Some of you have heard me tell this story before, maybe even recently because I posted it on another thread about anxiety. I was several years out of school and had been staff in this fabulous ICU for three, and I was actually pretty good at it. One day I was in the break room with Sarah, a nurse of more than a decade's experience in the unit, one who could take every kind of patient that rolled up the hall, who was never flustered, always expert, always willing to teach and explain. I asked her when I would stop feeling scared when I sat in report. She smiled and said that every day before report started she felt a pang of anxiety, but that it passed when she started working. She said that when that little stab of fear went away she would have to go somewhere else, because it's what keeps us awake and sharp. I never, ever forgot that (and here I am telling that story again, smumble-mumble years later), and I am happy to pass it along to you.
As a former instructor and staff development manager I can tell you that I was scared to death of a student or new grad who had no anxiety at all. They were most often the former CNAs or techs who "were just here for the credential because they already knew everything a nurse did." These people know how to do a lot of manipulative skills (to the frequent but misguided envy of their peers) but are clueless--and very difficult to teach about-- what nursing is, because they've already made up their minds that it's just "skills." They were completely blind to the real skills involved in nursing: assessment, planning, autonomy, personal responsibility. It was all about "following doctor's orders" and being slick with a Foley insertion or NG, and getting all their patients "done up" by 10:00 am. That, dears, is CNA talk. Having someone like that in the RN role -- now, that was scary.