I’m a year out of nursing school. Dang. I honestly still swear I only made it by the good graces of a few of my professors (pretty sure I should have never passed A&P freshman year). I think this has been the wildest year of my life so far- I’ve had to deal with not getting my dream job, leaving my friends in SoCal, and saying some hard and necessary words. But I’ve made it. I’d like to dedicate this post to all my nursing people who are either new grads or getting ready for their last year of school.
1.Pat yourself on the back for how far you’ve come. Remember how you used to get sick the night before clinicals? Now you can walk into a patient’s room and introduce yourself without shaking. You can also probably do some pretty cool nursey stuff. And care plans? No problem! Stay humble though. Learning is a lifelong process, and the first day on the job, you’re going to feel like your baby nurse self all over again. Just smile and ask lots of questions. You’ll be fine.
2. Don’t do what everyone else tells you to do. Your professors/classmates/parents may seem like they’ve got it all figured out and think you should do exactly what they did, but here’s the thing: only you know you. Crazy, right? If you hate med-surg, don’t do it. If you hate psych, don’t do it. You probably have a pretty good feel for what you like and dislike. Utilize that as you look for jobs. Don’t take the first thing you’re offered because you’re scared nothing better will come along. It will.
3. Conversely,it’s ok not to totally love your job. I feel like nurses like to talk about how we’re “called” to nursing (which is true), but you don’t have to feel like freaking Florence Nightingale every single day on the job. Flo must have disliked parts of her job too.
4. Stick up for yourself. Know your limits. It is ok to say no to an extra shift. It’s also ok to walk away from something that isn’t right for you. Self-care, people. It’s important. You can advocate for your patients all you want, but if you can’t advocate for yourself, you’re going to end up burnt out.
4. Don’t be afraid to be different. I seriously thought something was wrong with me for a long time because of how much I disliked traditional nursing jobs. I loved my ED preceptorship, but as my preceptor said, “the emergency department is community health in a hospital setting”. I discovered that I am absolutely passionate about community health! I love interacting in the community and building relationships with my patients. Community health lets me be a holistic nurse; bedside nursing never afforded me the time to do that. A new grad residency in a big-name hospital on a med-surg floor may look really good on a resume, and it could be what you love. But if you hate it, leave. The beauty of nursing is that there is a role for everyone: if you hate something, there is always another job to try!
5. Buy good shoes. Those $20 white leather tennis shoes you bought for clinical aren’t going to cut it anymore. Use your first adult paycheck to buy some hideously ugly, terribly comfortable clogs. Your feet and back will thank you.
Alright lovelies. That’s all the wisdom I have to dispense for tonight. Now go do some self care!
PS: My favorite act of self care recently has been doing the twist like Mrs. Mia Wallace. It’s a lot of fun. But don’t do drugs, kids.