Thursday, October 21, 2010

I AM that nurse!

During my orientation to the ICU a year ago with one year already under my nursing belt, my preceptor, who I like to refer to as my "ICU Mom" today, told me, "In a year or two, you will not recognize yourself. You will be a completely different person." She usually said this to me when I was feeling scared, lacking confidence, or appearing meek and mild.

A year later, and I still feel all of those insecurities during my 12 hour shifts. But each day, I gain confidence and a new, better part of me grows.

Four years ago I started my nursing program. And I still remember that first day of clinicals.

The first time you witness an experienced RN in action, it is truly breathtaking. I distinctively remember watching her in awe; the way she moved about the room like it was second nature. Donning her gloves, drawing up a medication, assessing a patient. She could have been blindfolded and still have done the same tasks so effortlessly. I remember the way she spoke to her patients...she knew what to say and how to say it. She knew what to ask and why. She was fearless. 



I remember thinking, "Wow, someday this will be me..." Before I became a nurse, and even before I decided to pursue nursing, I would watch reality shows like, "Trauma: LIFE IN THE ER," and be completely floored by everything nurses did. They were so confident, cool, and nothing seemed to stump them. And if something did, they found ways around it and never showed if they were unsure. I used to think, I could never do what they do...



The other day while taking care of my two critical care patients, going from room to room, titrating IV medications, drawing labs from central lines, speaking with and comforting patients and families, answering the numerous interrupted phone calls from other departments, traveling with my vented patient,etc., it dawned on me...I AM that nurse. I AM that nurse who I used to look at in awe. I'm certainly no where near all of my amazing coworkers who have been working in nursing and critical care for years, even decades, but looking back, I have come a long way.



 It's funny how it just snuck up on me.

And I've realized something even more important: all nurses have fears and days when they don't feel all that confident. If any nurse told me they didn't, then I'd probably think they were lying.

Honestly, I have a long, long, long way to go  when it comes to the ICU and I don't think my preceptors words truly apply to me quite yet, but I'm getting there. Each day, I'm one step closer.

Can any nurses relate?

12 comments:

nurse XY said...

As I stand on the precipice of graduation, it does my heart good to read things like this. Thank you for posting it!

Not Nurse Ratched said...

I have moments like that too. You describe it really well. I sometimes look around and think "I can't BELIEVE I'm able to do all this," especially when just a few years ago I was foiled by things like changing beds with patients in them. Think where we'll be in 5 years or 10...and let's always be encouraging to the young nurses.

Steve said...

That is a great story! It is so rewarding when you can look back and see how much you have grown and how much better you have become at your trade. It sounds like you are doing a great job, keep up the good work! Check out my blog at http://clearnursingmatters.com/. It is just a fun blog for nurses. Keep up the good work! :)

kayevs said...

I just started orienting in the ICU and even though I have three years of nursing under my belt (2 med-surg, 1 cardiac tele) I still have those "new unit, new information" fears. I look at the nurses in the ICU and think...will I ever be like that? Fortunately I know I will because I've done it two times before. But you never forget your feelings of not knowing at first...because people's LIVES depend on you! Thankfully there are always other nurses around to support you. I love reading your blog, especially when you talk about the ICU...it helps me picture myself doing what you do with confidence.

Sean said...

There isn't a (good) nurse out there that doesn't understand EXACTLY what you realized.
I'm grinning from ear to ear. It's moments like these that remind me how awesome our profession is.

tropicaleats.com said...

i give you major props for what you do! it takes an amazing and dedicated person to be a nurse. Loved this post and your story!

Susan said...

Ahhh this post has perfect timing! I finished up classroom orientation last week, and I start my first day of orientation with a preceptor tomorrow morning. I'm ungodly nervous...which is funny because I was finally becoming confident in myself as a med-surg nurse at my old job, and I'm soooooo scared to be "new" again! I'm terrified that I'm not going to know what to do or someone is going to code and I'll have no clue what's going on. I mostly fear patients and family members asking questions and not knowing what the answer is to even simple questions.

But hopefully that will change over time, and for now, thank goodness for being with a preceptor.

Joslyn said...

Congrats on such a great accomplishment. That's a wonderful feeling to be able to have an "aha" moment like that!

Jayni said...

Wow - so awesome. You ARE that nurse. I am in awe! I know it must be really hard sometimes - thanks for all you do. :)

babycakes said...

I can TOTALLY relate. And now I'm about to graduate (in May) with my FNP and it's happening all over again. Being a nurse practitioner is quite different than being a nurse, and as a new NP I'm completely terrified of not knowing what to do. But just like with nursing, I'm sure I'll be "that NP" one day in the future. So exciting!

frizzybaker said...

I love your blog and I love this post. It's honest and refreshing. I have been in an ICU (Surgical-trauma and now Surgical-cardiothoraic) for 2-years and I STILL find myself lost some days. There is always something new to learn. I also submitted an application for CRNA school (yay for a versital profession right?). Good luck getting in and have fun working!

april said...

I'm still learning and can see it coming along FINALLY! I've been working now 3 months and am slowly becoming more and more efficient.. only thing I am TERRIFIED of is an emergency because I'm the only nurse working, and I'm afraid of doing something wrong or not in time!