Well....I am almost to my 1 year anniversary of working as a nurse! In some ways I still feel as green as I did the 1st month, in other ways I've learned so much. I started on med surg. I'm still on med surg (days instead of nights now though). I have a couple of thoughts about all that....
1. Why is med surg such a soul sucker some days? I mean honestly, some days I come home and can barely walk the next day, just physically exhausted from running, running, running. AND mentally/emotionally drained from demands of family members or abuse from patients/family members.
2. I come in 30 minutes early every shift and look up my pts (unpaid). I make my sheets for the day and review orders, etc. I also make my PCT sheet if we have a PCT. Even doing this there are days I get out late, most days most of us get out up to 30 minutes late BUT I have days occasionally where I get out an hour late. It is just really draining.... and I usually "eat lunch" at the nurses station while charting. I have started doing more for myself, I am getting massages monthly, practicing intentional thinking and relaxation and eating healthier. It is helping ... but man, some days still I feel my energy is just zapped.
3. New grads ... med surg is a great place because us new grads really bond. Also there are generally some seasoned team members on each shift to learn from. Also my skills are pretty good as far as variety. I've done many different drains, dressings, NGs, several drips, etc. I've been exposed to many medications too, and tons of doctors/staff from multiple specialties. AND I must add working med surg nights is worth it for the fun breakfasts after shifts with your coworkers, nights has a special camaraderie I have not found on days.
4. I'm thinking about starting to look at other positions....I'm finishing my BSN (have a bachelors in business from previous career). I eventually want to get my Master's or DNP. I really want to specialize in an area where I can provide teaching...teaching to patients and families. Also I want to teach, precept, etc. I do like med surg but I feel like it is a young nurses field, what I mean is all the running is hard on me already, in a few years how much harder will it be to keep up? This is my second career and I am no spring chicken. ALSO I hate when people say oh your a nurse, whats your specialty....when you say med surg the general response is oh. People don't even view it as a specialty even though prompt attention to detail on those post surgicals really helps prevent negative outcomes! ALSO prompt assessment on new arrivals from ED and direct transfers, getting them to the ICU when you realize they need higher care asap, that makes a huge difference! I am looking at the big patient picture and notifying all the team when there is a flag! I minimize negative outcomes daily. Frustrating that people view it the way they do....I truly feel med surg nurses are honed on assessment skills, you will get great assessment skills in spades after time spent on med surg.
5. Will I ever get better at IV starts? I seriously had such a good roll....but I have been on a bad run for what seems like months now. Any tips on getting better? Any resources? Short of trying to start a new IV for every A/C the ED sends that is. I just feel so defeated with every IV I miss or blow when trying to advance.
6. Taking my ACLS next month, that feels like a lot of responsibility. We get overflow from all floors except labor/delivery, mom baby, peds. So we do see a WIDE VARIETY of stuff and are expected to be capable of running a code situation after ACLS. As of now I usually scribe, get needed supplies, or do vitals during our emergency response situations. Also very much needed roles, and I am more than okay with pitching in wherever help is needed.
Anyhow.....that is kind of my year in review. Any advice from others out there finishing up their year? Any experiences you have to share? Any career advice you've learned that the rest of us could benefit from?