Being a nurse has been everything I expected, and then so much more.Â More in a good way and more in a bad way.
It’s been so much more in a good way because I love it more than I thought I could. I love the kids, I love my coworkers. Even the things that I once thought were so overbearingly scary (uh…like meds!) are totally just part of the job and becoming second nature. I love dealing with the patients and their families (even the challenging ones!) and I love how I really feel like I’ve found where I belong.
But there is the other part, the “not-so-good” part — and I know this will change in time.Â Nursing is so much more than I expected because it’s so much more responsibility than I could have ever imagined. I don’t think I really understood how many hats we wear as nurses.Â We didn’t really talk about care coordination until our final year, but even then it was in terms of the case managers role… not the floor nurses.Â And while we have some fabulous case managers, we’re still a big component of our patient’s care coordination.
I wasn’t prepared for this! Knowing who to call when and why; understanding how insurance companies work and how we can help our patient’s get what they need for their treatments at home? This was stuff that we had in school, yes, but that was only in theory. We never had on the job training with calling doctors and coordinating with social workers and therapists. We didn’t have to deal with DCFS and then call the SW back to make sure our patients were safely being discharged to the right person.
I know it comes with time, and experience, and that one day I will look back and this and laugh because that, too, will become just another part of the job.Â But still – I wasn’t expecting this. This is the part we really can’t prep for in school, and you can’t get it fully until you’re there, with your patient, on your own and dealing with it, I suppose, in the best way you can.
I just want to know – how long before I don’t stress about it so much!? And what, for you, was “not what you expected” when you first became a nurse?!