Full Circle, My First Year of Nursing - page 2
January - Newborn ICU Dream Job I was making cold hard cash. I had an awesome preceptor for orientation. I was signing my name with RN behind it, I was giving meds all by myself, I was a nurse,... Read More
Jan 5, '08I graduate in April '08 and am scared to death. I am beginning my last semester on Jan 7th and am doing my clinical in the CCU. Do I know enough, will I embarrass myself? When does it all click? When does this time management stuff begin to happen? There's not enough time in the day for everything. Thanks for your post, I have a better idea of where I am heading.
Jan 5, '08wow, what a beautiful post, I just finished by first semester ofin adn program, 3 more semesters to go and I am so filled with self doubt did I learn enough? can I do better but one thing I never doubted from the very first day of clinicals, was what a special bunch of human beings nurses are, I love it!!!!!!!!!! and your post just reinforced that feeling, you made my day :redpinkhe
Jan 5, '08Thanks for the great writing! I want to become an RN. I have awhile to go as I haven't even started my pre-requisites. But, hey I gotta start somewhere. One step at a time. I will definitely be logging on to this site for lots of motavation!
Jan 5, '08If only more new nurses could have experiences like this. Obviously this was a fairly supportive enviroment with reasonable workloads and good pay and benefits. This nurse did experince some distress but that is to be expected as long as it stays within reason. There are far, far to many people dropping out before they even get started and you can lay the blame at the door of managment. They can keep as many nurses as they choose to in the profession but they just choose not to do so.
Jan 5, '08WOW.. thank you for posting that, makes me WANT to go to work on Monday...
I am still scared and can't think sometimes!
Jan 6, '08That was great to read your post! I am an ER RN- 2.5 yrs into it, and I just realized how much I love my job within this last 6 months, so I am so happy to see that you had a similar course... maybe it wasn't "just me"!
Jan 6, '08I can't tell you why I was drawn to your article but I will tell you this...I have only completed semester 1 of myand just reading your article motivated me to an extent I did not know was possible. Thank you thank so much... Congrats and keep up the good work...I can't wait to read about next year
Jan 6, '08i can easily understand why your article is so inspiring.
thank you for sharing your journey.
you have indeed, come full circle.
Jan 8, '08Thank you for this article. I graduated in June 2007 and have been working in med/surge for 7 months. Thak you again for a wonderful article.
Jan 8, '08Quote from WeeBabyRNGreat story. Thanks for sharing that inspiring passage. I totally understand where your coming from.I have officially completed my first year of nursing. I graduated in November 2006, passed my boards in December 2006, and started my job in January 2007. The first year was nothing less than a roller coaster ride. I went through so many emotions and so much personal growth. This is a long post, but it is a bare bones rehash of my first year, maybe it will help someone who is where I was back in April-May.
January-I was thrilled to have my dream job in a Newborn ICU, I was making cold hard cash. I had an awesome preceptor for orientation. I was signing my name with RN behind it, I was giving meds all by myself, I was a nurse, woo hoo, life couldn't be any better. Everything I had worked so hard for the last 4 years had finally come to fruition. I got my first paycheck and my insurance cards, for the first time in my life I am a PROVIDER! I love being a nurse.
February-The newness has worn off, there is a lot more responsibility when you are the nurse and there is not a clinical instructor checking your work. The reality is starting to set in.
March- Night shift orientation; another fabulous preceptor. I am so tired, I scoured Allnurses for threads on how to survive night shift. I bought Melatonin, an eye mask, and turned off my ringer. I lost a few pounds because of the nausea from staying up all night. I'm not so sure I can do this.
April- I'm on my own, holy crap! This is so scary, I'm the NURSE, I'm supposd to know all this stuff! One of my patients required an emergency procedure at the bedside, thank goodness for my coworkers at my side supporting me. I am starting to doubt my choice, NICU is too stressful and too much responsibility, maybe I should have done that year or two in med-surg before choosing a specialty. There is a negative nurse on nights who might be a problem, she never has anything nice to say about anyone. I find advice on Allnurses on how to deal with toxic coworkers. It could be worse, I won't take her behavior personal.
May- I have defenitely made a mistake by becoming a nurse. There is too much responsibility for too little money. I had a baby self extubate and I was so freaked out by it. I have made the decision to stick this job out for a year so I will be more marketable, then move on (how am I going to make it 7 more months!!!). I am finally able to eat at night, and I am getting some sleep during the day. Toxic coworker made a not so nice comment about my assignment being undesirable that I overheard, why are some nurses so nasty? Gah, I hate nursing, what have I done with my life!?!
