What I’ve Learned from Ruby Graber

by Zahira Shafeeq – Nursing Student

My first day of Newton clinical was a beautiful storm. I sat there in the morning listening to Ruby give us the instructions for the day, which included documenting and make nurse’s notes on the computer. The day was not going to be easy. I could see some dark black clouds coming from afar, drifting on a cool breeze. This day could be adventurous, or it could leave me defeated in my journey to become a nurse.

As the day progressed I felt incompetent, confused and overwhelmed by the extensive care my patient required. I felt like I was in my nurse’s way. I did not document anything on my patients, and I was late to lunch. I told Ruby that I needed to talk with her. I told her how I felt about caring for my patients and the lack of teaching from my nurse. I felt like I was in the eye of the storm. Half the day was over.

Joyce Huber and Ruby Graber demonstrate the latest gurney operating technique. Photo coutesy of the Hesston College Nursing Department.
Joyce Huber and Ruby Graber demonstrate the latest gurney operating technique. Photo coutesy of the Hesston College Nursing Department.

Ruby listened intently, then shared her perspective. She told me that as a nurse I will have times where I will be overwhelmed, and that when I am responsible for patients, I cannot go home or leave the floor. She revealed that my nurse was a new registered nurse and that yes, she and I had critical patients. Since my nurse was probably learning how to manage a student nurse while serving the patients’ needs, it wasn’t surprising I was feeling overlooked.

It was refreshing hearing Ruby say my nurse was also learning. It made me feel like an equal.  In that moment, Ruby gave me perspective and nurtured my soul. Instead of correcting me on what I could do better she met my psychosocial needs.

After my insightful conversation with Ruby, I felt ready to take on the challenge in providing care to my patients. I felt level headed and ready to be a team player. That afternoon, when my nurse and I were caught up with all the patient cares and documentation, she thanked me for my help and apologized for not being a good mentor. At last, the storm had passed, and I had survived.

On my last clinical day I had four patients. I successfully documented and provided nurses notes on all. Because of Ruby meticulous but caring feedback, I now feel comfortable doing these tasks and look forward to applying them in my future position at Salina Regional Health Center.

I am forever grateful that I could come to Ruby and share my weaknesses. She brought out the very best in me.

 

by Heather Hosford – Nursing Faculty

I had the opportunity to have Ruby as an instructor at Hesston College 18 years ago. One evening clinical, she assigned me to the labor and delivery unit. I was extremely excited because this was a special area of interest for me. The laboring patient I was with was close to delivery, but when my clinical shift came to an end she had not delivered. Ruby knew how much it meant to me to see a birth for the very first time in my life, so she stayed past the shift so I could remain on the unit. Because of this all-too-typical display of kindness and generosity, I was able to observe the miracle of childbirth. This clinical will always remain my favorite and most meaningful experience while in nursing school.

Ruby Graber instructs student nurses in the clinical setting. Photo courtesy of the Hesston College Nursing Department.
Ruby Graber instructs student nurses in the clinical setting. Photo courtesy of the Hesston College Nursing Department.

Ruby Graber has given Hesston College’s nursing department 25 years of service. During that timeframe, she has touched countless lives with her Christian faith, patience, professionalism, love and kindness. What I’ve learned from Ruby Graber is how to  care for each patient, demonstrating God’s love and kindness to all. She consistently modeled this in her teaching as well, going the extra mile for her students just like she did that miraculous night in the labor and delivery unit.

Having Ruby walk alongside me as an instructor as I became a new nurse was a privilege. And in the past two years, I have been blessed to once again learn from her as I become a new teacher. It has been an honor to know Ruby Graber. She will be sincerely missed!

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