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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oriented to person place and time... and change

Having only been a nurse for a short time I am still very honored when the administration lets me be one of the several orientation mentors for a new nurse. I feel like I have a lot to pass on since it wasn't so long ago that I began making the transition from student to professional. I love to teach, and teaching also helps me to learn, and to think about all those decisions I make in one shift that I usually don't think twice about.

Plus, towards the end of orientation the novice nurse is basically doing all the work while I just follow her around and field unexpected situations. It's a nice break in the routine.

It has been a great pleasure to orient our newest nurse additionally because she is just a very cool person to spend time with. I apologized to her the other day for how harried I have been these past two weeks, which had nothing to do with her and everything to do with my life outside of work.

Things are settling down now.

I won't embarrass her by getting into too many more details but she's doing great. She's constantly developing her intuition and natural bedside manner. Her very first day she jumped right into long and involved conversations with the patients about their health, fearless and eager to help them any way she can. I was there as she did her first CIWA, going right down the list of questions as I watched and smiled. She has her share of struggles, but she's shouldering them all with grace.

I had dinner recently with two other nurses who started when I started and we reminisced about our own orientation. It's like another lifetime ago thinking back to the very first CIWA assessment I did, my hand clutching a printed list of guideline questions. I thought it would take ages before I'd be able to just rattle them off like my co workers did. And I was convinced that it would take just as long to plant a perfect PPD, or take an apical pulse in a crowded hallway, or get all of my notes finished by 3pm. Those frustrations were so real to me then.

Being a student is so different from being an actual nurse. It's like a whole other life. My journey from student to professional had an awkward stage I was afraid would never end. And yet here I am, at the other side and helping someone else go through it.

It's my hope that I am always this in touch with where I came with (and where I am at any given moment in time) so that I can remain an eager and useful resource to the men and women who chose to join the profession. It's the best way to pay homage to those who helped me get to where I am now.

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