June- I took the NRP (newborn resuscitation) class. Another patient self extubated, this time I knew exactly what to do, that felt so good. I got nominated for outstanding new grad (me???). I got my 6 month evaluation, I am a "strong performer" and I am getting a good raise. I can do this for 6 more months. I got my first primary patient. Her dad asked me if I would be her nurse, he could tell I cared about her the way I talked to him on the phone about her. Aww, I loved that baby and I felt honored that someone wanted me to care for the most precious thing in their life. I am feeling a smidgen better about my career.
July- The May/June new grads are starting on my unit. When I get report from them I begin to realize how far I have come since I started. My family took a week long vacation at an ocean front house that we would have never been able to afford before. The student loan payments are due now, holy cow, this degree was expensive, I can't quit my job to work in a doctor's office for less pay, I won't be able to afford my student loan payments. I think I might be able to work in the NICU for longer than a year.
August- My primary went home, I cried tears of joy and sadness. Words can't express the joy of being a part of nursing a tiny, sick baby to health and sending them home to a happy life. Sadness because I have fallen in love and will selfishly miss that smiling face loving me back everytime I work. There is a dayshift position opening up, I think I may put in for it, I still can't sleep soundly during the day, getting 4-5 hours of sleep a day isn't working for me. I scour Allnurses for day versus night shift threads to help make the decision. I love the extra money of nights and I LOVE my coworkers. The people I work with on nights have taught me so much, I will carry some of the lessons with me forever. I start questioning myself, am I a strong enough nurse to deal with the hustle and bustle of days, can I emotionally deal with the drama of days? I talk to my nurse manager and decide to go for it, if days doesn't work out she said I can go back to nights. I just realized that I am 3/4 of the way through my 1 year commitment to this job.
September- Dayshift, what was I thinking, families, doctors, rounds, families, social work, nutrition, families, students, LESS MONEY ahhh! One of the June grads had a baby self extubate, she was paler than the baby, I jumped into action and helped her out. After it was over she thanked me and told me that she isn't sure this is for her, too much responsibility, would she ever know how to handle a crisis. I told her to relax, she was being too hard on herself (I can't believe that I actually told someone that, me THE queen of being too hard on myself). I am dealing with the hustle and bustle of day shift just fine. When I do get behind, my dayshift coworkers are always willing to lend a hand to get me back where I need to be. I LOVE my coworkers. Sometimes I am all caught up and I have the opportunity to help someone else get caught up. This time management stuff is starting to click.
October- Day shift is smoothing out, I am adjusting and things don't seem so bad anymore. I think I was getting depressed from lack of sleep on my night shift stint. I like most of the families and there is a rhythm to the business of the day. I don't have that dread feeling when I go to work anymore.
November- I don't know what has happened to me or when it happened, but I like my job. I like the challenge and I like taking care of the sickest babies. I sometimes leave work worrying that I forgot to do or chart something and I fear getting a nasty gram in email over it. I decide that I am a big girl and if I get a nasty gram, so be it, it will only improve my practice.
December- I feel confident some days. I still suck at starting IV's, but I am an expert at developmentally appropriate positioning. I still get little inklings of worry that I forgot something at work but I have made the decision that I am not going to worry. I do the best I can every day and I am only human. My primary from the summer came to see me and bring me a Christmas card, she is a chubby bundle of smiles, I wish I could kiss her fat little cheeks. I was so touched that her family made the effort to come to my job on a day I was working to be sure I could see their child. How wonderful is that, what a gift, it may have been the best Christmas gift I received this year. Our breakroom has been transformed into a cookie and candy palace. Every surface is covered with treats brought by current and past families. It is overwhelming, both emotionally and on the waistline. It is hard to believe that this job has such an impact on people. I guess it isn't just 'a job.' I can't imagine leaving this magical place. I became a nurse because I love people. There is no way I am leaving. If I leave and go work somewhere else how will I know how all the babies are doing? I love being a nurse.
The biggest lesson I learned this year is that being a good nurse doesn't mean you have all the answers or know how to do everything. Being a good nurse means that you care about what you are doing, are courageous enough to own your mistakes, and humble enough to ask questions when you don't know something or for help when you need it. The ability to leap tall buildings would be a plus, I plan on working on that during my second year of nursing.
Jan 8, '08I absolutely loved your article. It was such a reflection of how I am feeling, and I'm sure will continue to feel during my first year of nursing. I am a new grad anticipating interview questions. What do you answer to your strengths and weaknesses. You wouldn't want to state "I have difficulty starting IV's" or "some situations make me cry". How do you answer this question within the professional expectations of the nurse recruiters. Are there any difficult questions you can remember being asked during an interview?
Jan 8, '08Beautiful, just beautiful. I am finally finishing up my prereq. and I was starting to get frustrated. After reading your post, it perked me up once again. I really appreciate your time and effort to share this with us, it has really blessed my soul. Hospital floors, look out here I come.