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Starting out as a Grad Nurse

Welcome back everyone! I hope you’ve had a nice couple of weeks since the first blog entry. For the Grad Nurses it has certainly been busy. All of us got together earlier this month for a study day (finishing Uni doesn’t mean we have finished learning!) and that gave us a great opportunity to catch up on the good, the bad, and the ugly of our first weeks as registered nurses.

Fortunately, many of the stories fall into that first category; the good. So many of the graduates have mentioned the amount of support provided during shifts (and even on days off), which has been overwhelming. I expected to get through our first week of orientation and then be thrown into the deep end all by myself. However, I’m relieved to inform you all that this could not be farther from the truth. Admittedly, it may feel like we’ve been thrown into a sink or swim situation, but with a gaggle of educators, nurse unit managers, senior nursing staff and even the 2012 graduates looking out for us, I’m happy to announce that each and every one of this year’s grads has found their feet (or sea legs?). The senior staff seem almost psychic, as whenever I feel that ‘lost look’ appearing on my face, they materialize right there in front of me to help with whatever bit of paperwork or procedure is confusing me. And believe me, there is a lot of paperwork!

My favourite thing about nursing thus far is definitely the people I encounter. Every day I meet new (and usually pretty interesting) people, who have come into the hospital for help with one thing or another. It could be as ‘minor’ (I use quotation marks because no trip to hospital is truly ‘minor’) as a cough and runny nose, right through to the more intense situations like heart attacks. I love being able to help patients through these tough times. This help can take on many forms, usually through providing medical treatment, but also advice, education, and the odd cup of tea here and there. It’s the opportunity to help these people through tough times which makes coming into work every day feel worthwhile.

That being said, I’d be lying if I told you that a career in nursing is all rainbows and lollipops. It’s not always a pleasant profession. Particularly for new grad nurses, if the early starts and shift work don’t exhaust you, there are still some days when you get home and simply collapse into bed; emotionally exhausted. I’ve had a couple of 12-hour naps since starting work! 

For anyone who has ever been admitted to hospital, it’s one of the most distressing, confusing and draining experiences of your life. Then there is the nurse caring for you, who shares that with you, and then with their three other patients too! Whilst most days you leave the hospital feeling fantastic, there are those ones where you just really need a hot cup of tea afterwards. Fortunately for the graduate cohort I’m part of, the long list of staff I mentioned earlier are always available to help us through whatever the day may bring.

Then there’s the ugly, and since we’re talking about nursing, I bet you can imagine what I mean by that. Let’s just say I’m now on a first name basis with the local dry-cleaning lady. But no matter what I leave work looking like (or covered in), I can always think of at least one thing I’ve achieved that day, one way I’ve helped my patients. There has also been a lot of firsts along the way first venipuncture, first double shift, and first trauma patient. The good feeling that comes with these accomplishments is what makes me come back every single day, looking forward to the next new experience.

Until next time, stay safe!

– Mike

One Comment

  1. The videos you sherad with all of us is a great help to me.. I was looking for it so that before joining the nursing school it’s easy for me to know all the aspects associated with it.. I am glad I visited here..

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