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Breathe in....breathe out..... ( a little pep talk)

First Year   (1,238 Views 5 Comments)
by AZO49008 AZO49008 (New Member) New Member

AZO49008 works as a RN - Cardiac.

4,621 Visitors; 145 Posts


I'm a new grad (May) and just completed orientation to a busy cardiology floor. Oriented on days for about four weeks and nights (my regular shift - 7p to 7a) for the last two weeks.

Last night was my first night on my own and I'm feeling like it went pretty well considering it was my fourth night in a row. The previous three nights were HORRIBLE. Nothing bad happened, I actually learned a lot from my preceptor, but I just think the anticipatory stress of knowing "this is it, then I'm on my own" was just sitting there in my gut and churning for three nights.

I feel like I made good decisions and appropriate judgements. Started with 3 patients and got a new admit right at the beginning of the shift. Two of the patients I had the previous night, so that helped. Left the hospital Tuesday morning feeling pretty positive.

Reading others accounts here I feel like I should count myself lucky. My orientation period, while I feel it has been too short (I think all new nurses probably feel that way), has gone well and I've worked with three really good preceptors - my night shift preceptor was downright brilliant. The night shift nurse and PCA crew is a good one and they seem to work together pretty well and everyone was very willing to help me and answer questions when I neeed some direction. I'm pretty sure that I probably missed some things on my charting, which as a perfectionist bugs the crap out of me, but you just can't know it all no matter how hard you try. But I also know I didn't kill or endanger anyone and I think some days that's going to have to be reward enough in this next year or so.

All that being said, I'M STILL TERRIFIED! But, I have resigned myself to accepting that is going to be the new normal for the next year or so. We literally pretty much have people's lives in our hands. I also have a new understanding of the concept that we didn't stop learning in nursing school and that we're really just STARTING to learn.

I've come up with some strategies for the next year and just thought I'd share them with you:

ASK IF I'M NOT SURE! I don't care if it ends up being an obvious answer - if I have critically thought through something and I just don't feel sure or that I'm possibly missing something, I'm going to ask.

I keep a small flip style notepad and keep a running list of conditions I have been presented with and drugs I have given that I'm not completely familiar with. On my days off, I dredge out the Med-Surg nursing text and revisit some of the conditions. I use my Davis Drug Guide on my iTouch to read up on meds I have given so the next time I know more about them. Yeah it sucks to study on my days off, but I'd rather do that than be a stupid nurse.

I subscribe to Nursing and AJON. It's rare when I get an issue that I learn nothing from. I've gotten some good ideas and insights from those two magazines.

EXERCISE. I joined a gym now that I have graduated and can't use the college gym anymore. I'm going to try to go regularly on my days off. All that stress has to go somewhere, and it's better to work it off then let it settle inside of you.

I also understand I am going to make some mistakes. It goes with the territory. Hopefully they won't be big mistakes but I am not going to allow myself to be immobilized by fear that I am going to make a big mistake. I just acknowledge that I will indeed make mistakes - as do the very best and seasoned of nurses - and will try to learn as much as I can from them. I will beat myself up for a little while and then move on.

Who knows what lies ahead of us, other than simply knowing it's going to be a challenging year. Learn from it, go with the flow, trust your gut and use your resources.

We CAN do this!

Edited by AZO49008

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HouTx has 35 years experience and works as a Manager, eLearning & Clinical Development.

44,554 Visitors; 9,051 Posts

Your attitude & perceptions are absolutely perfect. Seriously, If all new grads were like you, I guarantee that no one would hesitate to hire them. If only we could clone you!!!!

You're well on your way to becoming a stellar nurse - keep us posted on your progress.

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jadu1106 has 4 years experience and works as a RN.

15,408 Visitors; 908 Posts

I concur with HouTx 100%....you will do great!! :)

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2,092 Visitors; 60 Posts

Very well written. Every day is different, every pt. is different. We have to embrace the good days, learn from the bad, and do the best we can. Also to realize that we are not always going to get a thank you or pat on the back for doing a good job. Keep that good attitude, it really does help and sometimes wear off on others!

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387 Visitors; 2 Posts

Thank you for posting!! I am a new graduate beginning my orientation on an ICU floor and am mentally preparing myself that it is going to be hard....clinging to the thoughts that things will get easier & praying for guidance through it all. Very encouraging post..positivity is the way to go! any updates?

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