My First Year as an RN — July 23, 2017

My First Year as an RN

It’s hard to believe it has been over a year since I started working as a registered nurse. July 18th, 2016 was a life changing day for me. Since then I have grown so much in not only the nursing profession but as a person in general. It’s only right for me to reflect on this monumental year in my life. There have been so many good moments, so many bad moments, and everything in between. Let’s see…

I have become such a stronger person over this past year in so many ways. When I first started I was beyond scared to do anything. I wanted to see my preceptor do a task a million times before I would have the confidence to even attempt to do it. I’ve gained the confidence to own it, no matter what the task is. I’ve also learned not to be too over confident and to ask for help or clarification when I need to. I’m dealing with people’s lives.

Bouncing off of that I’ve learned how to work as a team. Some people tend to think that nursing is a solo show but that is so far from the truth. Every single patient I have I’m always bouncing ideas off of other nurses about what might be best for them, what might be going on with them, etc. In emergencies your team is going to be your best asset. Accept it and love it. This goes for doctors too. Maybe not so much attendings since they’re damn near impossible to ever get ahold of but definitely the residents. I can honestly say that I love almost all of my floor’s OB-GYN residents (I work on a women’s health floor and we work closely with them). They’re always willing to listen to your ideas and take into consideration your thought process. Residents are learning just like new grad nurses. As long as it’s for the best interest of the patient then roll with it.

I’ve learned to have a thicker skin. I’m a shy person who gets intimidated easily. Over the past year I’ve had patients yell at me, blame everything going wrong on me, and flat out tell me I’m stupid and don’t know what I’m doing. In the beginning this absolutely sucked and sent any confidence I had plummeting. I’ve learned how to take things with a grain of salt. I now remember that I know I’m providing the best care that I can for them and that they’re having a terrible time just because they’re in the hospital. I’ve learned to use my resources to help diffuse situations instead of taking all the abuse by myself. It’s big to remember in nursing that you don’t deserve to be emotionally or verbally abused my patients or their families.

I’ve seen good patients turn bad in the blink of an eye. No, I haven’t had any patient die on my watch (thank god and knock on wood). I have had patients who are completely stable one minute start crashing the next. I remember while I was on orientation I had a patient who had donated a kidney to her sister 11 years ago and then ended up needing to have half of her remaining kidney removed. The patient was perfectly fine throughout the entire shift. Right before I left I medicated her with the smallest dose I could (and it was a pill). I left and my preceptor was picking up my assignment. When I came in the next day I heard that they had to call a rapid response on the patient and use narcan to wake her up. I felt terrible and honestly thought I had killed a patient. It turns out that her body was having problems filtering the mediations due to her only having half a kidney. She went to step down and was sent home a few days later. I learned a huge lesson that day, that things change instantly and you always have to be on top of your game for whatever situation you may walk into.

I’ve gained some of the best friends I could have ever imagined having. The floor I work on is the most open and accepting I have ever seen. I have work moms and girls that are more like sisters to me. I’m the baby of the floor by a good amount of years. I know each and every one of the women I work with are rooting for me and want me to succeed. I can tell most of them anything and know that they’re going to give me the best advice out there, whether it’s about nursing or anything else in life.

I’ve worked with some of the most amazing doctors that I have ever seen, especially the OB-GYN doctors. They’re always willing to teach and communicate with you. It’s fascinating to have a conversation with them and eventually develop a form of friendship with them. They don’t treat you like you’re beneath them, they treat you as a co-worked and it’s really a beautiful thing to see.

There’s so much more I can look back on but it would take me a year to do it. Although no one knows that I have this blog I want to thank everyone. Thank you to my parents who have supported me through this insane year and dealt with my tears and over excitement. Thank you to my co-workers who have accepted me, guided me, answered all of my questions (and I’ve asked a million of them), and who have helped mold me into the nurse that I am today. Thank you to the doctors who have, at times, drove me insane but have also pushed me to think outside the box and learn to question things. Thank you to the manager that hired me that has since moved on in the company for taking a chance on a new grad on a floor who has probably one of the highest turn over rates and believing in me.

365 days seemed like it was going to be a lifetime and that I was never going to get there. Looking back at it, it flew by and I couldn’t be happier or prouder of the nurse that I turned out to be after all of it. The biggest thing I’ve learned these past 365 days…believe in yourself. It may seem impossible but you’re going to get it and it’ll be worth every tear.

