I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to write about for my next post, and I decided to write about being a nurse. Specifically, I want to write some advice that I wish had been given to me when I graduated 3 years ago. Graduating from nursing school was one of the happiest moments of my life! That being said, here are some things I would like to pass on to those who are in school, and those who are brand new nurses about to start their first jobs:
First of all, if you don’t (or didn’t!) love nursing school, you’re not alone. You don’t have to feel guilty about that. I know that I did. So many people in my class just seemed to be “getting it” and excelling, and I had to study so hard just to get B’s and C’s! Sometimes it was so overwhelming, and I felt like I was under so much pressure that I thought I was going to explode. But you’ll get through it. You may have to retake a class, but you know what? That’s ok! It does NOT mean you will be a failure as a nurse.
Also – and this part is so, so hard – don’t get so caught up in care plans and paperwork that you miss out on the clinical aspect of nursing school. Make the most of each opportunity to develop rapport with the patients assigned to you. Jump at any opportunity for hands-on experience. Trust me, it will help you so much when you start your “real job” if you get out of your comfort zone NOW, while you’re still in school, even if you’re shy and it seems like the hardest thing in the world at the time.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Don’t be too shy OR too proud to say, 1) you know what, I don’t know how to do that! 2) will you show me? and 3) now let ME try. There is NO other way to learn the skills that are necessary for becoming a nurse.
When you start your first job, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you feel overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – it truly is better to “annoy” a more seasoned nurse with questions than to make a mistake knowing you could have asked for guidance. Sorry, but that one is on you. And, if you run into someone who gets impatient with you, do NOT take it personally. Give it time, and as your experience grows, you will find that 99% of the time they are excellent people and excellent nurses… but not everyone remembers what it’s like to be a new grad.
Smile, be kind, be humble, and you will go far!
P.S., (and this part is for my 3-years-younger self!) Starting IV’s is not everyone’s strong suit. Ahem, It’s not yours. You’ll get better, but it’s still not your strong suit and never will be. Don’t beat yourself up about it. We weren’t created with a cookie cutter – nurses excel in different skills and different areas, and that’s how it’s supposed to be! We all have something to bring to the table.
I hope that encouraged someone out there! Nursing school is tough. But you can do it!
In other news, I got to feed my travel obsession just a little bit! 🙂 Went to Mexico with my sissy – got to see Chichen Itza, swim through the Rio Secreto cave system, soak up some sun (and sunsets!), and enjoy some much-needed sister time. Here are a few pics: