Friday, September 27, 2013

Baby RN Feeling Overcome

So now that I’ve earned my license and I’ve floated on cloud 9 for a while…REALITY hits quite fast and hard.

I came home last night feeling defeated, deflated, and depressed.  I unloaded my stress and fears unto my hubby before bed and cried myself to sleep.  I hope my hubby wasn’t shocked or upset by the many things that spurted out of my mouth like, “I don’t want to be a nurse”, or “I thought getting the license was only the hard part”, or “I just don’t want to work this hard”.

Part of this stems from the sacrifice of my family time through school, all of summer studying, and now getting used to my RN job in OB.  I just want time with my family.  I want to enjoy them.  I want to put work and “learning new things” on the backburner or auto pilot so I can focus on what really matters to me. 

I’ve been working in OB for almost 2 years.  Right after graduation I transitioned to graduate nurse until I passed my boards.  I’ve had about 2.5 months of orientation on postpartum and labor and delivery.  Unfortunately my orientation was scheduled to accommodate my need to study to pass my boards which meant a lot of overnights.  Many times I only saw vaginal progression of labor, but few deliveries and zero c-sections.  In fact a little over a week ago, I set sail off of orientation, on my own without even seeing or knowing what to do in a c-section.  One of my two preceptors was appalled that I hadn’t seen one yet, because as she put it, “potentially any delivery could become a c-section and you have to be prepared”.  I think she must have thought my other preceptor showed me one and vice versa.  Either way Wednesday of this week my boss switched my schedule around to get me some time through an entire c-section from prep, to section, to recovery. 

Bless the nurse I was following that day, she made me a little to-do list, which helped but there are always things that get forgotten, and the day wasn’t running smoothly.  She had forgotten a med to give and lab forgot to draw a platelet count that the doctor ordered to have done before the c/s, so the surgery was delayed over an hour.  Ultimately things went well after that, and I did most of the recovery.

Fast forward to yesterday (just a day later) and I was helping a co-worker through a twin delivery.  The doctor for good measure had the mom delivery in the OR “just in case”, because she was having them vaginally.  After she pushed the first twin out, the second twin started to get in trouble.  The whole situation went from stable to emergency stat c/s asap!  I didn’t know what to do and I just froze.  The secondary MD looked me right in the eyes and yelled “SCRUB HER BELLY NOW”!!!  So I did.  If I hadn’t been in the c/s the day before I wouldn’t even know what to grab or what to do.  The Lord was with me through that but I was still shaken up. 

Afterwards the docs and nurses all sat around the nurses stations digesting what had happened but I just listened.  I went on break shortly thereafter and called my hubby and cried about it.  I went back up to my unit, and nearly broke down to another co-worker who said “geez you’ve been through a bunch of tough situations right after being off orientation”, “how are you doing”?  I told her if I stopped to talk about it I would cry and I had to round on my next set of patients so I didn’t have time.

After I got done with rounding, the charge nurse told me that my manager wanted to talk to me for 5 minutes and to go to her office.  When I got there she wanted to know how I was doing, if I thought I felt comfortable on my own, and did I need more orientation time.  I admitted that I don’t feel comfortable in L&D with either a vaginal delivery or c/s.  I’m fine and feel confident after baby comes out and recovery, but leading up to that is hard for me.  I’m okay for the most part as far as checking the dilation of the cervix except if she’s a mul-tip because the cervix stretches.  I can’t figure out effacement, nor do I understand station well.  And because there’s soo many small details and things to accomplish before delivery, and not wanting to hurt the cervix I don’t know when to tell mom to start pushing.  I’m fine during the actual pushing and moving out of the way for the doctor when the mom starts crowning.

After relaying all this to my manager and then some, I also followed up with the fact that I ask lots of questions and never hesitate to stop if I don’t know something or don’t feel right about something. 

Basically she just agreed that I’m not ready to be on my own yet.  She suggested I take 2 more weeks of orientation, sit down with her assistant manager and go over critical thinking exercises, ask a different co-worker for a list of “to-do lists” she created when she was brand new and see how it goes from there.  They’re going to follow up with me weekly to see how I’m doing.

…But really, all I want to do is run and hide.  I feel embarrassed that I haven’t gotten to a place where I feel comfortable yet.  I really just want to quit, maybe find a desk job.  At least until my kids are on their own and not home as much… Then I could work bedside and be gone for a 12 hour scheduled shift that turns into 14/15 hours. 

