I watch as the instructor places the mysterious white envelope at the front of a room full of nursing students. One brave student steps up to read the card.
“Rachel… Josephine… Danielle… Vanessa. Let’s get physical.”
The four of us are giddy with excitement. What will this group date hold? Will we review anatomy? Shadow a typical annual physical? The possibilities are endless.
We walk up to the hospital in our scrubs; hopefully, Dr. Avery notices the effort I put into my outfit today with the obvious addition of the matching light blue hair-tie. Not only is Dr. Avery the best clinical instructor, but also the love-interest of all the nursing students. Considering the male-to-female ratio, this is no surprise.
I had guessed right. Today, we are practicing head-to-toe physicals. Before practicing with the patients, I decide to pull Dr. Avery aside for some one-on-one time. I pretend like I need to practice listening to the stethoscope, a classic innocent gesture.
He lets me practice listening to his heart, concentrating on the normal “lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub” sound. I have never felt so transfixed by systole and diastole. I place my hand on his chest and gaze into his eyes; their color resembled a deep mahogany. I smile as I look up to the right with a strong, yet innocent gaze, as I think to myself, “Good thing he is not listening to my heart, because I think it just skipped a beat.” I turn around to see three other nursing students standing with scowls, crossed arms, and furrowed brows. They were obviously jealous of my one-on-one time.
After the first round of clinicals, Dr. Avery walks back over to me. He’s wearing light sea foam green scrubs. Good thing I am in a hospital, because I nearly faint. As he checks his patient’s vital signs, I know it is vital for me to talk to him before another clinical student steals him from me.
Later, I notice him talking to Josephine. There is no way she is here for the right reasons — I saw her watching Grey’s Anatomy as a way of studying for our last test. I bet she’s just another superfan. I know it’s kind of a bitchy thing to do, but I’m going to go interrupt them (acknowledging that I know it is a bitchy move means I’m not a bitch). Besides, I can always blame my rudeness on the lack of sleep.
“Mind if I steal him away for a bit?” I ask.
“Go ahead,” Josephine replies with a smile, even though I know what she really wanted to say was something like, “Hell no. You already got your one-on-one time. Back off, Florence Frightengale.” Thankfully, I knew she would put up a fake front because none of us are actually genuine in front of Dr. Avery. I mean, can you imagine if we were sincere? We’re trying to get him to fall in love with us during the hour each day we have alone— this is no time to be yourself.
I tell Dr. Avery I want to practice my therapeutic communication, and I ask him to teach me by example. I decide to open up a little and say something that sounds conventionally vulnerable because I know he will respond in an empathetic and supportive way.
Dr. Avery has amazing bedside manner as I open up to him. I can’t help but feel that we’re establishing a connection. Hopefully, I will get more one-on-one time with him during our next clinical. As he hands me the needle that signifies that I will be back for another week, I sigh in relief.