Stevie’s new grad enrolled nurse diary continues.
You know what sucks? Being new, again. I have recently moved from one ward to another as part of the graduate program I am on and quite frankly, it sucks.
I don’t like change. But let’s be honest, what nurse likes change? It’s not part of our makeup. What nurse jumps up and down and goes ‘Yes! A new way of doing things! A new form! This is the best day ever!’ Nah. That ain’t ever gonna happen.
I was happy on my last ward. I stepped onto that ward the first time and it felt like home. It was home for six months. I did take a while to ‘get it’ and find my feet, but I found my feet and now the rug has been taken out from under me and I am back to feeling like I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. I feel useless and a pain in the arse to my workmates because I am just not coping with my workload.
I have levelled up. This is endurance nursing. It feels like there is nothing subtle or nuanced about this type of nursing. I am simply clinging on with everything I have until it’s home time (usually a good half hour past home time by the time I leave), then I berate myself in the car for everything I didn’t do right or simply didn’t get the time to do. Self reflection is not a problem for me. I go over everything I do. All. The. Time. I am my harshest critic.
Today was the first time in three weeks I actually got everything I needed to do done by the time I left. It was also the first time I left when my shift actually ended. And that was with two out of four patients not needing a shower or a clean bed.
I hate feeling useless. I hate being so dependent on other people. They are very nice about it but we ‘team nurse’ on this ward and I just feel I make so much more work for them.
I used to be good at this. Everything is new. I hate new. I don’t know the people. I’m not used to ‘team nursing’. On my old ward we team nursed without calling it ‘team nursing’. Here, it feels like an excuse to work short and outside the normal ratio.
I don’t know the specialty. I don’t know how to time manage my day. I don’t know the doctors. I don’t know where anything bloody is. I don’t know anything. I feel like the last six months of hard work counted for nothing.
I know it gets better. I know in my heart of hearts, very deep down, that it will get better, but right now it’s hard. It’s just hard. And we don’t talk about how hard it can be. We put on a smile and say ‘I’m fine’. When really the truth is you’re not fine.
Grad year is probably supposed to be hard, yet some people float through it seemingly without a care in the world. The word ‘seemingly’ is important because I think that being honest is critical, yet I don’t think we are honest enough with each other. That’s why I write this. If one person reads what I write and thinks to themselves ‘Yes, that’s it! That’s how I feel!’ then it’s worth me going through this.
I am told I’m going to be an exceptional nurse. I don’t see this myself. I can’t let myself believe it. My patients call me Sunshine and Happy and Smiler and Angel. And I feel like none of those things. It’s all just a really good act.
I ask myself over and over in my head if I am a good nurse. If I should be allowed near a patient at all. If what I do is ever going to be enough. You start grad year and you want to change the world and make a difference and do good. Now I just want to do good for one person at a time. If I can be part of someone else’s story and make things just that little bit better for them, that’s enough. It has to be enough.
Previously in Stevie’s EN diary: