Self Care

Another First Year; What I Learned my First Year of Nursing

I walk into my patient’s dimly lit room with my arms filled with medications as my patient begins to ask me about my nursing career and how long I have been in my profession.  And that’s when it hit me.  The one year blogging anniversary is not the only one year anniversary this year.  This month has officially made it one year since I sat for that dreadful test and passed! I can vividly remember walking into that professional building with sweaty palms and a racing heart.  Hearing the horror stories of those who had gone before me play in my head, I pushed that door open and dove in.  Feeling as if I was walking through the white house, I began to take off my hoodie, empty my purse contents, hand my cell phone to get bagged, and began making my palm available for the vein reading.  In my many years of schooling I had never taken a test quite as serious as this one.  But I had studied immensley for it this time around.  I had dug in deep and managed to pull it off with a WIN! Waiting those two days to get my N-CLEX results was pure torture.  But when that day finally came, hearing Briean tell me my passing results was just- priceless. And even now one year later, that is a feeling I will never forget. 

They tell you nursing is a career that is forever rewarding, and I’d have to say I agree.  Touching the lives of individuals less healthy or fortunate than me is truly a gift I could never have imagined receiving.  Being that healthcare is ever changing, the nursing profession has so many things to teach.  I feel as though during my short time as a nurse I have already learned so much and cannot wait to see what else this profession has in store for me.  I know that nursing is definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made.  Reflecting on this year, here are some of my top 5 learning takeaways from this profession.
Take time for you.  I put this first because so often us as nurses put ourselves last.  We make sure the patient has every pillow tucked in all the right places before we make sure we eat.  We make sure the doctor’s orders are set and in the right place to get completed before using the bathroom.  There are so many ways we put ourselves second and neglect our own needs.  I wanted to make sure that did not become my life.  During nursing school I made sure I went to every single football game and took that Saturday for myself.  Now during my profession I do the same.  I do not miss dinner with the girls or a game that I really want to attend.  Just try putting you first, trust me your patients will benefit.  
Be patient. With yourself, with your patients, with the doctors and with your fellow nurses.  Try to always stay patient and calm.  There are times when every patients call light is going off, the doctors have just added 5 new orders, and your patients temp is over 101; basically everything that could go wrong is now going wrong.  In moments like this its easy to overreact and stress.  But the real task is to stay calm and do the best you can.  You’re there to help the patients and that is the primary goal.  
Be firm.  So many times in nursing we hear about experienced nurses “eating their young”.  Now many of you know me, I am not one to be taken advantage of.  And I made sure in my first year of nursing that I gave off the same impression.  Upon starting my profession I made sure I stood my ground.  If I felt I was being treated unfairly with an assignment I made it known.  And that’s not just with the nurses but with the patients too.  If I felt that a patient was taking advantage of me, I made sure to voice my concern with the charge and then finding out the best way to deal with the assignment.  It was important to me to be firm in what I wanted because I felt it set the tone for the type of nurse I allowed others to see me as. 
Be kind.  This goes hand in hand with the bullet listed above.  No one wants to deal with the nurse that is constantly complaining or the one that is just rude to every person she comes across.  It is very important to remember to lace those firm times with kindness.  When dealing with that difficult assignment be kind to the charge nurse when you ask for different patients.  When talking with that difficult patient be kind to them in telling them your expectations of your working relationship. I guarantee this will take you a long way. 
Be amazing.  Above all be amazing in your own way.  Theres no definition for that.  Holding one patient’s hand while they cry in pain is amazing.  Getting them a new gown when there’s is soaked is amazing.  Just telling your patient what is going on after the doctor throws medical terms at them can be amazing.  Each patient is different.  Each assignment is different .  There is no one way to be an amazing nurse.  That can only be defined by you.  Define it and live in that way each and every day.  

To all the future or new nurses stick with it.  Some days are the worst and other days are magical.  Hold onto those magical moments and remember why you started this career.  Fellow new nurses let me know if any of these helped you and if you have any of your own tips!  We new nurses have to stick together in this pack. 

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