“I guess I just thought I was going to get to love on and take care of people all day. Instead, I was just running around like crazy barely getting through the day. I was just chasing down doctors’ orders and giving meds.”
This was the response I got when asking a nurse I’d just met why she was changing jobs so early in her career. She left a trauma step-down unit to move to a day surgery unit and she’d been a nurse for less than a year.
Yep, for new nurses, reality bites. The disconnect between nursing education and nursing practice, the reality shock felt by nurses new to practice, is well-documented. Reality shock is definitely a thing in nursing.
There is a great blog post on Nurse Buff about the “14 Things Veteran Nurses Should Tell New Grads”, you can read it here.
There is some excellent advice in that piece.
I’m a veteran nurse. I would add one thing to that list:
HANG IN THERE, it gets better. It really does. Nursing is certainly not all “loving on patients” all day, but after you get through that initial period, the tasks get easier and the true caring for patients becomes a reality.
In interviewing newly licensed nurses, I’ve found that they are very surprised at how experienced nurses can really hone in on exactly what they need to know about their patients. Once that happens, once nurses understand which of the millions and millions of tidbits of information about their patients are important, they become free to truly practice their art – the art of nursing.
So, if you’re new, HANG IN THERE. It will, I promise, get better.