My first day as a nurse (that was 20 years ago) started at a 75 bed hospital at which I had rotated as a student.
The manager started me on day shift, telemetry floor. I was supposed to have a preceptor but for one reason or another she called in sick.
The charge nurse told me that I would do ok and I was given 10 patients, full bedside care, baths, meals, and meds. I had a CNA to help me, a young man named Mario.
Right away, Mario looked at me and laughed as he said, “You are scared.” If he does his job as well as he reads faces, I was going to be ok.
My brain went into quick thinking on how to accomplish all this work in 12 hours. Mario gave me reassurance how to manage my time and his.
He explained the daily routine, that he helped 7 patients to get baths and make the beds and if he found something that I needed to know, he would call me.
In the meantime, I was to quickly start with the assessments and vital signs, plus set up my meds!
My charge nurse went by the name of Flo, she was about 300 lbs and sat in a chair at the nurses desk. She took all the doctor’s orders and relayed them to me and the other workers. By noon I saw her coming down the hallway and she politely asked how I was doing. I discussed my frustration, but overall I was doing ok with Mario’s help.
She patted my upper back and said “You’re going to be an excellent nurse.” That really brought my hopes up!
All the morning meds were passed with the assistance of a drug book by my side. Sure, it slowed me down some, but I kept my head up and was still smiling deep into the day.
A helping hand
Mario told me that he would finish all the baths and not to worry about it, so I can gather the information for my end of shift report.
This young man showed me how to “be a nurse” on my first day and I felt like I owed Mario something. I offered him a coke at the end of my shift, but he declined, telling me he was in a hurry to get home and see his little girl.
I told him thanks for everything as he was running out the door. I will never forget Mario.