Hi lovely readers;
So today I really want to talk about and reflect on my first year as a nurse! ( I have been tired and busy get back into the swing of things since my vaca,, so finally getting a moment to write feels so great!)
Wow has the time flown by, and I still cant believe as I sit here writing, that it has actually been one full year since I started my first job in the NICU as an RN!
I have to say it was nothing like I expected or imagined. This past year has been so special to me because I have truly seen so much growth in myself. I have tried things I was afraid of, stepped outside of my comfort zone, made so many new friends, and ultimately learned so much about the kind of person I want to be.
** also want to take a quick minute to recap on what a freaking cool preceptor I had. She is still my bestie and I wouldn’t be the kind of nurse I am today without her. … advice: find a mentor who is there for you on your unit , but more importantly, outside the hospital. Someone you can go to freely to vent, ask advice from, and de stress. Bridgeyyyy, I love youuuu. ♥︎
So here they are….
Important things I’ve learned turning 1 !!!!:
- Being a nurse has challenged me to believe in myself, and have confidence in myself unlike anything else has in my life. Being responsible for other tiny humans is such big deal, and learning to trust my instincts and speak up when I feel like my babies need me has been so cool. (still a total work in progress but regardless, progress)
- I found that being afraid is a good thing. I should be a little anxious, nervous, concerned because after all, I have lives in my hands.
- I have learned that asking for help is not a bad thing and doesn’t make you less of nurse. ACCEPTING HELP is also not a bad thing… and instead of always saying, ” I’m okay, thanks though,” but, ” actually if you could help me feed this round, that would be awesome,” is totally acceptable and honestly more productive for everyone.
- I figured out pretty quick that I will never know everything, and there is always someone to go to when I cant figure something out or need reassurance for something I am doing. Being overly cautious is never a bad thing, and if someone is annoyed with me for being so, O FREAKING WELL, because its my license and my patients lives at stake. Its okay to be annoying, especially still being a very new nurse:))))
*****(lol, me asking my charge nurses to check my IVs literally a million times during the shift because “im pretty sure this is out”… sorry ladies if you’re reading this haha). Also love them because they are always the nicest and come anyways… ❤
- With that being said, your coworkers and managers are everything. Who you work with can literally make or break your career. Find a home; a place where you feel supported and listened to. This has so much value when it comes to how you feel about going to work and how you feel about the work you do.
- PATIENCE. PATIENCE, did i mention PATIENCE. Gosh, working with little ones requires so much dedication and emotion. Normally, your adult and even pediatric patients can communicate with you… babies, well its kind of a guessing game( and after awhile some intuition:)) about what they need.** (me) walks( actually rushes quickly lol) over to baby in open crib, heart rate 200//monitor going off, crying( potentially waking up all the other babies in the pod lol) thinks to self…
“Do you have a diaper full of poop? Do you just need some love? Did you actually want 65 mL of formula/breast milk instead of 50mL? I dunno haha but we will figure this out together. We got 12 hours buba..”
So it goes.<3 And I learn, and become bffs with all my babies.( or try at least, some like me, others… I swear just think I’m nuts and are dreaming of their favorite nurse to come back haha. Regardless, I love them for the 12 hours I get to spend with them.
- Sometimes I feel sad. That is okay. That one baby going through withdrawl, or the one with no visitors. The one with a terrible IV burn, or the one who just cant get feeding down. The one that had to get transferred to level 3 unexpectedly… the one whose twin is in critical condition.
- Lastly, Ive learned that most nights are hard. Most nights I come home in the morning feeling a tad bit defeated, emotionally exhausted, and somewhat distraught that I forgot something, or could have done something differently. EVEN though most nights are hard, ALL of my nights are special. I am so thankful in the morning that I have the chance to make a difference in a few babies lives for 12 hours. I’m grateful, for the amazing ladies and gents I work with who always lift me up, teach me, and inspire me to be a better nurse.
ONE YEAR. & many, many, many more to go. Happy birthday to me. To my fellow 1 year old nurses, I hope your year has brought you as much growth and inspiration as it has brought me.
Rachael Gooch, (proud) RN