Category Archives: General Nursing Blather

Orientation (AKA: Baptism By Fire)

I love being a new nurse.  I am still fresh, and learning – and I do love to learn. I think that is one of the best things about my career… you can never top out on your knowledge.

Since I am a new grad, I am starting out one on one with a preceptor on my unit.  It’s her job to train me up in the way I should go. 🙂 Give me all the inside scoops as to how to roll on the floor and keep my head above water.  When you are orienting, you usually start out slow and gain more and more responsibilities as time goes on.  Well, on my unit times are hard right now – and we find ourselves frequently understaffed in the evenings by no fault of our own.  They have hired several newbies like me to help pick up the slack eventually, but the hiring process takes awhile – not to mention the training process! As a result, my orientation has started out on the crazy side.  The good news is I am the kind of girl who can roll with the punches.  It’s ok with me that things don’t always go as planned.  And you know what? That is kind of how nursing rolls.  Even the lowest patient census can provide you a crazy night – and you just have to be able to adapt and get on with it. Get the work done.  I am learning on my feet and I am ok with that. 🙂

It’s amazing to me as a new nurse just how much I don’t know.  You think you are really smart coming out of nursing school (hell, I was valedictorian!) but real life nursing creates entirely new sets of challenges and skills that I have never faced before.  Last week I was finally able to get my hands on a central line to draw labs. Guess how many times in nursing school I was able to play with central lines? Zero. Guess how many times I was allowed to draw blood? Zero.  Real world experience is where the real learning and teaching takes place for floor nursing and it’s been a blast for me to get up in it and meet the challenges head on.

I am really blessed with a great, patient, and funny preceptor who stands by me and points me in the right direction.  That’s important.

The great news is that even on these crazy nights where I don’t get to sit down and my lunch consists of cheetos and a Dr. Pepper because the Cafeteria closes at 3am — I still love it.  There is no doubt in my mind that this is where I belong.  I really love nursing. I really love pediatrics.

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First week on the job.

I’ll be honest – this week when I walked into the hospital for the first time as an RN, I was terrified. It’s one of those things that doesn’t quite feel real, no matter how many times you repeat it over and over to yourself.  I have been in the hospital so many times in the role of the Student… and now I’m the Nurse. I have officially bridged the gap.

I had a great first night, though.  My fears were unfounded!  But, the first night on the job came with a few harsh realities:

1) I have a lot left to learn.  As a new nurse, I know a lot of theory and not a lot of real world FACT.  🙂 But it also became quickly apparent that I’ll get there. The more I work, the more comfortable I will be with my job.

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2) Nursing = lots of paperwork.  I think that might be one of the most daunting aspects of the job. Everything has a form, a place to be documented, a line to sign.  It’s amazing to watch these nurses that have worked on the floor for years effortlessly fly thru it all.

At the end of my first shift though, one more thing became blazingly apparent:

I really love nursing. I really love pediatrics.  I’m so blessed to have gotten in to this role, in this hospital… to learn and grow from awesome pediatric nurses.

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Child Life – An Important Part of Pediatric Care

Chances are, if you’ve never spent any time inside a Children’s Hospital, you have no idea what Child Life is or what they do.  When I started my pediatric clinical, I was immediately intrigued by Child life and their work.  These people work with the pediatric population to help them deal with the stress of being in the hospital.  Children aren’t wired like adults (and sometimes I think we tend to treat them like tiny adults – and they aren’t!) and they can’t handle the stress of being sick or hospitalized the same way adults can.  These wonderful people work with children and help them cope with their situations in a healthy way.  I will never forget working through my preceptorship – and seeing the evidence of the Child Life Specialists all around me.  As a nurse on the night shift, I never got to see them one on one, but their impression lingered in the patient rooms.  Children with absent parents had snuggly toys and cozy blankets and notes of love drawn on their white boards.  Fussy babies were left with sweet musical night lights.  Nervous children had pictures hung in their rooms that they had drawn earlier in the day – proof that they had spent some time talking it out with the Child Life Specialists.

These special people use play to create and foster a less stressful environment that facilitates healing in the pediatric population!

From the Child Life Council’s website, this is their definition of a Child Life Specialist:

What is a Child Life Specialist?

Child life specialists are trained professionals with expertise in helping children and their families overcome life’s most challenging events.

Armed with a strong background in child development and family systems, child life specialists promote effective coping through play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities. They provide emotional support for families, and encourage optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to healthcare and hospitalization. Because they understand that a child’s wellbeing depends on the support of the family, child life specialists provide information, support and guidance to parents, siblings, and other family members. They also play a vital role in educating caregivers, administrators, and the general public about the needs of children under stress.

Child Life plays a vital role in any Children’s Hospital!

For more information on Child Life, visit The Child Life Council.

