Tag Archives: new grad

Baby Nurse, Reporting for Duty.

So, NO…I’m not a “baby nurse” in the sense that I take care of babies. Peds is certainly not my thing. But, I am a “baby nurse” in the sense that I just survived my third week off of orientation!

I wish I could say no one has died since I’ve been on my own, but that would be a lie. Although, they didn’t die because of something I did/didn’t do, so hooray for that! I have experienced many firsts in these three short weeks of flying solo. They’ve gone something like this…

Week 1:

Remember, my unit cares for all 3 levels of care floor/tele, progressive, and ICU. Well, I got assigned to the ICU! *YASSSS :D* I was pretty pumped about that. I had a great pair, too. I transported my first intubated pt alone (with the RT of course). But, unfortunately my week ended in sadness. Can’t avoid death forever, right? It’s a special privilege to care for someone in their last hours of life. Many good things learned in week 1.

Week 2:

Still in ICU. *YASSSS :D* I’m loving it. Again, super easy pair. This enabled me to help with all of the excitement going on with other pts! The best part about week 2 was realizing where I stand with my fellow RNs. While their pts were crapping out, they were calling on me to help. ME! (They’re crazy, right?!) And they appear to trust my skill and knowledge (VERY BASIC TO SAY THE LEAST) enough to ask my opinion, set-up their drips, and babysit their orientees. Yeah, you read that right. That’s a whole ‘nother can of worms. Anywho, figuring out that you are earning your way into the gang is the best feeling ever. I love my co-workers and my unit!

Week 3:

Progressive care. Ok, not bad. 3 pts. I can do this. Worst part about this week was following the same nurse all three nights. She left me in a shitty mess every night. Empty IV bags, wrong fluids hanging, drips still running that were cancelled hours and hours ago, labs not drawn, etc. UGH. I know I’m new, but I hate that shit just as much as everyone else. I’m that nurse who goes in and hangs all new bags and changes all old lines, checks/cleans up all orders, cleans up the pt’s rooms, turns/fluffs/stuffs/pain medicates, and makes sure all dressings have been changed at shift change. Isn’t that what you do for your fellow nurse? Maybe that’s just the newbie in me?

This week, I also experienced my first “something is wrong, but I don’t know what” nursey moment. I wish I could tell the story, but I’m always afraid in some shape, form, or fashion I’ll violate HIPAA. Being a new nurse is so hard! My fabulous co-workers were very supportive, both during the incident and after. Of course, I was feeling guilty. Like I didn’t do enough. And now, I’m realizing the limitations of being “green”. My co-workers saw my defeat and really picked me up. It felt good to be told, “See! You were right! You’re a good little nurse, you did what you could. You tried so hard, I know you did.” Seriously, they’re the greatest. 😀 Thankfully, this wasn’t a life or death issue, but there was a life-altering outcome. *Sigh* Have any of you had an experience like this yet? How did you deal?

Exciting stuff right?! 😛 Now that I’m settling into a routine, I feel like things are going really great. The sense of doom that once surrounded my nurse duties has morphed into an attitude of “deal with it!”. I no longer feel like I can’t do this. I can do this, and I might even be decent at it!

Until next time,

-Rach

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Filed under Life after Nursing School.

RN Orientation. Week 5:

Hot damn.

Learning how to be nurse on paper? Check. I even got a diploma for that!

Learning how to be a nurse in the clinical setting? Holy shitballs, batman. I have no idea what I’m doing!

Now, I’m probably exaggerating. Ok, I’m really exaggerating. Sorta. 😛 I would consider myself relatively well prepared for new graduate nursing practice. I studied really hard in school, actively participated in nursing-related student groups, made the most of every clinical experience, completed a summer externship program, and worked as a nursing care tech. Basically, I did every single thing I could think of that would put me at the advantage in clinical practice post-graduation.

Best decisions I’ve ever made! I’m heading into week 5 of orientation this week. Most of the first weeks consisted of classroom learning and not actual floor nursing. Snooze! I’m good at learning, I’m very novice at bedside practice. I want more time at the bedside! With the start of this week, the classroom time is phasing out and my time at the bedside will be in full swing. I have 11 weeks of orientation left, so the sooner I can get into full-time bedside practice, the better. I thought I was ready, and my coworkers tell me I’m doing great, but I feel like a crazy person running around the unit when I’m working. I’m having an almost constant freakout session in my mind. Orienting to the ICU has been the most overwhelming. The majority of my experience is progressive level, so working in my progressive/acute unit hasn’t been a huge adjustment. Thank you, sweet baby Jesus. My poor nerves couldn’t take much more! The ICU is where I want and love to be, so I’m glad I’m getting to spend the time there that I am.

