I have officially completed my first year of nursing. I graduated in Nov. 2006, passed my boards in Dec 2006, and started my job in Jan of 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.
January-I was thrilled that 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. I got my first paycheck and my insurance cards, for the first time in my life I am a PROVIDER!
February-The newness has worn off, there is a lot more responsibility when you are the nurse and nobody is checking your work.
March- On to nightshift orientation. Another fabulous preceptor. Man am I tired, scoured Allnurses for threads on how to survive night shift. Lost a few pounds because of the nausea from staying up all night.
April- On my own, holy crap! This is so scary, I'm supposd to know all this stuff! One of my patients required an emergency procedure at the bedside, 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.
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 concious decision to stick it out a year to 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. Trouble making 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. Had another baby self extubate, knew exactly what to do, that felt so good. I got nominated for outstanding new grad (me???). I got my 6 month eval, I am a "strong performer" and I am getting a decent raise. I can do this for 6 more months. I got my first primary patient. Her dad asked me if I could be her nurse because he could tell I cared about her the way I talked to him on the phone. Aww, I loved that baby and I felt honored that someone wanted me to care for the most precious thing in their life.
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 hubby and I took a fabulous week long vacation in a beach front house that we would have never been able to afford before. The student loans are due now, holy cow, this degree was expensive, I can't work in a doctor's office, I won't be able to afford my student loans. I think I might be able to work in the NICU for longer than a year.
August- My primary went home, I actually cried tears of joy and sadness. There is a dayshift position opening up, I think I may put in for it, I can't sleep during the day, getting 4-5 hours of sleep a day isn't working for me. Scour Allnurses for day vs 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. Do I want to deal with all the drama of days? I talk to NM and decide to go for it, if days doesn't work out I can always go back to nights.
September- Dayshift, what was I thinking, families, doctors, rounds, social work, nutrition, families, students, LESS MONEY ahhh! One of the June grads had a baby self extubate, she was whiter 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).
October- Dayshift is smoothing out, I am adjusting and things don't look so bad anymore. I think I was getting depressed from lack of sleep. I actually like some of the families and there is a rhythm to the madness of the day.
November- I don't know what has happened to me but I actually like my job. I like the challenge and I like taking care of the sickest babies. I still leave work worrying that I forgot to do or chart something and I fear getting a nasty gram in email over it.
December- I actually feel confident some days. I still suck at starting IV's, but I am the queen of developmentally appropriate positioning. I still get little inklings of worry that I forgot something at work but I have made a 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. 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 that was. This is why I became a nurse, I love people and I love helping them. I am exactly where I need to be doing exactly what I was put on this earth to do. There is no way on this earth that I am leaving this job anytime soon!