Saturday, October 19, 2013

Here In The Real World

Reality Shock is what happens when new graduate nurses enter professional practice for the first time and realize that it has absolutely nothing to do with what they learned in school.  I remember it well, even though I've been out of school a long (long, long) time.  I remember my preceptor, Cindy, standing next to me and telling me that I'd better hurry and put the blood I'd just drawn from a heparin lock (that's how long ago it was, we had heparin locks) into the tube before it clotted.  I must have looked like an idiot because I was thinking:  what tube?  how do I get it in there?  what happens if it clots?  you can draw blood from a heparin lock? WHY DIDN'T THEY TEACH US THIS STUFF IN SCHOOL???  I had no idea what I was doing and I was experiencing a serious case of Reality Shock. 

I also remember the first day things came together for me.  The six to eight months in between these two days are mostly a blur with tiny little vivid moments of terror. 

Awhile ago I watched a new nurse trying so hard to do assessments the way he learned in school, the long way, while his preceptor explained that doing them that way won't work if he ever wants to finish.  And he may not have cared at that moment if he ever actually finished, but she's been a nurse for awhile and she definitely wants to get done.

It's not the new nurses fault, it's nobody's fault, it's just the way it is.  The problem is that it's virtually impossible in nursing school to actually explain how it's going to be after nursing school.  Nurse educators have to teach things the way they would be in a perfect world.  Unfortunately, as nurses, we work in the real world. 

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