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.