"1 Year" Anniversary in Two Days: My Experiences

  1. This is pretty much how my first year in nursing went. Hopefully it will help those that are dreading the first 365 day journey:

    Graduated on 12/16/06 in California. Was hired to ICU two days later. Took a good week off to basically drink coffee, play World of Warcraft, stare at the wall, and pack all my school stuff away (yay!).

    Beginning of January I started studying for the NCLEX with a good friend from my graduating class. We lived and breathed the Saunders NCLEX review book (awesome study CD included). I practiced about 300 - 400 questions per day and wrote down all the questions and answers I got wrong. The hospital that hired me put on a free, week-long NCLEX review course with a MD; was an awesome refresher.

    Took the NCLEX down in LA on February 24th. Computer shut off at 75 questions in 35 minutes. Found out I passed by checking online two days later.

    Worked in ICU from January to May. I won't lie, the "real world" nursing is soooo much different than school. YOU are now the nurse and have to act accordingly. Took my ACLS, went to multiple codes, had very complex patients, and was loving it. However, I was on night shift (7pm to 7am) and was only making $24.75/ hour. Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. I was getting burned out by realizing that the hospital I worked at didn't pay very well at all and was frustrated that I wasn't making enough money (for a house, car, etc). I loved the patho and science of where I worked, but I was monitarily depressed.

    I was hired by CDCR in May and have never looked back.

    Last year at this time I was working as Loss Prevention in a local Target. For the year of 2006 I made just over $7,000...total. As this year comes to a close, I have made almost $109,000 (go-go overtime). It's crazy to think how much can change in one year.

    So, to all of the new grads and those that are trekking through your first year: there is light at the end of the tunnel. You will arise from a timid and insecure new employee to a confident and experienced nurse. I can't count how many times I wanted to quit, find a new job, etc. I was frustrated, wondering "why didn't school teach me this?," and wanted to call in sick numerous times. However, looking back, I can say that I have definately gotten my "land legs."

    Don't ever give up. The longer you're in nursing, the more you realize just how many different kinds of jobs are available to a licensed RN. If you truely aren't happy with where you are at: MOVE. I love nursing; more than I ever thought I would. If you were smart enough to get through school and the NCLEX, you're definately smart enough to be a competant RN. Never doubt yourself, use every experience as a learning tool, ask thousands of questions, and do your thing.

    All of the best to those of you who have stuck it out and I salute all of you who are getting ready to start your own 365 day journey. You'll all do wonderful.




    Oh, and remember to unclamp haning IV bags before you turn the pump on. Not that I have done that or anything...
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  2. 27 Comments

  3. by   llg
    What type of work are you now doing? What is CDCR?

    Thanks for showing those currently still transitioning to the professional role that there IS light at the end of the tunnel.
  4. by   Piki
    Congrats! I am just a few months out from graduation (June 07) and yes, the real world of nursing is so very different from school. Same with the NCLEX, once that is over and done with, you certainly won't think like that test.

    I have to say tho, where I live, $24.75 would be GREAT pay for someone right out of school. The veteran nurses that have 20 or more years of experience make around $27/hr. It's all relative I suppose.

    And yes, what is CDCR?
  5. by   MelBel
    I just passed the 6 month mark at my job, and I was thinking about posting about it, and I read here.

    I still have days where I feel insecure, and like I know absolutely nothing. And I know in reality, there is a LOT I don't know. But I think back to my first few days on the floor...

    When I asked my preceptor to check my meds, because I had never given them without being checked before.

    When I was afraid to call a doctor.

    When I was afraid to answer the phone on the unit.

    When as a first semester nursing student, I was nervous to walk into a patient's room.


    I've come a LONG way. I've hated a lot of days (and still do!) but I've loved a lot too. When the time comes to get a new job, I have a LONG list of questions to ask prospective employers. I know that I really like the geriatric population, I love caring for the dying patient, I hate working days, etc. These are all things that I didn't know 6 months ago.

    I hope that everyone can look back on the last 6 months or year and feel like they've learned as much as I have...and new grads, you WILL hate it some days, but it gets better, I PROMISE!
  6. by   rnmomtobe2010
    This is motivationg and I appreciate you sharing this information!!
  7. by   cpnegrad07
    thank you, enigmaticparadigm, that was refreshing to read as a 3-monther.
  8. by   love-d-OR
    CDCR stands for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  9. by   BridgetJones
    Thanks for the post! I'm graduating in May and it was really encouraging.
  10. by   Virgo_RN
    Thanks for the encouragement. I'm at about five months now. I'm an LPN in an understaffed cardiac unit. Encouragement is sorely needed!!!!
  11. by   AprilRNhere
    Great post! I'm 3 months in...and can't wait to feel more secure in my knowledge. I just hit the point of realizing how much I DON'T know....and look foward to realizing how much I DO know lol.
  12. by   Tait
    LOL!

    I play WoW too!

    Darkspear server, TaitterDoTs, my new little warlock, you should stop by and say hi sometime!

    I too recently finished my first 365 days of nursing. Graduated from Wisconsin this time last year and spent 7 months on a community hospital med surg (40 beds total!).

    Now I am in Atlanta on a complex care cardiac floor, 12 hour nights and I LOVE IT!

    Good job on recognizing what you wanted from your job and moving to that new goal. Now I hope your taxes don't bite you in the butt to bad come April! :trout:

    Tait
  13. by   Purple25
    Thanks for the post. I am orientiing to CCU, It is my second month and today was the day from hell. I got yelled a by a doc for what night shift did not do and I had just got report, was called to my first code and the lady passed away, and my preceptor was MIA much of the day and when around not the most approachable. To hear it gets better, thanks because after today I was going back to accounting, with my desk, tight blue suit and computer. Great POST!
  14. by   DolphinRN84
    Great post! I've been a licensed RN for 1.5 years now..and just passed my 1 year mark at the hospital I currently work at (started in November '06). A lot does happen in that first year, but you learn so much! I wish all the new nurses on their first year lots of luck and success!

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