What a difference a year makes!

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    I grew up trusting others and understood the importance of caring for others, along with myself. I went to a nursing program that focused on Jean Watson and her 10 Carative Factors and considered the program and instructors holistic in their teaching. After graduating, and getting my R.N. license, I started working on cardiac step down unit. Bad idea!

    Most of the midnight staff (where I started) modeled the type of nurse I wanted to be, but you can't make everyone happy...after proving myself (within a year) I was moved to days. This was like starting a completely new job, dealing with more doctors, NP, families, other departments (OR, Radiology, etc) and the patients all had a very high acuity compared to the issues of midnights (mostly respiratory). I was exhausted each day I left after my 12 hour shift.

    That one nurse who I could never please made it her mission to get me off the floor. When it eventually happened, (I actually took a leave of absence to find a "better fit") I didn't even fight it, because I had spent the entire year trying to prove to my peers and myself that I was good enough to say I was an R.N. My manager was kind to me, said I was a good nurse, even gave me a wonderful reference, etc. but it just wasn't a good fit. I was relieved to be off that floor. All experiences are good, in my opinion, because we learn better from hardship than from the easy road.

    I found a job within the same hospital on the mental health unit. I loved psych in nursing school and from the moment I stepped on that unit, I knew it was for me. My year on the cardiac floor gave me ample time to learn basic nursing skills, start understanding the nursing process, and learn the realities of nursing.

    It is very obvious to me why many nurses leave their jobs within the first year. My main reason was my peers were different nurses than me. They were more technical, where I am more empathetic and compassionate. They other nurses would make fun of me for picking up the slack and helping my team (cleaning my patient's rooms, helping with bed baths, answering call lights, emptying garbages, even spending more than ten minutes TEACHING MY PATIENTS). It takes a team to provide patient care. They weren't modeling the type of nurse I want to be and it almost seemed like they were trying to break me.

    This resulted in me thinking I was a weak nurse, but now know that I am stronger in many areas than they will ever be. You can always learn technical skills but compassion is hard to acquire for many. So now, I lead by example. My oath is to try my best to treat each patient with dignity and how I would want my family member treated. I can't even tell you the last time I had a bad day because patient care is so satisfying to me. Even if I don't feel like getting up that day, the second I walk into a room, I put on that smile. My secret is I never fake it. Ever!

    What I bring to my new floor is a fresh viewpoint and skills that the older psych nurses don't have. I understand medical-surgical issues. I WAS the IV team on my old floor. I understand all those "medical" meds they take. And I can thoroughly assess my patient and provide proper interventions, where others may want to call a code immediately. My VERY experienced peers respect me and what I have to offer my team.

    Each day, I leave my floor satisfied with my contribution to the team and the care I provide my patients. My old manager was right, it wasn't a good fit. But what I learned from it all is this. It was never MY problem, or an issue I had....it was theirs. And they only took it out on me because I let them.

    The moral to my story is this. Please, remember who you ARE and who you want to be. Always practice as if you are being watched by others, because you are. Find a role model OUTSIDE of your hospital. The first year is hard, especially if you don't have anyone you trust to talk to. And never ever forget, it does get better.

    Keep your chin up! Nursing is a profession but professionalism is not learned overnight. It's a skill that takes some time to learn. It took me a year...
    LaLa McDaniels, WondeR.N., and mx343mom like this.
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    "What I bring to my new floor is a fresh viewpoint and skills that the older psych nurses don't have. I understand medical-surgical issues. I WAS the IV team on my old floor. I understand all those "medical" meds they take. And I can thoroughly assess my patient and provide proper interventions, where others may want to call a code immediately."

    I hear your joy at having found your niche and feeling your contributions are appreciated. I'm sure your co-workers would like for theirs to be also, even if their viewpoints aren't as 'fresh' as you believe yours to be.
    Last edit by whodatnurse on Apr 15, '10 : Reason: left word out
    Jules A likes this.
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    After pondering over that paragraph, I ended it with the one sentence you didn't include. "My VERY experienced peers respect me and what I have to offer my team". My hero's include anyone with more knowledge than me, and I treat each person as such.

