I get to hang out with student nurses and, therefore, first year nurses quite a bit. (It’s one of the joys of my job!)
Those first few days on the floor can be harrowing. What do you wish every first time nurse knew before stepping solo as a medical professional?
I wish all first time nurses knew that they will eventually get past the tasks and the fear that they “might kill someone” due to inexperience. They will get past those things and find the really good stuff. They will learn the tasks to the point of being automatic. Certainly not skipping safety practices, but also not having to devote a large cognitive burden to taking vitals or performing Foley care. Once that happens they will be able to make those personal connections with their patients, really touch their hearts and souls. That’s the good stuff. Patients in the hospital are terribly vulnerable. This vulnerability creates really intimacy between nurse and patient. Getting to know the things that are important to a patient and making those things important to one’s self is the real way that a nurse makes a difference, touches a life. That’s the really good stuff.