Before I begin, you have to understand one thing.

Everyone in nursing school FREAKS OUT about everything. I think it's in the agreement they sign at the beginning of their nursing school journey. "Check this box and initial here if you agree to be a total spaz every time you have an assignment that will take you longer than 20 minutes, which is every single assignment." And they all check and initial becuase they want to go to school.

That being said, this semester Ted has had to do 4 concept maps. They are based on care plans - or how they care for 1 patient for 1 day. There are 2 large care plans, 2 small care plans, and 30 points. Most people say they'll be happy with 15 or so points, just to get some points and move on with their lives.

Every point on the concept map must link to every other point on the map - showing that everything you do for a patient is somehow reliant on everything else you do for a patient. And to make you want to pull your hair out.

Most concept maps have 1,600 multi-colored lines running from one point to another. They also have to have a creative appeal, something that makes them interesting to look at. Ted's instructor this semester said, I believe, that a good concept map will only take a couple hours to grade but can easily take 4 hours. That's 33 students x 4 maps x 4 hours = ... wait for it, have to pull up the calculator ... 528 hours of grading or roughly 22, 24 hour days of grading.

My point though is that they have to do them. And that stinks. There's very little "real life" application here and many other nursing students at other schools just cock their heads to the side in confusion when you talk about concept maps.

But Ted, because he's Ted and generally pretty easy going and less prone to stress (plus Cu-RRAAAAAZZY smart!) only worried a little about the first one. He got a system down and then rolled with it for the next one. No lines. No blood or sweat pouring over the actual map. Just linear charts, easy to read and neutral embellishment that's easy on the eye.

It made me think I am very, very, very glad I am to not have to jump through these kinds of hoops in my line of work. I'm so glad I don't have to take inventory and stock of every diaper. I'm so happy not to have to keep a log of each load of laundry I run and explain what in that load constituted a full cup of color safe bleach (um, anything my children wore justifies this) in relation to the saturation of the blueberry/mud/marker/glue stick/syrup/paint stain.

Oh, and to be able to mother, I wasn't required to spend a certain number of hours observing breastfeeding women, babysitting 1 year olds and changing their horrific blow outs, or stay up all night pacing the floor with a colicky baby (which, luckily, I haven't had yet).

My points are:
a. I am grateful that Ted IS willing to go through all this stringent and elaborate (sometimes superfluous) training so he will be an amazing nurse and provider for our family
b. and also that I don't have to do the same. I learn on the job and it's an excellent chance to roll with the punches and make decisions that I might not make again and ones that I desperately want to remember the outcome and repeat the process.

So in the end, there's more of a concept map in my mind, I suppose. A big, brain poster. And while it's probably much prettier than Ted's, it would never receive as high a grade since it only makes sense to me.

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