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.