December 16th, 2005 = 1 yr anniversary of graduation from nursing school...aka...the pinning ceremony. It also marks the end of my first year as a nurse because today is also the anniversay of the day that I accepted the job offer to become a PCU nurse from the hospital I currently work for. In fact, I accepted the offer during the pinning ceremony rehearsal!
It has gone by quickly - that's for sure. I know I still have tons to learn & much more experience to gain...but looking back, I have come a long way. I feel much more confident in my nursing skills & critical thinking abilities. As most things in life, the best way to learn is hands-on rather than from a book. It also has been very helpful working in a hospital environment as supportive as the one I am at. There were only 3 of us from my graduating class that took jobs at this hospital - because many did not think much of the place throughout (we had the majority of our clinicals there) school - including us. I've got a different perspective now...for one, we are treated differently (much better) as co-workers as opposed to student nurses. Even with all of the travel nurses & agency nurses, it still remains to be a tight-knit group that is always there to lend a hand, especially in crisis situations...not to mention the daily chit-chat to relieve stress.
If I had not taken a job at that other hospital (earlier this year), I probably would have not realized the difference. It showed me that they can provide you with all of the resources possible, but if you don't have a staff that is willing to back you up & help you out - you are not going to be happy. That's one of the things that scares me when I think about becoming a travel nurse or agency nurse - will I end up in an unsupportive work environment? Or are there hospitals that are even better than where I'm currently at? I guess the only way to really know is through experience. Even the word of others isn't often believed until you deal with it first hand. We (Gina & I) had been told by others that we would hate working at that other hospital. We thought they were insane...but in the end, they were right.
I haven't been in touch with too many of my other classmates. I am curious to hear their thoughts & experiences thus far. I also like hearing from other nursing students - those who are getting ready to start the program or are in the midst of it. My best advice to them...be confident in yourself & don't let anyone take that away from you. If the confidence isn't there, fake it until it is. That doesn't mean pretend like you know what you're doing & don't ask questions...by all means, seek out the information...but always be confident in who you are. Being nervous is normal...don't let it overwhelm you.
It has been an amazing year & I am so glad I have chosen this profession. I think I may have finally found my niche in life...career-wise anyhow. :)