Guess what? You’ll never know everything
“I just want to know, when will I know it all?”
This is something I asked as a Graduate Nurse while on orientation for my first nursing job. My then preceptor laughed, smiled and smirked saying, “You will never know everything. There is always something new to learn, something new to experience.”
It’s years later, and yep, she was SO right. Every time I think ‘I got it’, and I’m the master of my own ship -KABLAM. Something comes out of left field that I’ve never seen, heard of, think of, or even fathom will cross my path. Whether it’s a new nursing diagnosis, a new medical diagnosis, new procedure, new lab test, new patient presentation, etc (This list is quite endless), it makes me do the ‘HUH?!’ facial expression.
You KNOW the face I’m talking about. That face you made, and the reaction your mind had the very first time you were introduced to ‘Fluids and Electrolytes’. I like to call it the ‘Deer In Headlights’ look. (Need I say more?) (And don’t tell me I’m the only one who was scared)
Well I’ve learned over time that we are in this state of – “HUH?!’ continually! The only difference between being a new nurse and being a seasoned nurse is the new nurse is shocked and scared by it. The seasoned nurse has accepted this reaction and knows how to engage, adapt and monopolize on the newly introduced information.
Every experience is a chance to learn. So regardless if it is a good or bad experience – learning something new is always good. So to me – EVERY experience is a good experience.
The next time you get something new thrown in your face, don’t panic. Try and remember that it’s a normal and expected highlight of being a nurse. This discovery and adventure is something that will be with you your entire career. Get used it. It’s not going anywhere.
Sean Dent is a second-degree nurse who has worked in telemetry, orthopedics, surgical services, oncology and at times as a travel nurse. He is a CCRN certified critical care nurse where he's worked in cardiac, surgical as well as trauma intensive care nursing.
After five years practicing as an RN, Sean pursued and attained his Masters of Science in Nursing. Sean currently practices as a Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP-BC) in a Shock Trauma urban teaching hospital.
He has been in healthcare for almost 20 years. He originally received a bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sport Science where he worked as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC).
By Sean Dent