I love to express myself via words. It’s therapeutic for me. As nurses, we do not always take the time to nurture ourselves through the process. For me, writing does that. It allows me a chance to express my highs and my lows, a way to encourage myself, a gentle reminder to keep pressing forward.
1. When you honor your intuition, it will continue to honor you!
Intuition is an important part of our nursing practice. The untold skill we need to hone in on. When you begin to respect the little voice that tells you to recheck that blood pressure, it will continue to reveal things to you that may otherwise remain unnoticed. I learned very early on to trust my gut as much as I trust my vital signs.
2. Be grateful for the journey. For every time you got back up after the fall. For every difficult moment you had to go through to make way for the easier ones.
As a new nurse, you tend to focus on the destination rather than the journey. You just want to be an expert already. You want to know it all and be comfortable. The truth is, the lessons are in the journey. I had to remind myself how important it was to celebrate every time I found the strength to get up after every perceived failure along the way.
3. Give yourself permission to start over. Every day, every shift, every hour that it takes to get it right.
As a new nurse, this was my daily reminder. Every shift is a chance to get it right. When you allow yourself the opportunity of new beginnings each shift, you are more willing to release the disappointments of yesterday. And trust me, nursing is filled with many of those disappointing days.
4. Mastery is not passive. It requires an active effort. It requires you to be intentional.
Learning is a continued effort. As a new nurse in the critical care setting, I found out very quickly that in order to keep up with the steep learning curve and my peers, I needed to be doing some work, outside of work. I remember taking manuals on cardiac defects with me on vacation so I could understand what I was looking at everyday. It was important to be prepared because after orientation was over, everything I learned outside of what the hospital offered was self-motivated. I would request to have the assignment next to the most difficult patient on the unit so I could spend time in that room touching and feeling and watching the flow of that care. Growth requires you to be actively involved.
5. Some days you'll learn by being gently corrected. Other days you'll learn by near drowning. It's all still learning. Don't resent hard lessons.
It seems we all want to learn but we want someone to whisper the lessons. The truth is, the lessons aren’t biased. They don’t prefer one delivery to the other. They just deliver and you have to be ready to receive. Nursing thickens your skin in a special kind of way. Somehow it makes you tough enough to deal with the hard stuff but equally as soft to care for your patients.