I’ve admitted here that I’ve felt rather apathetic about the whole work thing for most of the time I’ve been at this job. I never felt that I really DISliked what I’m doing, but I can’t say that I was particularly enjoying it, either. To be honest, I think this is a perfectly normal reaction to starting that first nursing job. It’s such a big adjustment and it feels overwhelming and scary and downright frustrating. Funny, I bet that’s how a lot of new parents feel!
I got to work yesterday morning, checked the assignment sheet, and not only did I not have a preceptor, but I had four (count ’em, FOUR) couplets on my own. Strangely enough it didn’t freak me out like I thought it would, I just shrugged and went to get report. We did have students on the floor and three of my patients had students, which was a huge help. This group of students also happened to be great, they would consult with me on things, ask questions, volunteer to help, etc. My one patient who didn’t have a student was a first-time mom who had just given birth the night before. The day was crazy. Absolutely nuts. I don’t think I stopped for a break until the afternoon. And I loved it. Absolutely loved it.
One of my couplets really made me light up. This was the first-time mom without the student. I was able to spend a lot of good quality time with her, her husband, and baby. I don’t know what it was, but our personalities clicked from the moment I walked in the room and we got along famously. When I left at the end of the evening they asked if I would be back today and if I could be their nurse again. The icing on the cake? Another of my patients also asked if I could be her nurse the next day. I will unabashedly note that I casually said to my boss, “Two of my patients requested me for tomorrow, who should I tell to make sure that happens?” Yup, I’m gloating, I’ll admit it. I’m new, I’m green, and I ask dumb questions, but dammit I’m a good nurse. Oh, and the ganache on the icing (this is a very decadent cake I’m building here)… as I was leaving yesterday and giving report to the nurse who was taking over my assignment she asked where I had come from. “Um, Mutual Fund Company X,” I said. “This is my first nursing job.” “Really?” she replied. “I thought you were a seasoned nurse, you don’t act like a new nurse!” Yup, it’s a miracle I made it out the door without getting my head stuck in the doorway.
Anyway, today was more of the same. There’s nothing like being greeted with, “I’m so glad you’re back!” when you walk into a patient’s room. It’s a high that cannot be matched, I swear. But it’s not just a high from feeling liked. It’s a high from knowing that I’ve done something to make someone else’s life better. One of my patients said to me, “I felt like you really listened to me.” And you know what? That’s what matters. I could be the most knowledgeable person on the face of the earth, but if I just stand there and lecture at my patients, forget it.
These past two days really helped to remind me why I went into this in the first place. It felt so good to wake up this morning excited to go to work. It felt good to feel sad that I wouldn’t be there tomorrow to discharge my patients. It felt good to feel like, even in the midst of this learning curve, I can still be a good nurse without knowing everything there is to know. I have learned this lesson before, but I so sorely needed the refresher course. So to my patients from today, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You made more of an impact than you will ever know.