’t learn how to give an injection, administer medications, or talk to people from a book.”

Bridget’s most memorable experience during clinical rotations happened in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Her first day on the floor, she arrived just as the nurse in charge was pairing students with patients. “When she made her decision, one of the other nurses wrinkled her nose and exclaimed ‘What?! You can’t put her with that patient! That’s going to make her want to drop out of nursing school!’”

“Upon hearing this, my eyes grew to the size of dinner plates and all the color drained from my face. My assigned nurse showed up at this moment and took me back to the nursery. My thoughts were racing. What in the world was I about to get myself into?” “And then I saw him. Born at only 22 weeks gestation, Baby O was now six months old and had never seen the outside of the hospital.”

As a result of his traumatic premature birth, Baby O suffered from persistent pulmonary hypertension, respiratory failure, pneumonia, cystic kidneys, intraventricular hemorrhage, and retinopathy of prematurity. Baby O’s neck was no longer visible, his eyes and nostrils were swollen shut, his abdomen measured 46 centimeters, and he was rock hard to the touch. His doctors had prescribed a constant drip of alternating Morphine and Versed to keep him comfortable. He was completely dependent on machines to keep him alive.

He hadn’t had any visitors for an entire month. “There wasn’t much I could do for Baby O, but I didn’t leave his side the entire day. When I had any spare time, I would put my pinky finger in his tiny hand, stroke his swollen forearm and hum lullabies to him. When I did this, his heart rate and respirations slowed. Although we couldn’t communicate, I knew I was bringing some comfort and relief to this tiny baby who knew more pain and suffering in his six months than I had in all of my 24 years.”

“Baby O taught me more about what it takes to be a nurse than any class or text book ever could. All it took was eight hours in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and one sweet baby boy born into unfortunate circumstances. So thank you, Baby O.”

Bridget says that her educational opportunities, including her encounter with Baby O, were made possible because of Grand Valley’s outstanding nursing program and from those who support it. After graduation, Bridget worked at Spectrum Butterworth before moving out west to work in the University of Colorado Hospital bone marrow oncology unit. She’s worked in Denver since September 2013 and has a very successful start to her career.