Today marked the beginning of week five out of eight weeks of my new graduate orientation as a RN at the hospital. It’s been a whirlwind of experiences, emotions, mistakes, triumphs, etc. I was actually started on a surgical care center instead of a medicine unit. They tend to start new grads on medicine, but since I’ll be a float nurse eventually, I guess they figured they could start me on surgical too since I would be going there sooner or later. This didn’t upset me one bit since during my last semester of school I was on an orthopedic unit twice a week and most of those patients were post-surgical. Holy total knees and total hips! But not anymore actually.
Now I take care of all those people who have hysterectomies, bowel resections, hernia repairs, prostate resections, cystectomy’s (bladder removal), cholecystectomy’s (gall bladder removal), appendectomy’s, and then the occasional medicine patient (kidney infection, UTIs, DVTs (deep vein thrombosis))… etc. Anyway, I enjoy using all those bigs words because I’m finally getting accustomed to them and it’s fun! But I have learned SO much over the past month that my mind feels like it’s always two weeks behind where my body is. Strange feeling that apparently doesn’t really ever go away as a nurse. We’ll see about that. I also got to observe/help-out in the OR and the ER for a day each last week. The OR was boring… lots of standing around (and counting gauze sponges and utensils as they get thrown on the floor), and the ER was not as exciting as I thought it would be (lots of people coming in pretending to be in pain so they could get their narcotics… sorry, not here!).
The frustrating part about orientation has been how I’ve had four different preceptors so far. And tomorrow I get another! The preceptor is kinda like my guardian nurse who is there to help and answer questions. Sounds great, and it is very very necessary and helpful (I ask a question about every 6 minutes probably), but it’s difficult when each nurse has a very different style and way of nursing. This can be awesome when you can pick up little tips on various things, but it is so draining to try and figure out how to work with four different experienced nurses. Like today I was with a nurse I’d never been with before. She seriously watched me do about 75% of all I did. Even if it was just hanging a new IV bag of fluid. Something I feel very comfortable doing suddenly became very difficult because I knew I was being watched over my shoulder. I tried telling her that it was more difficult to do simple things with her watching me, but she looked at me with that “So if I’m not watching you, can you actually do this safely?” kinda look. Ugh. Oh well, it’s a stage of my career that I just have to get through. In 2-3 wks I believe they’ll be setting me free to work on my own on this unit, and then I think after 8 wks of that I’ll head off to a medicine unit. Then after a couple months there, another unit (maybe oncology or ortho or neuro).
And I am SO excited to get to start my 0.8 FTE schedule! They have me working 40hrs/wk, Monday through Friday on day shift right now and it’s been a little overwhelming, especially just starting out. I think in 2 wks I will only work 32 hrs/wk, every other weekend. I also start working night shifts 40% of the time. The other 60% will be days. Should be interesting… but I am excited!
Random… My conclusions from today: 1) 50% of a nurse’s job is simply keeping all the tubes, lines, catheters, and drains all situated and connected. 2) I love that I get to wear comfy scrubs and tennis shoes every day!