5 Things I've Learned in my 1st Year as an RN
It's definitely been a while since I've created a blog post, but this year has been super busy for me! July 6th was my one year anniversary of passing my NCLEX and July 18th was one year that I've been at the best OB hospital in Middle Tennessee (arguably ALL of Tennessee haha). What a year this has been! I recently had my yearly evaluation and it put some things in perspective for me. I wanted to share a bit of my experiences and what I've learned after one year of finally having those letters after my name. I spent year after year fighting to get what I wanted, and even one year later, it still feels surreal that I achieved one of my biggest goals! I am beyond proud of myself and even more proud to be a Registered Nurse!
1. Utilize your resources!
I work in Postpartum/Newborn Care (called Mother/Baby where I work) and I went through my hospital's "Residency Program." We received extensive training before we were placed on the floor by ourselves. It was a 15 week program where I had various preceptors to utilize, along with at least a half dozen training classes. We were prepped and primed very well and I don't think I could have been more prepared to get on the unit on my own. It sounds silly, but "Teamwork makes the dream work" is so relevant where I work. That is why we are well-known to be a great hospital to have your baby!
And even now, as I've been "on my own" since October 2016, I ALWAYS have my co-workers and charge nurses to help me. Anything I am unclear or unsure about, they are always available to help and for that I never feel like I'm in the wilderness by myself. I don't want to brag, but we have some of the best teamwork that I've ever witnessed/heard about. I'm pretty lucky to work where I do!
2. You will never ever know everything!
I've been recently having nursing students follow me and they will ask questions that I honestly don't always have the answer to. I do appreciate them challenging my mind and making me think from a different perspective. Sometimes you get so used to doing things a certain way that you honestly neglect to think about the WHY. Nursing school teaches you a lot about that, but it doesn't always get carried into your life as a nurse. That always motivates me to do my own research to be more knowledgeable in this field.
3. Don't be afraid to make mistakes!
I can't go into details, for obvious reasons, on certain mistakes I made while working. Instead of denying it I admitted my mistakes, took responsibility, checked myself, let someone know and learned from them. Thankfully there weren't any life or death mistakes that happened to me, but things enough for me to make sure they won't happen again. You are way more respected when you own up and correct them instead of trying to deny and pretend as though you are right. You are human! This is my first job right out of nursing school! Making mistakes are apart of learning and for me, the next time I had that same task, I perfected it because I remembered what not to do!
4. Always ask questions!
A lot of people are intimidated or are afraid to look bad/silly in front of people when it comes to asking questions. For ME? I have NO PRIDE when it comes to asking questions. The last thing I want to do is be afraid to ask a valuable question and end up doing something wrong that could affect my patients. All I had to do was ask for clarification and now my mother or baby is in distress or not getting the care they need. ASK ASK ASK! Again, I am fortunate to work on a unit that welcomes questions and they encourage them so that I don't hurt any patients, ha, so I do! I don't know it all! I've only been a nurse for a bit over a year and this is my first ever RN job on a unit that I'm completely well-versed in! Don't feel intimidated! Even if you don't feel as though you work on a unit that is as helpful as mine, find someone who does welcome questions and ask them! Don't let anyone on your unit intimidate you. Chances are, at some point in their career, they have asked the same question! They didn't come into this field knowing it all; they had to inquire some kind of way!
5. Some days are harder than others.
This field is not peaches and cream. There are days where I do question, "Why in the hell did I do this to myself?" There are days where I do not sit down from the time I get there until my shift is halfway over because so many things are happening at once. You will get overwhelmed. And tired. And on the brink of tears. Your legs hurt from moving and standing too long. You will realize it's 3pm and you haven't eaten since you walked through the doors with that Starbucks drink or that bagel you ate on the way to work (if you even grabbed anything on your way out of the house). You will think you have everything done and your admission shows up at 5:45 when shift change starts at 6:30. You will get home and collapse on your couch and are too tired to even stand up in a shower. There are days where it's a tad slower than the norm and you get all of your work done in a timely manner and you sit and wonder, "This doesn't seem normal; I must've forgotten to do something!" I've had some pretty awful jobs in my life, but when I clock out, I know that there is absolutely no other field I can imagine myself being in . There is no other reason I'd rather be tired. Nursing is indeed my calling and something I love doing with my life.
Going through Nursing School was HELL ON EARTH. And some days, being a nurse is hell. But for me, my good days absolutely outweigh my bad days. I love that I have the ability to make moves in this field if I choose to. I love that with the high demand, I can pretty much move where ever I want with no issues of finding a job. Women's Health is definitely the perfect fit for me and I have options! Wearing my badge and jacket with those letters after my name gives me so much pride! I'm thankful that I was able to not only discover my calling, but do a pretty damn good job at my calling so far! The best is yet to come!