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?