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Finally gettin’ it (and feeling like a real nurse!)

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There are 95 days left till graduation. 95! It’s so hard to believe I’m in the double-digits of my count down. While there’s the anxiety of studying for the NCLEX, and the fear of not getting the job I want, last week made all the troubles and worries I’ve been feeling disappear.

My preceptor and I were having a great morning. Three little kids, all doing well. I did assessments and even got it all charted on time. It was great. Meds were due, and I gave them all. It was the first time I had felt like I was really getting it. I was able to hold my own, get things done, and still give my kids that little extra love that makes their day (ok, and mine too), even better.

I’ve noticed a trend when I precept. Because I am the “eager to learn” student, and my nurse then has “extra hands” to help, we almost always, ALWAYS get an admission. And while I get where they’re coming from, and appreciate their concern for my learning experience, getting admits isn’t helpful at all.  When I am trying to get used to the flow of the day, having something huge like an admit throws a wrench in it all. And on top of the stress of it, the nurse now has to show me how to do everything.  However you slice the cake, it’s not my favorite part of the day.  BUT, it was inevitable.

On that day, one of our patients got sent home after breakfast, and discharge orders were underway for another. We took on a baby from another nurse who was going home early. So now we have three patients again, one getting ready for home. And before we even got a chance to chart assessments on our new baby, surprise, surprise – discharge orders!   I totally became the queen of discharges! I had the routine down. And I have to add, that in between all of this, I was STILL going strong, staying on top of my day, and getting things done!

While our two other patients were heading home, our new admit was arriving. Assessments – done! Charting – done! We’re waiting for orders, and getting ready to hang some fluids in the mean time. We’re talking to this 9 year old boy and his father, and aside from the expected coughing and difficulty breathing from his bilateral pneumonia, he was talking to us while taking a few bites of his oatmeal.  As I turned to adjust the IV pump, I heard a “ahk” sort of sound, and as I turned, I watched him quickly turn red, then purple, then blue.

I froze. It was one of those moments where you haven’t quite realized that it’s REALLY happening, but at the same time, you’re figuring out what to do. And just as I was about to reach for the code blue button (it was the only thing that seemed appropriate!), he coughed, and threw up, and turned back to normal 9-year old boy color. PHEW! What a relief. He told us later that he was holding his breath because he knew he was going to throw up, and didn’t want to do it on the bed. I don’t think I have ever been that scared since nursing school started! It was a whirl-wind end of the day after that.

I don’t know if it was the fact that my preceptor shared with me how freaked out she was too, and so I felt a little more normal, or that I later found out that what went through my head, went through her head at the same time. But there was some kind of renewing energy in me when I left the hospital that day. I’m usually exhausted, but this was different. I was energized by my day, as crazy as it was. I made it! I had a handle on my work load, I discharged, admitted, assessed, passed meds, and survived an almost-code without losing my cool.

It was the first time I really felt like I could handle nursing. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but it was a milestone I won’t forget, that feeling that told me “you can do this!”   Now there are only 95 days left, and I am counting down, waiting to prove it to myself all over again.

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Ani Burr, RN

I'm a brand new, full-fledged, fresh-out-of-school RN! And better yet, I landed the job of my dreams working with children. I love what I do, and while everyday on the job is a new (and sometimes scary) experience, I'm taking it all in - absorbing everything I can about this amazing profession we all fell in love with.
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