Whelp, that really snuck up on me, BUT I just had my last nursing shift as an RN prior to my NP job!!
Today was actually orientation for my NP job!
I can’t let this moment pass without reflecting on this milestone. I have been a nurse since June 2017 (so for about 6 years). In some eyes, that is still at a baby level of nursing; however, those 6 years have unveiled such a passion in me for this career and the field of nursing!
I have learned so much in the last 6 years — not just about nursing, but lessons about life, people, relationships, professionalism, etc etc.
Work is never easy. No career is perfect, but handling execution in the workplace and one’s career will impact one’s relationship with the work and growth as an employee.
I would like to think that my time as a bedside nurse was impactful and viewed by others as successful. However, work cannot rest on the shoulders of the recognition of success.
Instead, work requires recognizing internally the impact of one’s effort, and using that as the driving force to do your best at your job because of that impact. Finding joy in the impact and knowing your best is required for that –> This is what I cling to in the midst of those hard shifts, frustrating moments, and burnt out seasons.
As I make the transition from RN to NP, there will be the learning of new routines and work flow. Closing the door to my RN work routines, I thought I’d share some tips—which I’ve shared before on here in sporadic posts in some capacity (linked HERE are my nursing posts), but here are a few of my top tips all together. I am no expert and not claiming to be. However, it is from a posture of helpfulness to any new nurses/burnt-out nurses.
- Be proactive, not reactive – In nursing school, the largest focus is the life-threatening diagnoses or signs that could turn bad quickly. It is important to recognize those with our patients ahead of time throughout the day and plan accordingly, rather than being surprised by a worst-case scenario unexpectedly happening.
- It’s not about you – As a nurse, our job centers around other people’s needs– the patients, the care team, etc. We are the glue, which can perpetuate stress. However, recognizing this can set one up for success in anticipating a patient’s needs throughout the day. They are going through really hard times even if they do not portray that, so accepting the posture of selflessness—whether it feels deserved or not—can help.
- Trust your knowledge – if something doesn’t seem right about the patient, it is probably not right. We are trained well through nursing school and simulation scenarios. Trust and have confidence talking to patients/other care team members. Nurses see a lot as we are at the bedside for 12 hrs unlike other care team members.
- Make lists – For time management and ensuring completion of all tasks, I cannot recommend lists enough. This habit has become so standard in my day. In list making, I ensure that as I carry out a task, I focus strictly on the one task, execute efficiently without distraction, and then move to the next task.
- Be thorough in charting – “If you didn’t chart it, you didn’t do it”. Take credit for the hard work throughout the shift. Chart!
- Not always a verbal “thank you”, but you matter – Some patients may take a posture of toughness and not needing the nurse as a coping mechanism for the new diagnosis or prognosis. One may not say “thank you”, but we make a BIG impact and should offer ourselves even to those who do not seem to “need” or “want” us.
- Find intrinsic motivation – I would venture to say no nurse can be in the profession without experiencing burnout. This is because of the constant demands, and everything said above required of us. Work is called work for a reason, so finding motivation other than external factors is KEY — money will never be enough, recognition will never feel good enough, etc. For me, I cling to the eternal impact I am making for the Kingdom of God. I feel called to this profession, so I find intrinsic motivation in answering the call of the Lord. Whatever yours may be, find the in-contingency that spurs one’s best work.
- Teamwork makes the dream work – patient care is a team endeavor. It is not an indicator of incompetency to ask for help. Knowing one’s limitations and asking for help is actually revealing wisdom. Stay surrounded by those who are willing to help and proactively ask the team for help.
- Communication is key – this one speaks for itself, but often there are many moving parts and many people in patient care. Ensuring communication among everyone is important for the patient and patient safety as well as best patient outcomes.
- Do your best and be proud of the work you do!
There are so many more tips I missed, so if you are a nurse reading this, add in comments or on socials what tips you have!
As most know from prior changes I’ve documented, change and transition is HARD for me, and this transition from RN to NP will be no exception. However, I cling to the calling and the fact that the Lord works to qualify those He has called. Though I could cling to RN — something I have done for the last 6 years and something familiar and “easier” than making change, it is time for the new and time to execute all that I have worked for. I went to school for this moment — “…for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). I am called to action, and “I press onward toward the goal” (Philippians 3:14).
Thank you Jesus, and here’s to being an NP!
I wore these cheetah “high heels” (as they have been called — IYKYK) danskos on my first day at Williamson (on the left), and the right is my last day with same danskos! They certainly got their wear and tear! I have since bought new ones, but I had to wear the cheetah ones on the last day, because I am cheesy like that! Ha.
What a journey, and my next chapter is just beginning. Love the story God is writing in you.