I am writing this post because I am concerned by the number of new nurses/students who appear to feel threatened/offended by some of the points of view more experienced nurses hold in regard to certain attitudes they experience from new nurses.
It is 17 years since I received my RN and 15 years since my BSN. I graduated from both programs with high honors, joined the nursing honors society, received very good clinical recommendations. The ADN program taught me to be a competent (beginning) bedside nurse: Becoming an RN meant that I had passed the minimum standard for entry level into the practice. I had no doubts when I passed the NCLEX that I was a novice nurse. My subsequent BSN education broadened my training and introduced me to new avenues of practice for nurses. At the end of both programs I was an entry level nurse. I had no reason to call myself anything else when my nursing experience was limited to nursing school; certainly I had no reason to consider myself good or excellent.
It has taken me years, as experienced nurses have mentioned, to reach a point where I feel I have been able to put all the pieces together, and this translates into providing better patient care. Within my range of experience I feel I am relatively competent, and maintaining that competence requires continual effort and near continuous studying. I recently studied for and passed the CEN exam (I have not worked as an ER nurse), and the wide range of content plus the fact that I do not have ER nursing experience made studying a big challenge. I learned more of the big wide range of nursing (and medicine) that is out there, and was humbled in the process. Being open to learning made me a better nurse.
I am not sure why some newer nurses appear to be offended by experienced nurses reminding them that striving to be a good or excellent nurse is a worthy goal, but that one does not begin as a good or excellent nurse. I too am puzzled when new graduates speak of being "great" or "excellent" nurses. When one's nursing experience is limited one has no basis in reality to speak of being great or excellent. I personally could never imagine speaking of myself in terms of greatness or excellence. I too wonder if the common culture nowadays is narcissistic self-promotion and instant attainment of excellence.
I feel that we are very fortunate to have some experienced nurses on this forum who are willing to offer their insights and experience. I personally learn a lot from more experienced nurses, and I always gravitate to their posts. I think that sometimes the more experienced nurses' frustration at some of the attitudes of newer nurses is evident, but I find it worthy of consideration that the experienced nurses are often in the workplace working with new grads and serving as preceptors. I would hate to come on this forum and find the experienced nurses had stopped posting.