by Siobhan Tellez
I am currently working as a nurse in general care pediatrics at Mott Children’s Hospital, a division of the University of Michigan Health System.
I started my RN job in November 2013 and now that I am approaching a year at my job, it is incredible to look back and appreciate all the things I have learned since nursing school. Professors, mentors, and peers always talked about the importance of time management. However, I have to admit that while I understood the basics of prioritizing and being efficient, I did not fully comprehend the significance until I had three or four patients on my own, and I was the one responsible for getting them through the day.
One of the biggest lessons I learned is to take every day during orientation one step at a time. When I graduated nursing school and passed the NCLEX, I felt very confident that my Boston College education would serve me well. It did, but not in the way I was anticipating. During those first few weeks of orientation, I felt as if I was learning everything for the first time. My brain was in overdrive during every shift, and I would come home completely exhausted. I got very anxious and nervous that I was “behind the curve” since everything felt so new. Yet my education in nursing school helped me piece together what I was learning and master the basic nursing skills. Now as I go through my day, I am able to stop focusing on the little tasks that once made me nervous and really put those critical thinking skills to good use.
I want you all to know that feeling nervous, anxious, and stressed is normal during those first few weeks at your first job, where even the “easy” tasks will feel hard or confusing because everything is so new. These feelings WILL pass with more experience and it is so rewarding when you suddenly realize you have been at your job for a few months and you finally know what you are doing! Nursing is a constantly changing profession and requires lifelong learning so do not be afraid to ask questions or ask for help.