Hi, next month will make 1 year since I have been an RN and I absolutely LOVE my job! My life's dream is to become a midwife and so I wanted to work in a hospital that was primarily women focused. After nursing school, I relocated to Orlando to work for such a hospital (Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies) - which opened in May, 2006 - right on time. I work in Labor & Delivery on nights and I must say that in the 1st month of my orientation, I was completely overwhelmed and thought it would probably be better to start off in Antepartum than L&D because I felt the floor was moving a little too fast for a new grad with no previous nursing experience. Well, when I mentioned this to my clinical educator, the very next shift she quickly ushered me into a meeting with the nurse manager, asst nurse mgr, GN coordinator and herself. In this meeting - of which I was a little concerned that maybe I shouldn't have opened my mouth - I was asked to express my thoughts and feelings. When I explained that I felt overwhelmed, they wanted to know what made me feel that way - was it the courses, my preceptor, the patient load, the pace of the GN program, unfair treatment from staff members, etc. ? That meeting took about an hour and a half and never once did I feel like I was speaking with a manager. I received so much support and constructive criticism from each of them that I felt I was in a room with my big sisters receiving encouraging words of wisdom about the new journey I was embarking upon. I was told to look at every shift as a new experience to learn from and to remove my personal time tables from my mindset. I realized that as a new nurse, I was still in "nursing school mode"... thinking I have 6 months to learn this or this amount of time to learn that... same as you would say I have 1 month to learn these chapters to be ready for the first exam of the semester... I was stressing myself out. With their assistance, I changed preceptors (not because the one I had was a bad preceptor - on the contrary she is a very knowledgeable nurse, she just had a nursing style that was unlike the one I wanted to become), requested a 1 month extension on my GN orientation period and kept a journal of my experiences. After orientation, not only was I happy that I stayed in Labor & Delivery, but I was also happy with my choice of hospital to work in after nursing school. I am also the kind of nurse that I dreamed to be - the kind that provides great patient teaching on admission and helps her patients - first time mom or not - enjoy one of the most exciting and rewarding moments of her life.
If you are a new nurse and are wondering what my orientation schedule was like, here it is:
1st-Corporate Hospital Orientation - 5 days
2.-Graduate Nurse/Novice Nurse Orientation - 5 days
3.- Labor and Delivery Core Classes - 3 days/wk for 12 wks
4.- Triage Rotation - 1 shift
5.- Antepartum Rotation - 3 Shifts
6.- Post-Partum Rotation - 2 Shifts
7.- Baby Nurse Rotation - 2 Shifts
8.- L&D Operating Room - 6 Shifts
9. - GN Roundtable Mtgs - Weekly for 12 wks
And because I spent most of the 14wk Orientation period in classes and rotating to the areas mentioned above, I felt I needed more time orienting to the actual L&D floor so I extended my time with preceptor for 5 additional weeks. Even though she and my managers felt I was ready to come off orientation after 14wks, I didn't feel I was ready. With the 5 additional weeks (remember that's only 3 12hr shifts a week) I worked on improving what I considered my areas of weakness. Because my preceptor was still "responsible" for me during this time, it made having someone readily available for my questions whenever one arose - as opposed to interrupting another nurse from her patient care. I myself am now a preceptor.
This first year of nursing was met with so much support and learning (we do 1300 deliveries/mth - most of which are high risk pts) that I am looking into becoming a travel nurse for January 2008. I am confident in my abilities as an L&D nurse and am looking forward to this new challenge.
)) Life is great when you are doing what you LOVE!