Becoming A Nurse

I received a touching and a very inspirational email from a friend who is also a nurse... It was actually a forwarded email that is addressed to all nurses. I am sharing this to you so that you can ponder on this and get additional strength in keeping us on the right nursing track.

by NICUandLearning

I did not even finish high school I only had a general education diploma (G.E.D.) and I thought that I could not do anything. I had a lot of times when I was sick. I knew that I liked to care for people and things. That is when I thought about being a nurse. I thought that taking care of babies that a lot nurses would not be able to care for would be very rewarding and challenging. I enrolled into college even before my high school class graduated, to be a registered nurse.

I graduated from nursing school May 18, 2006. That was one of the proudest and most bittersweet days of my life.

I started my job at the NICU at a regional center teaching hospital that is 1 hour away from my home but I knew was right for me on May 25, 2006.

I took my boards August 15, 2006. I changed the date three times and nearly hyperventilated when I walked into the building. I was so scared to fail my boards and lose all that I had worked for and let many people down. But I passed with 75 questions and 44 minutes.

I have worked in a very busy (50 beds regional center) and ever growing and changing NICU, for the past almost 2 years, and I am always learning. The learning never stops and I was not only learning the clinical aspects but as a new RN I had to learn the unit, people, patients, and doctors. Therefore I had to be flexible and I always listened before speaking, to be honest I was scared to say the wrong thing. I learned that I should never feel stupid or think I look incompetent for asking for help. Sometimes I just needed to feel that I had the people there to make sure I was doing it right, and that next time I could do try to do it by myself.

There have been very hard times where I doubted myself and my skills and there still is times when I do. I had times were I thought to myself “what is scary is that other people believe that I can do this!” But then the things that scared me or that made me work really hard became easier and I got the thumbs up from my mentors. I learned that it is a must to have people that can back you up and support you.

I think that as I became better with the basic skills the other skills and changes were easier to accept, still very challenging but easier to accept and adapt to. I learned that everyone from the PCA’s to the Attendings and Nurse Managers are always learning and can make human mistakes just like me. Any mistakes made need to be accepted and learned from. I learned that I can always do better if I try but that I can only try my best.

I have found that everyone is scared that their patient will die or have something go wrong. I came to realize that being scared or having something go wrong can happen but you have to try to ensure it does not and be able to do the right actions if it does. Although that is not the worst thing emotionally that a nurse deals with I learned. The worst thing emotionally is when a patient needs to be able to be let go and is not able, and I was unable to do anything for that patient or the family. I thought I knew what nurses have to do and the things I was required to do but I did not, I now realize. I try to learn my weakness and learn from them and improve and I think that the best nurses never stop doing that. I have learned so much in my short time as a registered nurse in the NICU and have so much more to learn.

I think to myself after my almost 2 years as a registered nurse that everything got scarier as I went. Going to nursing school and walking into the classroom for the first time was scary and unnerving. Then going to clinical and walking into the patient’s room and the patient expecting me to know what I was doing was even scarier. Then graduating from nursing school and finding the job that I wanted, with the interviews and resume writing that was involved that also was scary and took courage that I did not know I had. When I started my first day on the unit I did not think I could go through with it and it was unbelievably scary. Then taking my boards was so scary I thought I was going to pass out when I got in the building, and that was after I had changed the test date three times. Then being off orientation and being "on my own" I thought I was unable to do it but I did. Then being considered not “new” and taking harder and more challenging assignments I thought I was not ready but I was. Everything was so scary and I thought that I did not have the skills but I did and I continue to gain confidence and nursing knowledge.

I did not think that I was going to be able to make anything out of myself I was unable to finish high school. Then I finished college and I thought well maybe I can be something. Now that I have been a registered nurse in a regional medical center in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit caring for the most fragile of patients I realize I am something. I am proud to say I am a nurse.