Earned It 1 year ago

June 2017, I took the NCLEX Exam and earned my RN license. As of this week, I have officially been a Registered Nurse for 1 entire year. Time has definitely flown by fast! This post is my 1 year reflection on being a licensed RN and some advice for the aspiring nurses. ENJOY!

First off, I am just grateful to have the career that I have. Like I’m really a Registered Nurse! Who in a million years knew I would make this dream come true? Just thinking and reflecting on the journey, I am thankful that I made it through those tough days of school and nights of studying. I was nothing but determined to make this happen as a full time nursing student and full time patient care tech. Yes, sis worked through the whole program!

What I've learned about being a nurse so far is that we are really appreciated. From patients’ family members to strangers in the grocery store, I am always thanked for the hard work of saving lives. And this is very rewarding. I am pleased to know that I chose a career that not only assist in saving lives, but also viewed as being the MOST TRUSTED career in the world. Nurses are superheroes, but we are also human. There are days when we are having a hard time getting out of bed, having personal issues, feeling sick and exhausted, and just ready for days off. When we get on the unit, see our patients, and realize life could be different, all of the worries go out of the window. Nursing humbles you.....PERIOD. After becoming a nurse and caring for critical patients, I have become appreciative and grateful for all that I have. With the skills and background of information, I am able to educate others, including family, on their health. With myself personally, nursing has changed the way that I look at life. I begin to cherish each day at a time. I have taken care of some patients that are my age or younger that are not able to do for themselves. So seeing this, I reflect on the situation and try to better my health and life accordingly.

My first year as a RN (licensed) has been awarding. I have had patients that ask me my age and state that they are proud that I became a young nurse. Starting this journey at 24 was not a mistake. I definitely wanted to take my time with taking my prerequisites before nursing school. This is simply because I did not want to rush into this career. Nursing is very rewarding, but you have to be very responsible and accountable for your OWN actions.

As only being employed for 10 months, I have learned so much and there is so much more to learn. I have had the privilege to start my nursing career in a critical care unit. I currently work in IMCU/PCU unit, which is basically a stepdown from ICU. Even though it is not ICU, we definitely get critical patients. Not often, but about 5 or so times, I have had to transfer my patient to ICU because of their critical state. I have loved critical care since nursing school, and I don’t think I will choose another specialty unless it is working in critical care with pediatric patients.

My critical care experience has taught me that I have to know everything about my patients, that I have to be on top of my assessments, and I have to act fast when something is happening with my patient. I’ve come across many patients at the beginning of the shift that have had abnormal findings that the previous nurse over looked. Most of the time these findings could be life threatening and without immediate intervention, something could go wrong.

Over the time, I have had days where I wanted to cry. Some situations of patients are very saddening. For example, a patient being in the hospital for over a month with no family visits hurts me the most. With these patients, I try to go into their room to get to know them, talk to them about what is going on in the world, or even bring them happiness by telling them a story. With these situations, it definitely takes a strong individual and kind hearted person to take time out of their shift to do. For anyone who knows me, know that I am very caring and I will do for anyone if it is making them happy. This is why I think nursing is a perfect profession for me!

For Aspiring Nurses:The number one thing to do is to keep going. Your passion and admiration will drive you through the days of wanting to give up. There will be days where you do not know how you will make it through or when you do not have the strength to pick up a book and study any further. Just know, at the end it all, it will be rewarding.

Before considering going into nursing, it is important that you look into ways of how to visit hospitals and units to see what goes on. Most hospitals have shadowing days/ programs where they allow individuals to shadow a nurse or patient care tech (CNA) through a shift. This will allow the individual to view if he or she is for sure interested in the profession or the unit. I would also recommend the aspiring nurse to begin working as a CNA/PCT and begin to learn to the roles and tasks of healthcare professionals. Thank you all for the love and support! XOXO ~ Nurse Bria