I say all this because I went to and found a good post called “New nurse feeling overwhelmed” posted in 2006.  One of the responses was from anne74, and she said after I hit the sixth month mark, I'm having moments of feeling -sort of- like I know what I'm doing. I still ask questions constantly, but there's no way of knowing everything without experiencing it first. And the only way to experience it is to show up every day and learn. That doesn't always feel good and it's frustrating, but you'll get there.

You will start to see changes, you'll be able to answer questions more often and you'll start to catch things all by yourself. You'll even feel comfortable suggesting things to doctors, etc. The only way to gain this wisdom is through experience, and you'll get there in time. Seriously - it gets better. But it doesn't happen in a nice, linear fashion. It goes in spurts - good days, bad days, etc.

No one really tells you how hard - and awful - your first year of nursing is. I think the people who have it the hardest are the ones who are challenged the most, and in the long run become the best nurses.

A piece of good advice I got from my Mom (a retired RN) is after every shift, think of 3 new things you now know how to do. Before, I was only focusing on mistakes I made, and totally ignoring my accomplishments. Take time to see how far you've gone already, and it only goes up from there.

After reading that, I was inspired to write a blog post.  I just have to look at where I’m at and say for instance, I learned on Wednesday how to scrub the abdomen during a c/s.  That came in handy because I put my skills to the test the following day.

I am learning, I am growing, but I just wish I didn’t have to sacrifice anymore family time along the way.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Zazzy RN

Well after many weeks of soul-searching humility, coupled with lots of blood sweat and tears of studying every free moment. 

I’m happy to announce I passed my NCLEX!!!!!  Yahooooooo, I’m finally a registered nurse.

What a difference 10 weeks of hard-core studying will do to help a person pass that all-important test. 

It couldn’t have happened any sooner either.  My boss thankfully allowed me to continue my nursing orientation since graduating.  So, all the while working full-time as a graduate nurse on my unit gaining experience, I was also studying for my retest.  I was soo very thrilled to announce to everyone that I had passed and was official; I got high-fives, and dessert!

The afternoon when I left the testing center, for the second time, I walked out to my car much more confident than the first time.  I had taken my first break after question 62, and promised myself to chill out, relax because I was ready to sit for the entire thing again if I had to.  However, after answering the 75th question the screen shut off and I was done.  I drove to the nearest wi-fi location (McDs) and checked the Pearson Vue trick (watch this video that explains what I mean) and saw the “good pop-up” screen and squealed with glee!  Then proceeded to purchase a meal, hehe.
Weird huh?  I went from taking it the first time with the maximum amount of questions to taking it the second time with the minimum amount of questions, either way makes no difference to me.  I'm a nurse :-)

Oh my I have to admit I never thought in a million years that I would have failed the test the first time.  I really thought only DUMMIES failed their first time. But once again God showed me that I need another slice of humble pie and that I wasn’t truly ready.

Hindsight is always 20/20 and after I swallowed the huge pill of denial and acceptance I realized He was right.  I wasn’t ready, and after the extra hard work I put in, I’m glad I know now what I didn’t know then.

I owe a big thank you to my husband for (the list could go on and on, but I’ll sum it up):

1) helping me to step out of the denial and own the failure quickly

2) reaching out to one of my nursing instructors (who is one of the smartest women I know), and somehow talking her into agreeing to tutor me

3) continuing to wear the single-parent hat with our two kids over the entire summer when his tank was on empty

4) encouraging me when there was no encouragement available; this man is my rock, my partner, and my heart.

I didn’t tell my hubby my retesting day(because of how ill he was on the original date), instead I said he would know I passed the test because he would see that I got my hair cut and colored.  His reaction was priceless.  There’s no fooling the fooler, interestingly enough he already knew my retesting day and with the help of my son, surprised me with a spraying of silly string and noise makers and a balloon that said “congrats”.




Amen for God’s faithfulness, especially about 2 weeks before my retesting date, when I had a break-down moment of insanity and instability.  I reached out and up, and asked God to help me…and save me.  He redirected my path and reminded me to be faithful and obedient.  That he didn’t bring me this far not to see me through.  After the help of repetitious prayer, and lots of broadcasts from  James MacDonald on Perseverance, and Faithfulness, I was restored.  My doubt vanished and was replaced with serenity. 
Here are a couple verses that helped me through it all:

John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.

(my favorite) Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.  “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Matthew 11: 28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fires, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths.

Matthew 14:31 “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

James 1:6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Lastly I want to share a quote that helped me and spoke directly to me:

The longer you have to wait for something, the more you will appreciate it when it finally arrives. The harder you have to fight for something, the more priceless it will become once you achieve it. And the more pain you have to endure on your journey, the sweeter the arrival at your destination. All good things are worth waiting for and worth fighting for.
- Susan Gale