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Reality Unscripted
Christmas Letter from a New Nurse

Dearest Friends and Family,

I thought I'd take this opportunity to catch you up on what my life looked like in 2007.

January through May was spent finishing up Nursing School. Clinicals, papers, tests, studying and looking forward to the day I would finally start my new career and the freedom that comes with a paycheck. I couldn't wait for the next step.

May through July I was bogged down studying for the NCLEX . I was a focused fool, not coming up for air until it was over. My hard work paid off--and those precious letters were added behind my name.

August through October was filled with panic over finding a new job. Rumor had it there would be plenty to choose from. But reality was, I had to pound the pavement. After an exhausting search, I finally found my first nursing job.

November and December have been all about orientation to a job I don't yet really love and usually feel inadequate to do. I'm happy to finally be doing what I've always wanted to, but am a little disappointed that I don't love it the way I thought I would. The patient care is satisfying, but feel overwhelmed by the paper work and can't quite seem to manage my time. Then there are the docs...don't even get me started.

Now I have my independence to look forward to. I will end my orientation just in time to work all the holiday shifts. I wonder if they serve eggnog in the Hospital cafeteria?

That's my year in a nutshell. Hope you all have a wonderful, healthy holiday season. And I look forward to seeing you--if I ever get a day off in 2008.

Warmest Wishes,

Your Favorite New RN

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10 Responses to “Christmas Letter from a New Nurse”

  1. runningrn Says:

    wow. you just summed exactly how i feel.

  2. sonia Says:

    Can you change it for all of us fall graduates?

  3. Angela0521 Says:

    Yup…that’s about right. I’ve had my job since the end of July and I am still waiting to “love it.” Hopefully that too will come with experience.

  4. natasha Says:

    Please now that your services are badly needed. I have spent many days as a new nurse wondering if this was my lifes calling. Please take every day as a new one and know that you are doing a great service to everyone. Pray to God for another day of grace

  5. Nardine Says:

    Believe me, it does get better. 8 years later I still have my moments, some bigger than other’s!!

  6. sona Says:

    There will be moments that you hate your job, but there will be those moments when you really connect with a patient or family member and those times will blow you away. They will leave you thanking the Lord that you chose nursing. Hang in there, you will get more comfortable and establish a routine and soon be leading other new nurses through the ropes.

  7. Kathy Quan Says:

    Thirty years later, I can tell you it does get better! Give yourself at least a YEAR to feel comfortable in those nursing shoes!!!!

    There will be bad days, and days you’ll want to forget you ever became a nurse, but then there will be that one special patient who reminds you why you made this choice, and things will be good for awhile again. Nothing beats that warm fuzzy feeling.

    You have to remind yourself every once in awhile why you became a nurse. I think that’s true of any job. But not just any job can give you the feeling that you made a difference in someone’s life today!

  8. Suzanne Says:

    from one new nurse to another… haha… that letter was right on the money!!!!

  9. ptknurse Says:

    Gee, I should have just sent THAT in my Christmas cards!

  10. n00bienurse Says:

    The paperwork is a killer… You know the joke about how every piece of paperwork in nursing is done in triplicate – it’s true on my floor. I became a nurse to work with my patients and I tend to spend most of my day at the computer putting in my assessments / checking orders / etc as well as documenting the the physical paper chart and then the patient kardex to boot!

    I’ve come home and ranted to my mother (who’s an RN of 30+ years and who’s orientation was a total of 1 day to an ICU step down back after her graduation) over the phone and some days she tells me that way back when I’d never have survived, other days she tells me to give it at least a year or two to get things somewhat down.

    I started back in October and I’m just starting to learn any time management. I use this system (in my down time) to remind myself what needs to be done when.

    First I make a list of EVERYTHING I need/want to do in a shift and label them 1-4
    – 1’s – things that must be done NOW (admitting your new patient)
    – 2’s – things that must be done at a specific time (giving scheduled medications, vital signs)
    – 3’s – things that must be done by the end of the shift or not at specified times (writing my nursing shift note, checking orders q2h)
    – 4’s – things that it would be nice to do during this shift, but can be passed off to the next shift.

    There should be maybe one or two 1’s, a couple to a few 2’s, mostly 3’s, and a few 4’s… if you take that step back and really PRIORITIZE every so often, it makes you a little more prepared for your day.

    And just remember to slow down and keep things in perspective. And to pee.

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