I finally get it

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You know what a brain-click is, right? It’s not a scientific term. Rather, it’s when a philosophy or practice makes so much sense personally that it becomes ingrained into how I function. It’s like I suddenly get it.

Take my nursing experience thus far: sometimes things “click” when I am caring for a patient and I realize the way I “nurse” will never be the same. I’m changed–usually for the better.

Look, I’m still a pretty new nurse and by my own admission have a ways to go to feel seasoned. In fact, I just celebrated my 3 year anniversary. But I do have enough experience under my belt to realize how much I’ve changed. I credit the Clicks.

So happy anniversary to me! Here are my top new-nurse Clicks:

Click #1: Eyeball and earball: this nurse checks, rechecks and yes, checks again. In addition to the “5 Rights,” I am repeatedly reconciling everything in, around, and on my patient. To the untrained eye, I probably look severely OCD. Yet before I walk out of the room, I eyeball and earball (as a more experienced nurse once called it). In other words, I look at everything happening in the room and listen to my patient one last time before exiting the room. I ask myself, “What is wrong with this picture?” It never fails me and I credit being a safe nurse to this click.

Click #2: Teamwork is great but it isn’t always easy. I’ve had to work hard at this–learning to work within a team on a unit comprised of all kinds of different personalities. It takes effort, time and patience to contribute to a team, yet the payoff can be amazing.

Click #3: Yes is a good thing. I taught myself all about boundaries in year one, then learned something else: It is okay to say yes! To extra shifts (think extra money!), hanging out with co-workers from time to time, and even being on the occasional council or project. These things actually benefit me. So while I still utilize “No,” I sprinkle my nursing with the affirmitive.

Click #4: I must make a care plan for myself. No one else is going to take care of me. That whole thing about exercising, de-stressing, sleeping and eating right? I’m responsible for it. I’m the first to admit I find it more challenging as a nurse to get and stay healthy. Yet I need well-being not just for my job: I have a life outside the hospital that needs me as well!

Click #5: This nurse takes a real break occasionally. After a recent one week vacation (and I didn’t go anywhere terribly exciting) I feel better able to cope with job stress and life stress–and less like ripping people’s head’s off. I know people take pride in never using their PTO hours, but really, are nurses machines? I think we need to make time AWAY from the hospital to rest.

Click #6: Part time is sublime. Really. In my 1st year, a co-worker said, “Dropping a shift a week is life changing.” I now believe her. Recently I went part time on the floor and I am a new woman. Because I work nights, three or more shifts a week had me completely turned around and I was in rough shape on my days off. My personal life took a beating. Then I went part time, found another way to make $ during daylight hours, and voila, I feel human again!

Click #7: And lastly, I can always get out. More determined than ever, I have vowed that nursing is a choice. Every time I get down on my job, my coworkers, or my patients, I step back and remind myself that I chose this profession. That puts a stop on my running screaming from the unit on crazy nights. I’m not stuck being a nurse. There is always a way out. Right now I still love it and choose to work it!

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