6 Months as a Practicing RN — January 19, 2017

6 Months as a Practicing RN

Holy crap! I can’t believe that today marks 6 months of being a practicing RN! It has been the craziest, most surreal time of my life and I can honestly say that I am so happy with my career choice.

Being a nurse has been the most challenging time in my life. There are days where I feel like I am the worst nurse ever and that everything is going wrong. These days I really struggle with. I’ve learned to turn to my coworkers (who usually are having just as bad of a day) and breathe. We’re constantly reminding one another to take deep breaths and that if there’s anything we can do to help we’re there. This is the most important thing. Working with the team that I do has been a lifesaver. I trust almost all of them and feel like I can go to them for anything. They’ve welcomed me with open arms and have taken me under their wing to help me become the best nurse I can be. I love my North 8 girls more than I ever thought possible.

Being a nurse has been the most rewarding time of my life. The good days definitely make the bad days worth while. When a patient tells me that I’ve made their day or when they ask to have me as their nurse the next day makes me smile. When a patient gives me a big hug on day of discharge I melt. Watching someone progress from extremely sick to stable enough to go home is awe inspiring and knowing you played a part in getting them there is the best feeling. I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything.

My advice for any new nurse (and don’t get me wrong, I’m still very new) is to stick it out. There are days that you’ll hate it, there are days that you’ll love it. Take everything in, ask questions and if you still don’t understand it ask the question again. Try and get as many opportunities to have hands on experiences. Nothing you did in the skills lab at school is how it is in the real world with real people and real feelings and emotions. The first 6 months I’ve learned so much and there is still so much for me to learn. I try and make it a goal to learn something new every day. Know that you’re going to make mistakes. Hopefully there are not life threatening. Use these mistakes as learning experiences. Despite being a nurse you’re a human being first.

These 6 months have been life changing. I can’t wait to see where the next part of the year takes me. I love the floor I work on, I love my coworkers, and I love my career choice. Find something you love and it’ll be the most rewarding job out there.

 

Should I Be a PCA Before an RN? — October 11, 2016

Should I Be a PCA Before an RN?

Hey everyone,

As I’ve mentioned before I was a PCA, patient care associate, at the hospital I ended up getting hired as an RN for a little over a year. I had this job while in nursing school and let me tell you it was the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s tough work being a PCA but it is also so rewarding. Here’s a few reasons why I think you should be a PCA before becoming an RN.

  1. It helps you gain confidence: I am an extremely shy person. I don’t like talking to people I don’t know that much. As a nurse, that’s obviously your main job. You talk to patients, families, doctors..the list goes on and on. By being a PCA before I became an RN I was able to work on developing the confidence that I needed to talk to patients and families. Now I can walk into a patient’s room or talk on the phone with the MD (granted that’s still petrifying) and feel more at ease with it.
  2. You learn basic skills: They teach them in nursing school but for me it was a quick class where they taught you how to change an occupied bed and the importance of using assistive mobility devices. It wasn’t until I was working in a hospital and had to do q2 hour turns, clean up incontinent patients, and walk a post-op patient in the hallway that I really gained the skills that not only PCAs but RNs need as well. Trust me, being an RN doesn’t mean you’re above cleaning up a patient. Everyone works as a team and being more comfortable with these skills that we take for granted is a lifesaver.
  3. Gives you a new appreciation for the PCAs you’re going to be working with: I never realized just how hard PCAs work on a daily basis. Yes, RNs have a lot going on with their 4-5 patient assignment but PCAs have sometimes 10-15 patients. Everyone works as a team. No job is more important, everyone has the same goal..keep the patient safe, comfortable, and help them get better. After being a PCA for a year I’m more than okay taking a set of vitals if I’m going into a patient’s room instead of asking the PCA who has to take vitals on 9 other patients.

So to answer the question should you be a PCA before an RN, I would say absolutely. It’s a different world working in a hospital. Everyone works hard, everyone puts in the time and hours, and everyone is a team. Bottom line..appreciate your PCAs, they’re going to be the ones who have your back when your confused patient is throwing feces around the room.