Reflections on the first year


  • Specializes in LPN. Has 16 years experience.

I received my nursing license a year ago today, and I have been thinking about how much I have changed in this time.

I had my first job lined up before I graduated in a nursing home. I was really excited about starting, and I felt comfortable there since I had a clinical rotation in the facility. Within the first week I was overwhelmed, feeling harassed by more experienced nurses and generally unable to manage the patient load. I found myself leaving after 4 months with the feeling that I was incompetent and that I had been naive to think I was ready to be a nurse.

I didn't realize or appreciate until much later that my first job, while not a good fit, did give me a strong foundation in many skills I may not have developed otherwise. I have since found my niche in group homes for the disabled, where I have made friends with coworkers and developed an entirely different set of nursing skills. I went from a shy new grad who annoyed others by asking too many questions of busy nurses who hardly had time for their own work, to a confident nurse who has developed the ability to make my own judgments.

This time last year when patients called for a nurse, I would look around to see who they were talking to. I didn't see myself as "the nurse". I'm not sure when the change occured, but somewhere along the line I started developing confidence in my own abilty to assess patients and make decisions. This is not to say that I don't make mistakes, but I've reached a point where I recognize myself as a part of a profession. I'm no longer someone who "recently finished nursing school".

When I first started, I saw LPN as a stepping stone toward RN. I didn't think I would work as one for long enough to consider it a career, but life stepped in and I didn't continue school. I feel fine about that though, since I have already found an area where I enjoy working enough to consider it more than just a place to get experience. I've come along way in personal and professional development during this year, and I now love my job. I am a nurse.


248 Posts

congrats on finding ur niche. it is something that some nurses search forever for. i just graduated and not sure my niche is, just yet. i am glad that you are truely happy at your new career. congrats and wish you the best of luck! :yeah::yeah:


1,016 Posts

That's really so cool. I have not found my niche yet, but I'm definitely more on my own and able to think SOME things through -- and I enjoy a lot about being on my own and comandeering my day as I want to -- I'm still playing with that -- just being on my own and doing things how I want to do them --

I hope then to find my patient niche -- whether it be tele or peds or ICU or whatever -- ob, L&D - I don't know what it will be -- but I do hope I find it.

I think also about some specialities -- wound care nurse, dialysis, etc.

For some reason, wound care just interests me. I feel like a true nurse when I do wound care. I know a lot of it is entirely gross -- but I just really feel for patients with these wounds and feel there is so much we can do to prevent them and heal them. It's a true healing exercise to work with that --

We'll see. But congrats on finding that rainblow ...doesn't it feel good to have made it through the "rain" so to speak? ;)

nursemike, ASN, RN

1 Article; 2,362 Posts

Specializes in Rodeo Nursing (Neuro). Has 12 years experience.

Good for you!

The second year (and beyond) isn't necessarily a picnic--I sometimes find myself struggling to get things done that I once didn't even know I was supposed to be doing--but there is something about that first anniversary, isn't there? I still find myself going into work hoping I don't get a too crappy assignment, but it sure is nice when that little voice inside my head (what? doesn't everyone have voices inside their head?) is telling me, "You can do this."

I saw a little placard, somewhere, once, that said: "We have done so much, with so little, for so long, that we are now qualified to do anything, with nothing."

Welcome to the club.

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