What Every Nursing Student Needs — July 17, 2017

What Every Nursing Student Needs

I know summer vacation just started not too long ago for those of you still in school. It’s sad but it’s flying by quicker than I want to accept and I don’t even get a summer vacation anymore. When I was in school July and August were always my favorite times of the year for one simple reason..back to school shopping!! I don’t know what it was about getting new school supplies but it always brought a smile to my face. I get so excited about it to the point where I want to go to Target just to go up and down the school supplies aisles and buy things I really don’t need. Since I’m restraining myself from that (for now) I figured I’d shed some light on those nursing students and some of the essential things that they’ll need going into the school year.

  1. Stethoscope: this might seem like a no brainer but you’ll be surprised how many people forget to bring one. When I started nursing school we used our stethoscope day one in the skills lab. From that moment on it was never off my person whether it was around my neck or in my scrub pants pocket. Invest in one, bring it, love it. It’s that simple.
  2. Pens, pens, pens: and more pens. You’re going to be taking notes on everything. Whether it’s in class, in the skills lab, or during clinical while you’re watching a procedure you’re going to be taking notes. Even as an RN I have an over abundance of pens. I’m always letting patients borrow them, losing them, having them stolen, etc. Make sure you stockpile and never be without.
  3. Quality shoes: trust me on this one. During clinical you’re going to be on your feet for long hours running around like a crazy person trying to see as much as you can. Your school probably makes you wear all white shoes but you’re going to want to purchase a pair that is going to last you and spare your feet. Everyone thinks Dansko is the best brand but quite frankly I think they’re beyond uncomfortable as well as ugly. My advice? Buy a nice pair of sneakers, you’ll thank me later.
  4. Big bag: either a backpack or a tote bag. Something that’s not going to kill your back or shoulders from carrying all your stuff. You’re going to have books, notebooks, all your clinical stuff, laptop, etc. Save your back and invest in a decent bag that won’t fall apart half way through the semester.
  5. Planner: it will be your best friend. Everyone who has gone through nursing school will tell you that you’ll be the most busy you’ve ever been in your entire life. Think that senior year of high school was a lot with college app deadlines, tests, homework, and a social life? Nursing school is 100x worse. All through college I used a basic five star planner where I was able to write down all my assignments, due dates, test dates, clinical schedules, and what little social life I had. There are hundreds of different planners for you to choose from based on what best meets your needs. I recently invested in my first Erin Condren Life Planner and am completely obsessed (my next post is going to be a review of it and how I use it). It was a decent chunk of change but it’s worth it for where I am right now in life. Find what works for you and use it!

That’s just the most important things I can think of. You obviously need notebooks, binders, your regular school supply stuff. I wouldn’t worry about getting a pulse ox, blood pressure cuff (unless you have people you can practice on), or thermometer. Whenever your clinical placements are are going to have these items for you to use. You’re going to invest a lot of money on extra stuff in nursing school. Save yourself some cash and purchase the essentials. Over the 2-4 years you’re a nursing student it’ll get easier to figure out what you need and what you don’t. Trust your gut and when all else fails, ask you’re friendly new grad nurse 🙂

No Motivation — July 12, 2017

No Motivation

I seriously have zero motivation when it comes to working out. I last wrote about starting a weight loss journey and how I was so excited about it. Fast forward to now and I’m sitting here dreading going to the gym.

I HATE going to the gym. I hate everything about the gym. I hate the people who are super athletic who think they’re the big shit there. I hate the employees who I feel like are CONSTATNLY judging me. I hate that I feel like the biggest fish out of water there. I thought that buying a gym membership to a gym that’s opened but not staffed 24/7 that I would find a time where I feel comfortable…NOPE! If I go in the morning there’s a bunch of older people who want to talk my ear off while I’m close to having a heart attack on the treadmill. If I go during the day it’s staffed by the employees I don’t want coming up to me to ask how I’m doing. If I go at night I get the meat heads who think they’re the next superhero and screaming and dropping weights. It’s a never ending process and I need to find a better way to get myself moving.

I’m thinking about buying a bike. I loved riding my bike as a kid and it’s simple, mindless exercise. I think it would be a good investment and it would get me out of the house, which clearly the gym can’t do for me.

I also want to start swimming more. Yes, that requires buying a one-piece bathing suit but it’ll be money well spent. I just have to find a place where I can swim that won’t cost me an arm and a leg and that is open after the summer. The public pools in my town are disgusting. When I was a kid and we went there during summer camp I ended up with planter’s warts that I needed to have frozen off. Never again! I’m not trying to be an Olympian just trying to get in shape.

Sorry for this being a complete rant about me hating to work out. If you have any suggestions (youtube videos, classes, anything!) please let me know! I really want to be committed to this journey but so far it’s not going so well for me.