Dear New Nurse Graduate,
Finally, all the studying, early morning clinicals, and test-taking are over. You have officially been invited into a profession that you will probably give more than take. If nursing is truly your calling you will find yourself nurturing all that you encounter. Please be careful. There is a thin line between nurturing and enabling; the later can consume you if you are not careful. Always listen to your gut. If it does not feel right and look right, don’t be afraid of looking like the novice you are- ASK QUESTIONS. If you work nights, there will be days when you arrive home and you will not remember the ride home. You will ask yourself, “How did I make it home alive?” If you are a spiritual person, you know the answer. There will be days that you question if you made the right decision. Welcome to the world of ethics.
Young nurse, there will be many ethical dilemmas
Just remember your ethical principles (Yes, you will use them all throughout your career). Always keep your patients safe from harm and respect THEIR wishes. Keep it simple in a profession of hard knocks. Support your patients and realize that sometimes they feel that you are the only one that cares and understands. Realize that they have a sense of knowing when you are uncertain or nervous. Walk into their presence with authority that you know your job and you have been chosen to live in this moment. YOU GOT THIS.
Offspring, always educate yourself
Never say you cannot afford to go back to school. Take advantage of the tuition assistance program by your employer. USE IT. Know your options, such as deferred billing, payment programs, scholarships, grants, forgiveness loans, financial aid, etc. Educate yourself within the facility. Stay on Med-Surg for at least 2 years. Learn how to interpret labs, learn how to critically think. Obtain advanced hospital certifications early on and don’t be defeated and feel like you are not smarter than your peers. Apply to specialty areas. If you work for a Level 1 trauma center apply to the residency programs for nurse specialty departments. Remember when you chose a vascular residency, and how it opened your eyes to health care in an entire spectrum?
New nurse, create your work-life balance
If you don’t develop this early in your career, you lose star power. You will resent work. Your body will be present, but your mind will be elsewhere. You will be watching the clock and time will move at a snail’s pace. You will share this negative energy in the work environment and ultimately your work and patients will suffer. KNOW YOUR BOUNDARIES. It’s okay to say, “No, I can’t work extra.” Don’t be afraid to fly. If you can, take a travel assignment. See what other nurses in other areas are doing.
Novice, don’t EVER feel less than because some other nurse makes them self feel more than
You are talented, you are worthy, and you are smarter than you give yourself credit. Do not sequester yourself from your team. Continue your journey to personify your profession. Become familiar with your resources. Strive to participate in shared governance and incorporate this on your mid-year evaluation. Join committees that will allow you to network yourself such as throughput. Share your ideas, don’t keep them bottled up inside. Do your best to become a resource so that you can represent the true leader that is evolving. Be more focused on evidenced-based. Do not be afraid to teach your patients the rationale(s) to your interventions. Build on your weaknesses. Don’t allow fear to block your path to success.
Communicate effectively to multidisciplinary teams. Let them know that you are responsible and accountable. Always engage with the patients, and always ask permission is to include the family. Patient-centered and family-centered care is the key for positive outcomes in patient care. Participate in care coordination-your input is VALUED. Remember you are the person working with the patient for hours. Practice at the top of your license. Actively listen and maintain good eye contact.
Lastly, new nurse, know your worth
Know that you are valuable. Know that you are unique. Know that your profession lasted for centuries and will continue to thrive. Know that you are part of a true society of humans that thrive to make others better by selflessly giving of themselves.
But ultimately remember-
“TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE”
William Shakespeare (Hamlet)
Your Future Self