It’s hard to believe that I have been practicing nursing for about 10 months. It’s already been over a year since I passed the NCLEX. I am pretty sure my coworkers are still highly skeptical of me; however, my patients adore me. I am starting to feel at home even though I was highly skeptically that I would even make a good nurse. I still think that my personality is pretty incompatible, but I am making it work. Here are 5 reflections on my journey.
When I started my job my preceptor told me that she felt I had less experience than some of the nursing students. Ouch. I didn’t have a lot of clinical experience during nursing school. I was lucky if I got 4 hours of clinical labs. Practicum was much better, but I spent is in the Maternity Ward over the holidays. My experience with wound care was especially limited. Everything that I have learned doesn’t rapidly translate into English. I still try to read either my Med/Surg text book or a Pharmacology textbook on my breaks if I have time. Yet, I am getting to the place were I can even figure out new procedures on my own.
One of my mentors told me that more than anything I lack confidence. In her opinion, my skills weren’t all that bad. To this today I still question my judgement. Am I doing the right thing? Is there something that I am not seeing here or a key piece of information I am forgetting? I am always so overwhelmed at the rapid rate that I have to make decisions. I am very transparent with my coworkers with this because I never know how they might be able to help me. However, I quickly learned not to let my patients in on my lack of confidence. I coolly answer their questions and effortlessly do procedures. To my surprise, I often get it right.
In Nursing school, we were fiercely warned about the phenomenon of Nurses who “eat their young.” For the first few months of my nursing career, everyone was extremely helpful. However, the true colors are starting to show. It’s very tiring to come to the end of an extremely busy shift to have a nurse pick on all the little errors or omissions you made during the shift. I was too busy cleaning up a patient to make sure that the CNA handed out all the snacks. I don’t remember exactly what were your preferences when it came to giving report. Can’t we just help each other out?
While some nurses are determine to make new nurses feel that they can never measure up, there are plenty that are willing to help. I have learned a lot by just asking. Of course, there may be sighing and rolling of eyes because my questions have to answered on top of their business; yet, I know deep down they are eager to help me grow. They’ll even ask if they can help if they aren’t busy. They’ll come to give support and encouragement when I am overwhelmed after a horrible day and putting in overtime.
It took awhile before I had a handle on things to have extra time, but I’ve learned to be as helpful as possible. Sometimes that means cleaning up a poopy mess for the CNA or passing meds for another nurse. I try to ask if I can be of help. Not so much because I’ll never know when it will come back to me, but more because it has already been done for me.