When did you realize?

  1. After a year and a half of pre/co-requisites, I have finally begun the actual nursing program. While in clinicals it dawned on me that much of this first phase involves assuming the identity of a health care professional. That is, changing from a "regular person" to a nurse. I hope that makes sense.
    My question is--at what point did you realize, "hey, I'm a nurse!"
    Is that something that happens gradually in time, or all at once? When did this happen for you? In school or when you passed the boards? Can it be taught (probably not) or is it with experience (probably).
    I hope this isn't a weird or confusing question.

    p.s.--how do i change avatars?
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    About the taoist

    Joined: Feb '03; Posts: 32
    Manager of a small store selling hot sauce and cooking ingredients


  3. by   renerian
    I felt like that in the last semester of nursing classes. However, it was really a good feeling when I passed my boards. What I was not prepared for was how much you learn after your done with school. It is just the tip of an iceberg.

  4. by   RNforLongTime
    I felt like a nurse when I received that license in the mail.
  5. by   the taoist
    Is it that cut and dry?
    I don't necessarily mean a Registered Nurse, just a nurse.
  6. by   Spidey's mom
    Well, it took me a long time after I passed the board exam and was working full-time. I don't think nursing school does an adequate job of preparing you for floor nursing. You, or at least I, learned most of my skills on the job. It sort of made me feel as I did with the birth of my first child. As the nurse wheeled me out to our car and then handed me our son, to put into the car seat, I couldn't help but think "what in the world are you thinking to send us home with this innocent little baby?!?" . . .. . . . We took 6 weeks of childbirth classes and 6 weeks of Lamaze . . and I didn't learn to be a parent until I was "on the job". And I'm still not perfect at it. . . . It just seems weird sometimes to think "I'm a nurse!".

    "Wilma Flintstone . .devoted wife . . Best Friend of Betty Rubble . . . Mother of Pebbles . . . willing to put up with Fred is no easy task and the fact that she did it for season after season only makes it more obvious that this is a cartoon".
  7. by   the taoist
    So it's more gradual, eh?

    Until then, fake it.
  8. by   RNforLongTime
    NO! NEVER fake it! If you have a question about something, or don't know how to do something, ask someone! It's dangerous to attempt to do something and unethical to do something that you have no idea how to do. I've been a nurse for 5 1/2 years now and there's so much that I don't know. I ask! The only DUMB question is one that isn't asked. Don't feel stupid. Your fellow co-workers will respect you more if you ask them for help rather than winging it. There's nothing worse than a new grad who acts like they know it all and doesn't ask questions. Those types scare the bejeebies out of me!

    Good luck with your career. This board is a great support system!
  9. by   sjoe
    IMHO it is a poor step for most people to take to identify with, or confuse themselves with, a job--any job.

    Back in the days when nurses were commonly nuns and had taken religious vows, I can see them referring to themselves as "being a nurse."

    I always think of and describe myself vocationally as "working as a registered nurse." I am a lot more than simply "a nurse."
    Last edit by sjoe on Feb 20, '03
  10. by   the taoist
    I didn't mean faking it in regards to technical skill. NEVER.
    I am referring to the BEING not the DOING.
    Does this make sense?

    On second thought, I take back the "fake it" comment.
    You should never fake anything.

  11. by   the taoist
    I see what you mean. This kinda gets into issues of it being "just a job" vs. "a calling" which I'm sure gets debated to death. In school, the instructors warned of the nurse that is just doing it as "just a job." They said that it shows and patient care suffers. I don't know. I personally feel that you can BE many things.

    corny, I know,
  12. by   Spidey's mom
    I'm alot of things . . . . . too numerous to mention. I don't just think of myself as a nurse. Depends on the time of life I'm in. Right now I think of myself mostly as the middle-aged mother of a very active toddler and find myself very grateful for that. Sometimes I'm the mother of a grumpy teenager . . .who needs a good swift kick in the tush. I'd never limit myself to just my work. Although my work is very important to me.

    Life is complicated, huh?

    When you start working as a Registered Nurse (funny sjoe) . . find yourself a compassionate and patient mentor and ask lots of questions. You may not feel like a nurse right away but you don't have to fake anything.

    This is a great place to come for support. Good luck!

  13. by   LilgirlRN
    I didn't feel like a real nurse until I could make nursing judgements for myself just like my coworkers did. I started in CCU which IMHO a new grad shouldn't be allowed to do. The day that I assessed my patient that the doc had seen an hour before was doing OK and I realized he was in pulmonary edema and called the doc back in MYSELF, the CN didn't do it. That's when I knew I could stand on my own and be a "real" nurse.
  14. by   Stargazer
    I've wanted to be a nurse since I was 5 years old. Planned on it, anticipated it, told everybody I was doing it, and read books about it. So "nurse" has been a significant part of my identity for as long as I can remember.