    I am the only RN on that floor to be hired without psych experience (which is an honor) and also the youngest, newest nurse.
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    Okay...so by "my very experienced peers" respect me, you had intended to convey that you marvel how people whom you hold in high esteem value your contributions to the team.

    Not to belabor the point, but if you were to reread that entire paragraph, you might come to see how it could be received as you tooting your own horn while inadvertently dismissing your co-workers. "I" can do xyz...with "THEY" can't implied.

    Anyway, it sounds like you've waited a long time to feel happy at work, and I'm glad for you. Your foundation will serve your well throughout your psych nursing career.
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    Quote from whodatnurse
    Okay...so by "my very experienced peers" respect me, you had intended to convey that you marvel how people whom you hold in high esteem value your contributions to the team.

    Not to belabor the point, but if you were to reread that entire paragraph, you might come to see how it could be received as you tooting your own horn while inadvertently dismissing your co-workers. "I" can do xyz...with "THEY" can't implied.

    Anyway, it sounds like you've waited a long time to feel happy at work, and I'm glad for you. Your foundation will serve your well throughout your psych nursing career.
    I hardly think it was necessary to bring this attitude to such a positive post. Really.

    OP, I didn't read it that way at all. I read that you feel your contribution is valued and important, even though you're the least experienced nurse. Good for you.
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    I didn't bring anything to it. I just noted how it came across to me.
    Jules A likes this.
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    I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying the new job and that you feel more appreciated at work (after, apparently, working so hard to get that respect from your coworkers).
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    People may perceive things any way they wish. I wrote how I felt in a public forum so I can accept that. Of course, I will always marvel at how someone can have a hundred strengths and some people can only focus on one thing they perceive as a negative...

    Anyways..The other nurses on my new floor will be the first to tell you their strengths and weaknesses. Policy doesn't allow them to practice as medical nurses, there's no fault in that. I guess I should have been more descriptive.

    I DO marvel at the respect my team gives to me, especially after working on a floor that I specifically stated had very little respect for what I brought to the table. When you come from a place where you can do no right, you can either conform to be like others (i.e. politics), put up with the lateral violence, or find a new job.

    I am privileged enough to have earned my degree and license and have the integrity to give credit where it's due....I could never be who I am without all the individuals who contributed to my life, both personally and professionally.
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    rnrainy, after a year of being beaten down by not being able to find a job as a new grad, your post was a breath of "fresh" air. It gives me hope that I will find a job that will give me that much satisfaction every day. It's clear that you admire the nurses you work with, and it's wonderful to hear that they appreciate you. Thanks for the positive post!
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    Broke New Grad...all of us where new grads at one time, and most of us where broke. When I left my first position, even with shining references from other nurses, college professors, Doctors, Social Workers, Respiratory Therapists, and IV nurses, it still took 75 resumes, 15 interviews and 50 days. I am glad I didn't get those positions (except the hospice one, as that is the reason I became a nurse)....and as tiring as it is, going to all those interviews gave me the skills to answer the questions they asked with answers that where both what they wanted to hear and true to myself.

    I actually brought my resume to my mentor for approval, and tailored my cover letter for each position. I read a lot on the internet about what to say on that cover letter. In the end, that's what got my foot in the door. "No, I don't have any experience in this field, but I had a great interest in college and did very well in those classes. I am like a fresh slate, ready to learn what it takes to be successful on this floor".


    It is better to be broke for awhile and get the RIGHT JOB then to take a job that will harden you or take away your passion. That first paycheck made me sit down for a moment..because my goodness, I get paid very well to do what I love, but the first compliment you get from a patient will be on your mind forever...for me, nursing is customer service and I rarely get complaints.

    Keep your chin up! We all have advice because of our experiences, so you take a little from everyone, and in a couple of years, you will have yours also! )
    LaLa McDaniels likes this.


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