5 Things I Would Tell Myself as a New Nurse
You know how there are certain dates that you will probably remember for the rest of your life? The day I officially became a nurse is one of those dates that will forever be engraved in my mind. February 2nd was the day that the Texas Board of Nursing confirmed that I passed the horrid NCLEX and it’s probably because it was the hardest test I have taken in my life and I was so sure I had failed the exam. In honor of the 3-year mark of me being a nurse, I thought it would be interesting to write about 5 things I would tell myself as a new nurse if I had the chance.
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5 Things I Would Tell Myself as a New Nurse
One. People are mean for no reason.
I’m not sure if you were just hidden from all the very mean people in the world but you’re going to learn quick that people are mean for no reason. Unfortunately, you’re going to encounter SO many as a nurse. You’re going to encounter some that really test your limits and some will purposely do it to break you down. Others, just aren’t mentally there and don’t realize what they are doing. Either way, your going to learn to have thick skin and to be honest, the mean people don’t go away. You just learn to ignore them – yeah, you get real good at ignoring them. But you also learn that some of them just need a stern Stevie to come out and then they learn to respect you. (You’ll learn to do that too!) So try your hardest not to let these mean people get to you. Because some will but just take a deep breath and keep going because you’ll be alright. Remember, sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you – well physically they won’t.
Two. You’re going to cry and it’s okay.
The rumors that you heard throughout nursing school are true. You’re going to cry at some point and time at work. I know what you’re thinking. Noooooo, I hate crying in public. But it’s okay, the first time, (yes, you cry more than once) only one person saw you tear up and she’s the one that told you to take a second to regroup and that she would handle your business while you were gone. And guess what?!?! You did just that! You went to the restroom you let out a couple of tears and then you wiped those tears away and got yourself back out there! Don’t worry, it wasn’t anything to be embarrassed about. You were having a really shitty morning (excuse my language) and you had TWO patient’s go down hill at the same time so anyone would have needed a second to step away and let out a tear or two. And maybe if you read number one over and over and over again, maybe the second time you cry won’t happen.
Three. Having a hobby is well-needed.
Trust me when I say you need a hobby. What’s surprising is that the thing you hated to do the most in high school, turns out to be one of your hobbies that you enjoy the most – i.e. running. Yeap, turns out you enjoy running to relieve stress! When you’re having a crappy day at work, you always think of two things – Goodness, I cannot wait to get a White Chocolate Mocha tomorrow morning AND I cannot wait to go run on my day off. So, you might as well save your money for some new running shoes because you will be running a whole lot! I’m not kidding. You even pick up a second hobby that you never thought you would ever do and that’s blogging. Needless to say, your hobbies are what gets you through those rough patches when you start thinking about whether or not you picked the right career choice.
Four. You’re going to surprise yourself a lot.
You don’t know ANYTHING as a new nurse but you also know some things. What I mean by that is that if someone was to ask you a question about what to do in a certain situation, you probably wouldn’t be able to answer it. BUT, if you were thrown into that situation (just as a matter of luck – like bad luck), stuff that you learned from nursing school that you didn’t think stuck, will resurface and you will actually get yourself and your patient’s out alive. I cannot count on both of my hands the amount of times you were able to do the right things in situations you thought you didn’t have the knowledge for and could have hurt your patient had you not done the correct thing. But thankfully, you were able to recall information that you didn’t know you knew until that information was well-needed. So when this happens, don’t forget to go home and tell Jesus all about it. He gets just as excited about your wins as you do. Yeah, he’s a keeper!
Five. Despite all the bad things, it’s still worth it.
Okay, I know it sounds like being a nurse isn’t fun at all. And honestly, it isn’t a lot of the time but you have those moments that make it all worth it. First off, you work on a great unit so you have great coworkers that help you when shit hits the fan and that alone makes most days tolerable. But you also have those days where you get the sweetest patient in the world and you remember why you became a nurse in the first place. Every once and a while you get the patient that appreciates every little thing that you do and you can’t help but act like you work at ChickFila and tell them My Pleasure. Okay you don’t really say that verbatim but thats basically what you tell them when they won’t stop thanking you. The relationships you develop with some of your patients warms your heart and thats when you know EXACTLY why you became a nurse. It’s hard to explain the feeling but trust me, you’ll get that feeling numerous times and there’s nothing like it!
Sorry, I know I said that this post is about five things I would tell myself as a new nurse, but I’m going to add a sixth one that I just thought of because it is VERY IMPORTANT. If there is one thing you take from this post, it would be to always trust your gut. Always. Don’t ignore it because it is right 98% of the time. You have been able to catch so much stuff with your patients because you trusted your gut and some of them probably wouldn’t be alive right now had you not.
Say it with me: I will ALWAYS trust my gut.
If you’re in nursing school or a brand new nurse (heck, even if you are a human that has a job), I hope this post showed you that we all go through the same things even though they aren’t in the exact same situations. I feel as those these words can be applied to any job and I hope you got some comfort knowing that you’re not alone!