I have been working L&D for about two weeks now, and it's TERRIFYING! Having to suction babies, deal with precipitous labors, being thrown into a delivery room and then left alone my first 20 minutes on the floor....it's all been a SCARY ride, but so far i've survived. How have I survived? Because of the nurses and doctors that remember how scary those "first times" are and who are compassionate.
I got hired at a small hospital that is lacking in the high tech equipment that the larger teaching hospitals have, they are still working with paper charting, there is nothing fancy there. What do we have that can make this job easier? An amazing array of staff! From the house keepers and security guard to the doctors and administrators and everyone in between, I am surrounded by KIND, AMAZING people!
My first delivery was just myself and the doctor. The night nurse didn't know I was brand new and she walked out as I walked in to offer assistance. The doctor saw the fear in my eyes and calmly walked me through everything that I had to do. He walked me through caring for the baby while he cared for mom. He got the attention of the night nurse as soon as she walked back in and reminded her to help me. He is an amazing man who has a calm demeanor and the ability to talk anyone through anything. I love caring for his patients because I know that he is doing this job because he loves it.
My preceptor? She is amazing! She is brilliant, and kind and a great teacher! Very encouraging! Understands that this is overwhelming for a newbie and has me focus on one or two things a shift even though we are doing a million things. She says that if you master one or two things at a time you will make it! She doesn't belittle me, doesn't show her frustration (which I'm sure she feels when I don't remember something). She is a strong woman with a great sense of humor and I will say, I love her!
Right now I am on days, and the night shift is amazing. I showed up a little early one day and asked if I could observe how they dealt with the baby, since I really hadn't seen that and had been focusing mostly on the moms, and she walked me through it step by step even though she stayed a little late to do so. I'm glad she did, because a few hours later the day crew was dealing with a precipitous delivery and I had to help with the baby, I felt a little better---and was even calm enough to think ahead and prepare medications that the doctor might need.
I've dealt with cords around the neck, scared mothers, scared fathers, screaming mothers in pain....it's been a wild adventure so far in my small two weeks...and because of the environment I have been in, I can do it. I can learn. Yes, there are days I want to cry because I feel so lost! BUT there are more moments where I realize "This is why I am a nurse!" The times when I can rub a patients back during her labor because she is in pain and it helps. When I can teach a dad to use efflurage to help his significant other through the pain. That look on a moms face when she sees her baby! It's worth all the fear and terror I feel. I've been told by many that once I hit that one year mark some light bulb will go off and I'll realize I do know what I am doing! I've also been told that my fear is good! Without it, I would be dangerous. I've been told to hold on to that nagging voice that tells me something is wrong, because it more than likely is. I can do this and so can those of you that are freaking out during your first year. It's completely do-able. We worked hard for this, and we can do this!