 

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Why do pediatric nurses need to like kids?

This was actually a search term that someone typed in to land on my blog.  I think if you have to ask the question, this field is probably not the right one for you.

The one thing pediatric nursing has the most of? Kids. Lots and lots of kids.

🙂

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Just call me… PEDIATRIC Nurse

If you read my blog from start to finish, you will notice one consistent theme. Pediatrics.  When I started on this journey, pediatrics was so far off my radar it’s not even funny.  If you talk to my classmates, many of them remember how much I dreaded my pediatric rotation.  But then I stepped foot into the children’s hospital for my very first pediatric clinical…. and that was that. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I was bitten with the bug.  When you are in school, you hear a lot about finding your “calling” – and you don’t really believe it until it happens to you.  🙂 After my pediatric rotation, I knew that it was what I wanted to do.

So I made it a goal.

Pediatrics was my second semester of nursing school.  I did a lot of rotations and worked on a lot of different units.  Nothing ever held a candle to pediatric nursing.

When the time came to make a decision about where I wanted to do my precepting, I didn’t hesitate.  Peds.  I wanted to work in peds.  I was told that they school I attended didn’t often get many pediatric slots, but I was in line for one if it became available.  I think around this time is where God really started to intervene in a powerful way. Things happened that I thought were mistakes, but in reality it was God paving the way for the career that I was called to do.  I ended up precepting 12 hours nights with a wonderful nurse at the Children’s Hospital.

And I loved it.

I had some amazing experiences, and while I did a lot of watching and learning – I learned a LOT.  It was the best time I have ever had WORKING.  That’s a great feeling, when you don’t dread coming in to work. 🙂

The bad thing about having such an amazing precepting experience though, is that it spoils you.  I couldn’t imagine going back to work with adults on the general med/surg floors.  It just wasn’t a possibility. But I had heard all the horror stories…. new grads don’t get hired into specialties.  New grads don’t get hired straight to units, they have to get in thru residency programs.  But again, God paved the way!

Long story short, I accepted my “official” job offer tonite. I will be working in that same awesome hospital.   I am blessed and humbled.

I am a pediatric nurse.

Awesome.

 

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Just Call Me RN!

What a great feeling today, to be able to drop the … Eventually from my blog name. 😀 I am a NURSE!

I took my NCLEX exam last week, on January 12.

What a nerve wracking experience, and I’ll be honest – it’s nothing that I would want to repeat.  I am so glad and thankful that I passed that bad boy on my first try!

This blog will now become less about what life is like as a nursing STUDENT, and more about what life is like as a NEW GRADUATE NURSE! 🙂

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Impostor Syndrome

One of these things is not like the other….

Last week in class, when we were going over what the next few months had in store for us, my instructor brought up a very good point.

We are all impostors.

Or at least, we feel like we are. I had no idea, but Impostor Syndrome is a very real thing… and there are people living it every day. Walking through life feeling like they do not belong there, that at any minute someone is going to figure them out for the fake that they are. They feel as if they have tricked the world into believing they are smart, and competent, and good at what they do – when the reality is they lack a whole lot of self confidence!

I can’t imagine that there are many senior nursing students that do NOT feel this way. If you are one of those people who are just naturally awesome and able to conquer the world, then rock on. I am not one of those people. I spend a lot of time freaking out that I have somehow managed to pass all the tests by some sort of fluke of nature, and I’ve managed to just slide through clinical without someone figuring out that I am a complete and total fraud. Eventually someone will wise up when I ask the wrong question, or do the wrong thing… and they will kick me out.

How in the hell have I made it to the end of this?!

The really scary realization is that I am going to be expected to get a JOB and WORK?! AS A NURSE?! How is that supposed to happen? Will I miraculously have all the knowledge I need in the next three months?

Rationally, I know that I have worked hard and that is how I have gotten to where I am. I do take comfort in my instructors reassuring me that we are BEGINNERS. We are NOVICE nurses. We will not be expected to go out and save the world. So why do we expect that out of ourselves?

So take comfort, fellow Nursing Impostors. We will be ok. We are where we are supposed to be. We have made it this far not by luck or chance or happenstance, but because we have worked our asses off for it. We are going to be nurses, and damned good ones at that – because that is what we have been called to do. We will ask stupid questions and we will do the wrong thing, but such is life on a perpetual learning curve. I have that much figured out already. No one can truly be an expert in the field of nursing, because medicine and technology are evolving faster than we can perfect our skills.

Maybe one day I will wake up and I will no longer be an Impostor. Until then, I will continue to “fake it ’til I make it” and trust in those people who have mentored me along the way. I have some great teachers and mentors paving the way for me… and they believe in me, even if most days I don’t believe in myself. Yet. 🙂

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