Everything might not seem so overwhelming…if I still wasn’t trying to digest the fact that I am a real-life RN. No one needs to double check every. single. thing. that I do. The MD can give me a verbal order and I can act accordingly. I can accept a critical value from the lab. I can perform skills and care for my patient without direct supervision. I can cosign drips, titrate drips, and waste controlled substances. I am a nurse. WHAAA?!! It’s so nice to have that independence, yet so hard to let go of that safety net. Is anyone else struggling with this?! I’m really starting to think maybe I’m just neurotic.

Me. All day. Erryday.

On top of everything else, I have online learning modules from the AACN (American Association of Critical-Care Nurses) to complete. These modules assist the new grad with orientation to concepts encountered in critical care nursing. While the idea seems grand, and in an ideal world they would be grand, they are KILLING me. They take hours and hours and hours to complete (Type A perfectionist…must. make. A. on. exam.) and take up almost every single moment of free time I have right now. Not only that, if I don’t complete them, or can’t pass the module, I can lose my job. Awesome. *thumbs up* I thought I was finished with school. Wrong! Sorry, hubs. (Who, by the way, is heartbroken that I have to spend so much time “working”.)

In other news…my next post (hopefully going up very soon!) will be a slight variation from my usual posts. So stay tuned, I think you guys will really like it! I’m always searching for new topics to blog about, so contact me with what you’ve got! My rambling really can’t be that interesting. I think I have turned into a crazy person!

-Rach

Join the conversation by posting a comment. If you like this post, or any of my other posts, feel free to pass it along. Choose your preferred platform by clicking on the title of the post, then clicking one of those fancy buttons at the bottom of the post! :)

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March 17, 2014 · 7:16 pm

RN Orientation. Week 1:

Yeahhh, son!

I finally accepted a RN position.

Is it what I wanted?

NO.

You can’t win them all.

After getting over the disappointment of not landing my dream job and being forced into a position I didn’t even apply for, I have made up my mind to be happy. Why? Because I have to live with me. Being a new nurse is terrifying. I don’t want to be miserable and terrified. In the position that I accepted, I will have the opportunity to care for ICU, progressive, and acute care patients from all different service lines and specialties throughout the teaching hospital. The unit also cares for floor declines/crashes, ED (admitted) overflow, direct admits, etc.

If you recall, I have worked in this particular hospital for the last 2 years as a pool nursing care tech. Being in the pool allowed me to work in every single unit throughout the entire hospital. Which means, I’ve teched many times in the unit I will be working in as a RN. It also means that I am well aware of the reputation and atmosphere of every unit in the joint. The unit I was forced into has one of the worst reputations in the place. I’ve seen both sides of the coin, and I do believe (in some instances) that this reputation is unfair. The set up of this unit is a hard concept to understand, unless you’ve experienced it. The goal for an acute/progressive pt stay is <30 hrs. For an ICU pt it’s <60. That means on most days, the unit turns over at least half, if not more, of their occupied beds. This creates a hectic environment and the units receiving our patients are never happy. Labs weren’t drawn, orders left uncompleted, no/bad IVs, poor communication, the complaints go on and on. However, I have witnessed the instances where this reputation is fair. I have seen lazy nurses choose to send their patients out like a hot mess with uncompleted orders, dirty briefs/beds, and bad/no IVs. But…there are lazy nurses everywhere. And I refuse to be one of them. Therefore, I have made up my mind to be happy. Maybe I’m the change they need? Or maybe, I’ll just do my 6 months and transfer. Who knows?! Either way, I’m happy.

Orientation started yesterday. I have already been through this junk once, but they are paying me 2x as much this go around. I did get out of a second hospital orientation, which is why you’re getting this blog post. *thumbs up* I am so anxious to get to the floor and start working. It feels like it has been too long. My nursing skills are going to be rusty!

Anyone else starting a new job? Even better… Is anyone starting a job they didn’t exactly want? Or have experiences to share from a nursing job they didn’t really want? I want to hear from you!

Join the conversation by posting a comment. If you like this post, or any of my other posts, feel free to pass it along. Choose your preferred platform by clicking on the title of the post, then clicking one of those fancy buttons at the bottom of the post! :)

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Filed under Life after Nursing School.