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‘Hi, I’m Megan and I’m going to be your nurse today’

How bizarre that felt, to introduce myself as a ‘nurse’ – no longer the ‘student nurse working with so-and-so’; an actual nurse. Donning my scrubs and ID badge, and saying those words to my first patient, I felt an utter fraud! The transition from a student to a registered nurse is peculiar; spending three years being supervised in absolutely everything that you do (that’s right, no touching the IV pump without your buddy nurse watching!), to suddenly being on your own is a shock to the system. Except, we’re never really on our own.    

I’ve commenced my grad year in the Emergency Department (ED) at Frankston and all I can say is – the entire ED team is extraordinarily supportive. There’s never a shortage of helping hands, answers to the endless questions posed by us grad nurses, or the offer of a chat or debrief after a challenging situation.  Only a few weeks ago I was caring for a very sick patient and felt quite out of my depth. Before I could even open my mouth to ask for some additional support, I had two senior nurses in lending a hand; one took over caring for my other patient, and the other provided immeasurable support assessing the patient, identifying red flags and escalating the need for the patient to be moved to Resus to receive one on one care.  I was so grateful for their help but for both of them, helping out was just second nature.  

I’ve learnt so much in the few short weeks since commencing my graduate year, it would be impossible to detail it all in one post. I’ve become acutely aware of how much I don’t yet know, and how much I have to learn.  I’ve had moments where I’ve felt extremely proud of the decisions I’ve made in caring for a patient, and moments where I’ve wanted to crawl under a rock after making a mistake.  Every mistake has been a lesson and there’s always a more senior nurse or educator to have a chat with after, to reflect on the situation and identify what could be done better in future.    

I didn’t grow up dreaming of being a nurse, but after finishing high school and dipping my toe in a few different degrees (do I want to be a vet, a lawyer, an exercise psychologist??), my brother-in-law suggested nursing. I figured I had nothing to lose, submitted my application on the last day and was (thankfully) accepted into Monash University.  After my first week at university, I knew I’d absolutely made the right choice and now, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.     

I’m still unsure how to answer the question ‘how long have you been doing this for?’ If I tell my patient the truth, will they doubt my skills and lose confidence in my ability to care for them? I usually ask in return ‘how long do you think?’ to which I’ve had a mix of answers between 3-5 years.  Content that they’ve enough confidence in me to think I’ve been doing this for a few years, I tell them the truth.

I’m not sure whether to be offended by the ’14 years’ I’ve once received – I’m only 24!!!!

Until next time,

Megan