Nursing school is challenging enough. You jump through every hypothetical hoop and hope to get some real clinical experience before transitioning from the ideal world to the real world. How many of us have heard that time and time again? There is the ideal way of doing things and the real way of doing things. Nursing school teaches you to be exacting and inquisitive. If you make it through, you think you have won the battle only to find that the battle has just begun. The good news is you are in demand and are capable.
Making it through nursing school and passing your boards is a huge feat. Be proud that you made it this far and take confidence in the fact that now you will put all of that theory and information to good use. You are now part of one of the most honorable professions on the planet.
Walk in your first day with the confidence that you belong. Stand tall and hold your head high. Deflect any attempts at dampening your confidence. A dear friend and fellow nurse gave me the best piece of advice when I graduated. “Fake it until you make it.”
Avoid showing up to your unit without an ounce of a clue. Upon hiring, get in touch with the unit’s educator and ask for some of the required reading material to start ahead of orientation. It is challenging orienting to a new unit and adapting to a twelve-hour shift schedule all whilst intensively studying the accompanying material. Read ahead.
Shake off your nerves and take your time with any procedure involving a patient. You have already proven you are competent enough to make it this far. It is easy with time to take short cuts that save time. Avoid this practice. Take your time. Know your medication before giving it. Is it compatible with others? Is this the right drug, right dose, right time, right route, right patient?
After a year or two of working, you will have gained confidence and competence. Remember the moment you started. Imprint it in your mind. Keep the ego in check. You will never stop learning. Just when you think you have learned everything, the practice will evolve. In all actuality as a nurse you remain a student for life. Best of luck in your transition!!
Lori is an American nurse and yogini living in Gothenburg, Sweden. She contributes regularly to Mighty Nurse, AWHONN, American Nurse Today, and has been featured in The Huffington Post. Follow her adventures through Neonurse or on Instagram.