This morning I was taken off my normal team of patients and scheduled to do orientation with a new grad nurse.
"I had plans," I protested weakly, "I told my patients I'd be here in the morning."
But the beauty of a 24 hour job like nursing is that someone else, just as qualified and caring is always there to make sure things go smoothly. So off the unit, to the back room I went with my new coworker and the Computer On Wheels.
We were only a few minutes into a discussion about a pharmacology quiz question* when I realized that this was one of the best things to happen to me all week.
Teaching forces me to examine my own habits and compare the things I do to best practice standards.
And it challenges me to find new ways to explain old knowledge.
I love the chance to say all the things that have stuck with me, passed down from my mentors over the past few years. Plus any and all things that I wish someone had told me sooner.
Still, orientation isn't the whole process. It's obvious to say, but most of the journey from student to professional nurse comes from experience. You have to put your hours in. You have to own your victories, as well as your failures, and make notes and revise your approach accordingly.
I'm no veteran. I am still learning new things every day, and will hopefully never stop.
But when I get the opportunity to spend so much time with a new grad I can't believe how quickly the last three years just flew by. It feels like yesterday I was running to make it to my NCLEX on time, thinking in the back of my head :
it's kind of okay if I miss it anyway because I'll probably fail it and I should have taken a prep course and I can't imagine I'll even get half the questions right and what am I doing trying to be a nurse when I already have such a successful job as a drama teacher and I wonder if I can make that work full time?
Now I'm signing off on someone else's skills list.
And in no time at all, she will be too.
* Identifying Abbreviations. This section of the Pharm Quiz nearly always sparks a discussion about the obvious disadvantages to using certain abbreviations because they are so ambiguous/easily mistaken for other things.